We just got back from a family visit to Toledo, Ohio where my husband grew up. In a whirlwind three days we visited his sister and brother; we saw old friends and new babies. We stayed with cousin Mike who lives alone in a beautiful townhouse with a private guest suite. Mike keeps an immaculate home; he makes Felix of the Odd Couple look like a slob. Mike says he likes “everything perfect.” And it is.
Well, until our visit. My husband and Mike were out doing errands when I decided that a blouse I packed needed ironing (must have been Mike’s influence, for I hardly ever iron in my own home). In the laundry room is a timer that turns on a light over the ironing board and ultimately turns off the iron. The plastic knob to the timer broke when I tried to turn it off – apparently the wrong way. The ticking continued, evidence of my vandalism.
I stood for a few seconds, thinking about putting the broken knob back on and waiting through the cycle for everything to turn off. Who was to know?
But when the guys came home, I fessed up. It’s what I always expected from the children, after all. Tell the truth. I apologized.
My husband went to Lowe’s to get a new knob. I offered to pay. “Of course not,” Mike said. The knob was only a couple of bucks.
But turns out we needed more than a new knob. The whole timing box needed to be replaced if it was to be “perfect.” There was another trip to Lowe’s. We realized that an electrician needed to be called. I apologized again and offered to pay. “Of course not,” Mike said again – despite the fact that now we were going into triple digits.
So now my husband and I are back home and I’m thinking of what kind of gift is appropriate both to thank the host and say I’m sorry—in other words the “perfect” gift.