My husband’s birthday is next week, and for the first time in years I have no clue what to buy for him.
In the past, for just about every special occasion I can remember, I have bought him model-train stuff because model trains were his passion. As a result, he ended up with enough miniature buildings, people, animals, trees and vehicles to fill a real town.
Unfortunately, Barbie’s Dream House had more space in it to set up a model train layout than the place where we used to live. So everything train-related ended up being exiled to either our shed or storage unit.
When we finally moved into a larger house, however, I made certain my husband had a nice big room just for his trains, complete with a huge table to set them up on. I figured he’d be so excited to finally have a train room, something he’d whined about for years, he’d be setting up his trains and miniature campground, airport, amusement park and factories before we even unpacked.
Well, we’ve been in the new house 14 months now and all he’s done is set up a small circle of track, a bridge, and a train which, when he ran it, smashed into the supports of the aforementioned bridge and derailed. The train is still lying in a heap on the table.
“So what do you want for your birthday?” I asked him the other day.
“Well, there’s this miniature fire department I want for my train layout and also a hot-dog wagon. Oh, and I’ll also need a sidewalk to put the hot-dog wagon on.”
“You haven’t even set up the police station, movie theater or Kentucky Fried Chicken yet,” I said. “Why do you even want more train stuff?”
“Because my town needs a fire department and a hot-dog stand!” he said. “What kind of town doesn’t have those?”
To be honest, I’ve been wondering all along what kind of town possibly could have everything he’s gathered for his. I mean, he has a miniature replica of the White House, complete with tiny figures of the Obamas; a small facsimile of Mount Rushmore, a tiny nudist colony, a gold mine and even a herd of Indian elephants.
Visions of elephants stampeding and trampling nudists or gold miners, or even worse, the First Family, really have made me question his master plan.
Still, I would be thrilled to see him set up anything on his train table. I wouldn’t care if he had the elephants climbing Mount Rushmore or Obama dangling from Lincoln’s nose. Anything would be better than nothing.
I’m not the only one who’s impatient for my husband to start setting up his train layout. Every time my Aunt Doris comes to visit, she eagerly asks him, “Well? Have you done anything in the train room yet?”
When my husband says he hasn’t, she usually frowns and says, “I really want to see that town set up before I die, you know…and I’m in my 80s and not getting any younger, so you’d better hurry up!”
She called the other night and again asked if he’d set up anything. When I said no, she said, “Tell him I’m willing to accept anything – a tree, a shrub…anything! I’m getting desperate to see any progress at all!”
She’s not the only one who’s getting desperate. I have tried everything short of tossing my husband’s favorite food (bacon cheeseburgers) into that train room just to get him to go in there and stay for a while, but nothing has worked. You’d think the room was filled with toxic waste, the way he avoids it.
His excuses for not pursuing his hobby have ranged from “I’m too tired,” to “I’m not in the mood,” to “I don’t really know how to set up the trains so they won’t crash again.”
So I refuse to buy him anything train-oriented for his birthday – not until he actually shows some enthusiasm for the 10,000 train items he already has lying around gathering dust.
And if he doesn’t go into the room and start setting up his train layout soon, I think I just might end up taking matters into my own hands and doing it for him.
I wonder if the tiny little nudists might enjoy joining President Obama for a ride on a miniature roller coaster?