Doris: We noticed you don’t have a good reading lamp. That’s what we want to give you as a wedding present.
They are correct. We do not have a good reading lamp.
Primo: That would be great, mom.
Sly: It’s hard to read in there.
Me: I know, Sly. I’m sorry. We are still unpacking, so what you see here is not everything, but we do not have a good reading lamp. That would be a lovely gift.
I open the fridge.
Doris: Let’s go find one now. There is a lamp store not far from here. I noticed it on Sunday when we were out.
I stand in front of the open refrigerator door, which, if you know me at all, you know is something I Do Not Do. The fridge door is closed unless a person is actively retrieving or putting away food. I am standing in front of an open refrigerator door and doing nothing at all productive. The cold is coming out and the food is going to spoil and all I am doing is trying to think of a way to get out of shopping with Doris.
Me: I was about to start supper.
Doris: That can wait. We’re not hungry.
I look at the clock. Aha. It is 3:30. Thirty minutes to Snack and Bourbon. Urgency explained.
Primo stands behind his parents and mouths “Sorry!” to me.
Primo: I actually have to check my work email. I am in the middle of a big problem.
Thanks, dude. When Doris said they wanted to buy us a nice lamp, I heard, “We will find something nice and we will send it to you.”
I did not hear, “We will require you to drive us to the store and to be an active participant in the process.”
Me: Let me put on my shoes and get my purse.
I have never noticed the lamp store near our house. If I were to seek a lamp, I would go first to Goodwill or an antique store to salvage a treasure. It would not occur to me to go to a store dedicated to lighting fixtures, mostly because I hate paying retail. My People Are Thrifters.
But Sly and Doris want to go to the lighting fixtures store so go we do.
Have you guys ever bought a lamp at a dedicated lighting store?
I have not. Let me tell you a story about lamps.
I have a friend who is a brilliant interior decorator. Lindley has amazing taste and a fabulous eye and she creates the lovely spaces. I have, on occasion, helped her with invoicing. I have seen the invoices for nice lamps. I have seen the nice lamps in her shop.
A good lamp is not inexpensive.
A good lamp – well made, not Made in China crap, that will last the rest of your life – is not cheap.
A lamp from Target (and I do love Target but let’s be real here) is cheap. A lamp from Target will not last.
We walk into the lighting store. The lamps are beautiful. The lamps cost $400.
That’s what a good lamp costs.
I find two I really like. I stroke the solid iron base of the one. Admire the seamless construction. Lightly touch the thick fabric and the tiny stitches on the shades.
Me: These are gorgeous! This was a great idea. Thank you! I hadn’t thought of having something this nice in our house.
Sly, bending down to look at the price tag: Four hundred dollars?!
Doris: It is nice.
Point Doris. It is nice and you challenged Sly.
Sly: Maybe we should look around some more.
What? I do the math in my head. Sly and Doris did not pay for the plane tickets to come here. They did not rent a car. They did not pay for the gas from San Antonio. They have not bought a meal. Except for their booze, which is an expense they incur whether they are here or not, they have not paid a cent to be here.
OK. It’s not like they want to be here. They have to win that point.
But buying a nice lamp is their idea, not mine. How much do they think a nice lamp costs? Did they think it was going to be under forty dollars?
This was their idea.
Not that I disagree with them. I, too, think $400 is too much to spend OF MY MONEY on a lamp.
But Sly and Doris’ money? Sly and Doris, who have a cleaning lady and a gardener and eat out frequently and spend (runs quickly to the internet to price bourbon)(can’t find it and don’t want to waste more time) a lot of money on bourbon, brandy, and wine?
It wouldn’t bother me to spend their money.
But – I am trying to get along.
Me: I guess we can look online for something less expensive.
 That might actually be a decent name for a restaurant. I should trademark it.
 My mom found my deep-fat fryer and a cookie press with dies at a garage sale. She also bought a karaoke machine for Primo at a garage sale. Some hits, some misses.
 Although I have some lamps from Target that I have had for 15 years and they are doing fine. I mean, they function as a source of light.