BOBS CHRISTMAS MORNING
If you had read last months blog you would have known that I recently purchased a Fender Partscaster off EBay for 90 quid and was now hoping to receive a nice new set of pick ups as a Christmas present from Mrs Bob.
I don't like to know exactly what I'm getting for Christmas but, when necessary, I do like to influence and encourage someones gift decision, so had been slyly talking to myself, or pretending to be phoning someone and speaking in hushed tones, within her earshot during the few weeks leading up to Christmas so, confidence was high, as our American cousins would say. Certainly, Mrs Bob was giving me 'assured and knowing looks' when placing our gifts below the tree. I could feel myself getting excited.
Although I didn't expect her to understand the concept fully, my main hint had been for a "fully loaded Eric Clapton mid-boost Stratocaster scratchplate", yours for around 160 quid which, added to the cost of the partscaster would total 250 pounds or thereabouts which is a ridiculously cheap way to get yourself a good sounding Fender guitar.
There are of course cheaper options for improving a set of under performing pick ups and the overall sound of your guitar, even changing the pick ups to some nice custom shop Texas specials that will give you a great Twang to your sound. I mentioned this in my suggestive dialogue strategy, as it was an easier option for her to remember, a "box of pickups".
A couple of years back I upgraded my Squier telecaster pick ups to a set of dirty sounding ones from Ironstone, which were indeed a great bargain, and had thought that she may venture down this particular path as it was a cheaper option than the first. Either way it would be an improvement for which I would be eternally grateful and there were packages under the tree that were the right size for either of these options.
There was of course a third option and that was for her to buy me the mid-boost 'wire it up
yourself' kit for about 40 quid, but this is not something for those who can't use a soldering iron and I am one of those, so I hoped she didn't get me that. Although, I had mentioned it too so it was the third option.
Now although our offspring, the Bobettes, left home years ago and got married and things I'm still a kid at heart and like to get up extremely early on Christmas morning to enjoy the ambiance, expectation and excitement of giving and receiving gifts, I don't like to miss a moment of it at all, Mrs Bob on the other hand, likes to lie in her bed come what may. So up I got lit the fire, kicked the cat, took the dogs out for their walk then I made sure the living room was spic and span
and prepared a nice breakfast for me and Mrs Bob, and for this Christmas morning it was Eggs Benedict with crispy bacon on the side, coffee and Bucks Fizz. The smell of bacon cooking prompted her to arise from her pit. "Morning Mr Bob" she uttered, "A Bostin' Happy Christmas to you Bab" she said as a shaft of sunlight illuminated a rivulet of runny egg dripping from her chin.
We did the parent thing and phoned the Bobettes at their houses to make sure they were deep into the Christmas feeling and as we were now getting a little merry, having slurped all the bucks fizz, we adjourned to the living room to commence the highly anticipated gift giving bonanza, this time accompanied by a bottle of ruby port, warm mince pies and enough Quality Street to keep us fat for six years. So, with Christmas music supplied by Sufjan Stevens making us all the merrier we commenced.
THE GRAND OPENING
We started the proceedings with the usual exchange of selection boxes, hankies, pants and socks, building up the anticipation of the better items to come, and better they were, new phone...nice, wow, a tablet!! this is getting good. A glass or two of port plus half a selection box later there were just two packages under the tree, a large one for her and smallish one for me. Must be the set of Texas pick ups judging by the box size.
I had gone to great lengths to buy Mrs Bob something that I knew she really wanted, as a reciprocal gesture for the pick ups that I would, no doubt, be unwrapping imminently. It is true that in the past I have been a little guilty of buying her things that might not be warmly received by a lady, such as a wheelbarrow or a long roll of roofing felt for the garden shed, the gift that keeps on giving. I thought I'd opt for something a little more personal and feminine.
Now I know that she really likes educational gifts that challenge her mind and manual dexterity and which, in the end, give her another skill.
She had also mentioned during the year that she wanted to be more involved with my music, normally something best avoided as she has no idea about music or music terminology at all. I have already made positive steps in that direction though and have trusted her with carrying my speaker cabinets and pushing the van so I don't want her to advance to anything that could be construed as "musical interference" just yet, shades of Spinal Tap enter my head at the mere thought, so it was a real tricky decision for me to get her something that would satisfy both her needs.
It took almost minutes to make a decision but I finally settled on this educational/music combo as her main gift:
A magnified soldering station set. As she has failing eyesight I thought it best to spend the extra bit of money on the magnifier option to prevent her getting too many skin burns. I could picture her with a pile of broken cables and jack plugs, gaily laughing as she enjoyed contributing to my musical life, the smell of burning metal, the intricacy of delicate soldering, surely this was going to be her "year of years" gift wise? She might even enjoy fitting in my new pick ups, a thought that hadn't crossed my mind until the moment of opening.
I felt proud that I'd gone the extra mile thought-wise for such a personal gift.
When she opened the gift her face was a picture. She laughed as I had expected she would, her eye's were popping out of her head and her mouth could be described as someone experiencing a jaw dropping moment of amazement!!
"Is this REALLY for me!?" she shouted excitedly, "Yes my precious" said I, "All of it, the soldering iron itself hasn't arrived yet, but that will give you time to read the book first". She was so overcome with joy she immediately phoned the Bobettes to spread the news. "You'll never believe what your Dad's bought me?".
THE MOMENT ARRIVES
Last gift for me then......"Here you are, you deserve this Mr Bob" she said and passed me the box which was beautifully wrapped and tied with a red bow. I could feel the adrenalin beginning to pump around my body and a bead of sweat formed on my brow, so excited was I. With one swift motion I stripped off the paper and there in front of me was
10 glass test tubes with a paper message in each one! A hush fell over the room, even Sufjan paused his vocals as I let out an audible gasp, the sort of gasp that could be compared to the sound of a low flying jet, I think it was more a stifled scream really. Mentally it all kind of happened in slow motion as I looked over at Mrs Bob who was now beaming with contentment. She said "I heard you whispering on the phone to Nobber " then, "I knew it was what you wanted but I didn't expect you'd be that vocal about it, it was only a couple of quid". I felt my breathing start to quicken and my heart sinking so I quickly read all the uplifting phrases in one go, as a kind of mental amphetamine. They didn't work.
There should have been one that said "If you don't ask, you don't get".
I looked across at her and said "How clever of you Mrs Bob and how thoughtful,
These are just what I needed", "Happy Christmas to one and all"
Best give Bob Styler at Stirchley Music Exchange a call.
Happy New Year to You all. Let's hope for some peace eh?