Birthday Blunder

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-06-2001
Birthday Blunder
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 8:51am

So I wasn't sure where to start this discussion...hope it's okay here!

I'm sure like most, I find it very difficult to buy for my husband. If he wants something, he will usually get it, or if I hint at a gift, it's too much money, etc.

He has been working on finishing our basement for the past 2 years (less since our almost 2 year old was born), so I thought I'd give him the gift of time by organizing a painter to come in and paint a difficult area in the basement and a carpenter to finish a small project (covering the electrical box). I organized this all the day before his birthday, so it would be a surprise and he wouldn't suspect me taking a "sick" day on his actual day.

Well, the issue lies in that our daughter was up off and on all night with night mares, so we are both wasted today (the day the painter and carpenter are here). My husband decided to take the day off! I told him I had organized these items to happen, and he didn't seem overly excited. He hung around home and then just left to run some errands. He seemed down...

Did I overstep somewhere, do you think? So disappointed, because I really thought he'd be pleased.

Sorry - just needed to vent!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 9:58am

Did you tell your husband that you knew how hard he was working on this project, and you appreciated it so much that you wanted to get him some help on it?  He may be feeling like he let you down because he was unable to finish it himself (or he wanted to finish it himself?)  Perhaps when all is said and done, and it's finished, he'll appreciate the fact that now he can just enjoy the basement.  I don't know what your plans were for the basement, but will he have a man cave area down there?  Perhaps you can have him focus on that if you feel like he needs something else to think about to get him out of his funk.  Men can be funny about stuff like this, especially when it's their project.  His working on it might have been enjoyable for him regardless of how long it was taking.  As far as overstepping a boundary, did your husband ever complain about how long it's taking him, did he ever intimate that he wanted to hire someone to help out, or did he seem to enjoy doing the work?  I think you will have to talk to him to know for sure.  Are you making him a special dinner tonight or taking him out?  Maybe that would be a nice thing to do as well for hsi birthday.  :)

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-06-2001
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 10:45am

Thanks for your reply - that's what I'm afraid of, now, is that he DID want to finish it all himself. I knew he couldn't do the painting on his own (stairwell) but the other job i guess he could have. I just know that he's constantly making "to do" lists and he seems stressed about what he has to do still. Perhaps I was thinking selfishly - like if it was me, i would LOVE some help. *sigh*

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 10:57am

I really wouldn't think it was much of a birthday present for me if my spouse hired someone to do work around the house--it's not very personal.  I could see it more if you bought some furniture or decorations for the basement that he could particularly enjoy, like a comfy chair.  I think you should talk to him and say that you thought it would be helpful to him to have these things done, but it didn't seem like he really liked it that much--maybe you could take him out somewhere on the weekend.  I find that as I get older, it's hard to find more "things" that I want but I'd always enjoy doing something.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 11:52am
Although it was a nice thing to do on your part, I can see why it would be somethig he wouldn't get "overly excited" about. I agree with the others that it would be nice to maybe get a babysitter and make him a special meal (his favorite dinner) or maybe take him out to his favorite restaurant for dinner with some romance to follow back at home, or secretly book a nice hotel room for after the dinner out ; ) Men are really pretty simple creatures to figure out. Food and a little nooky will do it every time. lol
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 3:31pm

I can certainly relate to this.  DH & I have each made our share of gift blunders.  There was the time I had Broadway tickets and he had to be at my house by a certain time in order for us to get to the show, but I hadn't told him what his surprise was, so of course he was late and we missed the show.  There was the year he got me umbrellas for my birthday - yes, UMBRELLAS!  And there have been other times, too.

Over the course of 30 years together, none of those things matter, and we have gotten much better about avoiding blunders but they can happen, and it doesn't lessen the sting of the moment.

In your shoes, I would say to him, "You know, I planned this thinking it was a great idea for these reasons, but now that it's here, I'm thinking I didn't do such a great job of it.  Let's go out to dinner this weekend and you can tell me what would *really* make that space cool, and we'll get it."  And then let it go.  It's just a birthday, and hopefully you'll have another 60 years to make up for it. :)