The Yarn Lady and I

Awhile back, I created a little something for someone which I sent off in the mail, a little gift of sorts.  It was a little something that took me, oh, about 20 hours to create.  But whatever.  That is neither here nor there.

Several weeks, maybe even a month has passed, and I have heard nothing, no acknowledgement, nada. It is like I am dead to them.  Although.  How can a dead person spend 30 hours making a lil’ something to drop in the mail?  Can’t.  So naturally, my feelings are devastated shredded whipped bruised an itsy bit hurt given that I spent about 40 hours working on this little creative gifty thing.

So, I’m thinking that is kind of weird. Either they hated it or are offended or both. Or they hate me.  Or all three.  Or!  They don’t appreciate that I spent 50 hours of my life working on this little bit o’ art.

So I tell AD about it and he does this thing that always aggravates me.  He’s logical. And charitable.  And worse? He takes up for the offending party.  “Well they probably never received it,” he said.

It is lonely on my bandwagon. Yes it is. Many seats are available. Form one line please.

Shortly thereafter my cell phone rings but I can’t get to it before it goes to voice mail. Later I check the voice mail and it is someone from a galaxy far far away, in another area code, someone I don’t know.  She has left a long and rambling message for someone who is not me. For five minutes she talks about the new baby and the yarn she has bought and what would I like for her to make for the new baby and on and on.

I considered calling the yarn lady back, but I have a phone phobia.  I do not like to talk on the telephone. I am fearful that I might just blurt out some random thought (a lot like this post) or that I might launch into an unfortunate choice of story and not be able to stop myself. Like this post.

And based on the length of the message, I have to assume she would engage me and there would be talking, a lot of talking, maybe even about yarn which I know nothing about, and I just can’t do it.  I’m just telling you that up front because I know y’all will blast me for not returning the call. But I just can’t. I would email her but that is the one bit of information she didn’t leave.


So when AD came down for lunch, I told him about the yarn lady and the wrong number.

He shook his head and laughed and may have even pointed his finger at me.  “Somewhere,” he said “there is a woman with hurt feelings because someone never acknowledged her.”

So I said the most obvious and logical thing.  “Fine! Fix your own lunch.”

42 thoughts on “The Yarn Lady and I

  1. I loved your post! Well done. I too have been on both ends of this situation. By the way, I owe my mother-in-law a thank you card or phone call for my birthday card and money. Thanks for the reminder! :0)


  2. Okay, I got the thought process the first time, but today I am feeling your pain. I went to parent teacher conferences yesterday and I am pretty sure I have alienated my sons favorite teacher of all time. I am pretty sure she thinks I’m a dork, and so now she probably hates me, and in turn will hate him and his school career will be ruined because his mom is a dork. That line of thinking? Yeah, I get it.


  3. I try to be immediate and respond with thank yous, but there are times.
    After having my second with emergency c sec, hubby on the road, twice getting evacuated in the first month once for flooding and once for a fire, I know some of my thank yous got missed. I dont have a clue which ones, and I did try to go back and figure out but I was in no shape with two babies under a year alone.


  4. I can relate to just about ever angle of this post- from the hurt feelings of something not being acknowleged to the logical (yes and charitable) husband fixit response, to being very very slow about getting my own thank you’s out there and wondering if people hate me for that!! (I tend to think that when someone does something nice I need to send a proper and suitable thankyou which often means it takes me awhile to “thank them properly” … I realize that a quick thankyou would probably be better because it doesn’t leave people wondering if you got it or not, if you are just an ungrateful slob… oh the guilt!) Anyway- I could also relate to the timely phone message as if to punctuate a point.
    Great post, thanks for sharing.

    * * *

    We all fall short of the glory of Emily Post from time to time.

    On the “takes me a while to thank them properly” — Done is better than perfect. You don’t have to be Hemingway. Chances are they will read the note, smile, and then throw it in the trash.


  5. Oh gosh…reminds me why I always feel so horrible about not writing my 88 year old aunt a thank you note for the $5 graduation check she sent. It may not sound like much, but she was a widow who lived on a fixed income of $130 a month.

    Even in 1987, that wasn’t nearly enough money to do anything with, and when I got that $5 check, I didn’t know how to handle it. I was overcome with emotion, and I wanted to return it because it was just too much of her monthly budget to sacrifice for a silly graduation gift. However, my mother refused to let me — said my aunt would be offended and hurt.

    Everytime I sat down to write the thank-you note, my eyes filled with tears and I couldn’t bring myself to finish it — so I kept putting it off. Stupid, I know – because any responsible person would have just worked on through that. She died the next year, having never received a thank you note from me. And I have felt horribly guilty about that for the last 21 years.

    I have never missed writing a thank you note or calling someone since then. And I use this lesson with my kids – asking them if they really want to carry around a lifetime of guilt about something as simple as a thank you note.

    Funny…I thought my little confessional would help assuage my guilt, but it really has done nothing more than make me more than a little bit embarrassed. Sigh.


  6. Sharing my story here: About 3 years ago, I sent a lovely wedding gift to the daughter of a dear friend. I have met this daughter many times and we even correspond through email frequently, because they live several states away. I sent the gift in advance of the wedding, AND I made the effort to actually GO to the wedding–which was so wonderful and unique! Many things went wrong around the wedding, the most unfortunate being that it poured and dropped about 30 degrees the morning of the scheduled outdoor wedding, which was hastily re-arranged. I didn’t expect the bride in all her joy and fluster to acknowledge my gift personally… but when I hadn’t received a thank you note MANY months later, I felt hurt.

    At some point, I decided to casually mention to my friend that I hoped the daughter had received the gift, because I had not received acknowledgement–and you just never know whether the gift arrived or not–but if it hadn’t, I wanted to do a follow-up on the delivery. My friend said “I’m sure she received it–she told me she loved it!”

    The very next day, I got an email from the daughter telling me how horrified she was that I had never received the thank you note she sent! She was honestly sad and embarrassed, and truly thankful and apologetic. And of course, I acknowledged her email with a “thank you for letting me know, and please enjoy your gift!”

    Now, we are both guilt-free, and able to move on in our minds… All this to say: sometimes gifts get lost–but, SOMETIMES thank you notes get lost, too!

    Oh, and I’m currently experiencing the feelings of a special baby gift to a special nephew not being acknowledged for the last 3 months, 4 days, and 18 minutes. Not counting the seconds.


  7. Ah, if only it were so simple that the receiver of said gift was, in fact, one of your blog readers.

    Alas, perhaps only the yarn lady is. (In an amazing twist of fate.)


  8. I am thinking this person never received your gift and would be devastated to know about the lingering gift situation.

    Your art is amazing.

    Unlike my ‘made from China’ bath basket I put together. I still thought she’d like it… oh well.

    Maybe this year I will hire you to make something for her and send you a note about all her gushing.

    And then we’ll both be healed.



  9. Oh my heavenly days… I totally understand what you are saying. Last year I sent what I thought was a lovely gift to someone.

    I never heard back- nada- nothing.

    So, I called this person who may or may not have birthed my husband but we won’t talk about who she is. Ahem.

    Anyhow, she hated the gift. Didn’t like it at all. And told me so.

    Oh my.

    I cried.

    * * *

    Oh my. That makes Emily Post cry. She should have acknowledged it and said, “Thank you dear – you I love, the gift I hate.” No not really, she should have said thank you and left it at that.

    It is always incumbant upon the reciever to accept gifts graciously. Always. What one does with the gift later is their business. However.
    Consider the following example:

    Me: Oh! Figs! Thank you so much dear.
    You: Do you like figs?
    Me: (opening a 10 gallon container of figs and trying not to gag.) Would you care for one? Let’s pass them around! Aren’t they pretty? My neighbor Betsy makes fig bread. Would you mind if I shared them with her?

    Everyone wins – gift accepted graciously and even complimented and neighbor makes fig bread for church potluck.

    Sidenote: I love figs.


  10. AM, this is a great post! It does, however, make me feel guilty (though this could be residual from the guest post wherein I realized that I missed a recent RSVP–ack!)

    Clearly, I’ve been on both sides of this one (and might be at this very moment, in fact!).

    Truly, call the yarn lady. Or, if you really don’t want to, email me her number, and I’ll call her for you. Really I will (as in, “I’m not joking” vs “really, I will remember to call”…I think.) She will so appreciate it, and, I bet, she’ll get a good laugh out of it, too! 🙂

    And thanks for all of your recent posts; I’ve been out of the loop, but they are timely!


  11. I say pray really hard that when you call, you get the answering machine and can let the lady know you were a wrong number. Then do it and if she answers, say “I’ve only got a minute here, but I wanted you to know that you dialed the wrong number when you called to ask about …”

    My favorite call back was when I was billed by the pediatrician’s office for a newborn baby girl’s well baby visit. Her father and my husband have the same first and last name. Along with a difference of 20 years in age. I told the receptionist, “Betsy Renee is a lovely name but I haven’t had a baby in 10 years…and he was a boy!”

    The charges were removed.


  12. I love how after 12 hours spent with my mom at the hospital today while she received chemo, I can read your post and laugh out loud. You have a real gift!


  13. Kinda reminds me of stories we heard after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many people had been separated from family members and pets and had no way to get information. Some very smart people set up repositories where information could be posted about the missing and the found, and many were reunited through that method.

    Now, I’m not saying thank you notes carry anywhere near the weighty importance of lost family members or pets, but it seems to me there should be some global repository for gift information. Receive a gift? Send a thank you note AND note the sender, recipient, gift and receipt in the repository. If the postal service drops said thank you note behind the vending machine in the mailmen’s break room, the sender of the gift could log on to the repository and see that sweet Jane did TRY to acknowledge the gift but was hampered by things unforeseen. Likewise, if the thank you note is never mentioned, the recipient of the gift/sender of the thank you note could log on to the repository to see a notation of “card received.” Wouldn’t that be cool?

    And to the very generous folks who gave us a gorgeous Waterford crystal picture frame as a wedding gift but failed to include a card, we’d LOVE to thank you, but we don’t know who you are!! I’m a Southern girl, and thank you notes are a m.u.s.t. However, it really helps to know who should receive the gratitude!

    AM, I hope you receive acknowledgement of that special creation that consumed a month of your time. You deserve it!


  14. I LOVE me a good phone call. Even with people I know nothing about. It’s a sickness really. Want me to call yarn lady for you? 🙂
    Then Antique daddy can stop being all practical and logical and stuff.


  15. Oh my, I understand both sides of your blog today. I’ve waited for a thank you that has never come ~ just wanted to know they got it, and I’ve gotten wrong numbers that I have not called back. I HATE using the phone too. I’ve even gotten to where I don’t want to call my kids or friends. I’ll email anyone though.


  16. the joy of text messaging

    * * *
    Something about the caller told me she wasn’t a text messager. Having said that, I’m not either given that it costs me like 15 cents or something everytime I send one.


  17. I think everyone should include their email address on cards & gifts they give, and also in voice mail messages they leave.

    It would help all those who are phone phobic and with “real” mail inadequacies. In fact, when my husband takes up with the “other” person, I email him about how wronged I felt.

    Err, I don’t really, but I just wanted to type that!


  18. I personally am big on thank you notes, particularly for gifts that come in the mail, but an email or phone call will do too. The thing is to acknowledge that you received the gift so the sender knows and isn’t at home imagining that you hate their guts or is left to wonder if it got lost in the mail or delivered to the wrong address. Just this week Fed Ex delivered a box to our house that was supposed to go next door. Misdirected mail and packages happens to good people

    If you recieved and opened the gift in front of the giver, then I think that is a little bit different, a little more slack on sending a formal acknowledgement. Except for Sean, no slack for him.


  19. I used to say things like this to my Vulcan husband. But after 16 years of him responding logically, I now hear his response in my head before I even utter the words, and I talk myself down from the ledge with no intervention.

    Marriage is an amazing thing.


  20. although I laughed at this post, I have been on both sides of this issue… I love to send things I have created or made in the mail, but more often than not MY birthday gifts are always late getting to me… I have “almost” learned to lower my expectations of people who don’t plan ahead…
    I also confess there are a ton of thank you’s that I should of sent over the years… maybe I should rent a billboard and post a big thank you sign?


  21. My old phone number in Oklahoma was only an area code different from the state agricultural office number so you can IMAGE the messages I used to get. Some I called back some I didn’t

    Then, there used to be a little old lady who would call about once a month for fresh eggs. I just started telling her I sold out after futile attempt at telling her that she had the wrong number.


  22. Stuff like this STRESSES me out because I am so bad at thank you notes. I always mean to do them and I am truly thankful. Honest. So thank you in advance for anything, anything at all. Also, am bad at emails. Do I owe you an email?
    Paranoidally yours,


  23. My husband and I were married in October of 1992. We got many gifts and several from friends of his family that I didn’t know. I wrote the thank-yous and gave them to him to mail. He and his mom had addresses for these people, not me. Three years later when we moved to a new apartment, we found those thank you notes under the sofa. I guess I should have taken the time to address them myself and send them. But we still get a laugh out of this story…17 years later!


  24. Send the yarn lady a text saying she had the wrong number. That way you don’t have to actually talk to her!

    Then maybe call the receipent of your 60 hrs of artist time and ask if they liked it. I’m sure that even though it wasn’t acknowledged they appreciated the gift. Think of it as a random act of kindness on your part. Done to bring a smile to someones day.


  25. um, what if she calls you back? That happened to me. The city next to us kept calling me about trimming our hedges (we have none) or we would be fined or they would rip them out or something. The second time they called I called them back and said, I don’t live in your city and I have no hedges so those people probably deserve and extra week or so to take care of their problem. Anyway, she just might call you again . . .

    And, this is why people should keep the art of writing thank you notes alive. I’m teaching my kids . . .


  26. It has taken me a long time to explain, and have my husband understand, that I am simply telling him a problem not asking him to “solve” the problem. It’s a man-thing. Also I do a lot of quilting and other various type things for people and find that if they also quilt or other projects, they appreciate the time and effort that goes into the project. If not they have no clue and thus the appreciation level is not there. I once heard that your responsibility is in the gift-giving – what the reciptient does is their responsibility. Lick your wounds and move on, don’t allow this to stop you from giving a hand-made gift to someone else.


  27. I have had some of my best conversations with people who got the wrong number. Call the woman. It’s an adventure! She will certainly appreciate it and you will have done your good deed for the day.


  28. call !!! you will feel So much better -on both counts … seriously! Not only will you receive the appreciation you need & deserve -But also the yarn lady will feel So much better as well – You know its the right thing to do. (sorry – I feel like Im preaching like my Mom…”now when you’ve thought this through you can come out of your room.” 🙂


  29. I was giggling to myself the entire post. I have been on both ends.

    I have sent a gift or a card or whatever and wait for some sort of reply that never comes. I go through the emotions you went through and think thing that AD said.

    On the other hand my family gave me a baby shower in January more than a month after my son was born. I had to go back to work when Blake was 6 weeks old. So you can imagine how busy a first time mom working full time outside of the home is. (not that moms working inside the home or sathm are not supper dupper busy!!!) My husband worked ever other night and every other weekend. He would go in on Friday at 5 PM get off on Monday at 8 AM. I’m just saying I was busy and didn’t get to the cards. I felt guilty the entire time. I finally got to say thank you …. in December when we sent out Christmas cards and a picture of my sweet one year old son. I wrote a note in the CHIRSTMAS card thanking everyone for the exact gift they had give. I also asked forgiviness for being sooooo late. AWWWW my guilt was relieved.


  30. I’m the same way with the phone! I would e-mail in a heartbeat, but talk to a person on the phone, I don’t think so. I would have my husband return the call, that’s how we roll at our house. I do the e-mails, he does the phone 🙂

    Oh, and I love how it went from 20 to 50 hours in the matter of time it took to write the post!


  31. I understand. Happens to all of us. Just to clarify, which I seem to need to do a lot lately, this was not written to blast people who don’t acknowlege gifts but a light-hearted look at my own inadequacies and emotional insecurities. Maybe someone out there can relate. Maybe not.


  32. I was the lady who didn’t acknowledge a gift, a few years back. I didn’t write a thank you note for a baby gift. It wasn’t intentional, or maybe it was. There was a lot going on in my life… Things that were bigger than a thank you note. And I got distracted for months, and then ended up moving to Germany in 12 days… and well, I forgot. The family who sent the gift was, rightfully, hurt. They used to be friends with my parents, not even my friends. They moved a few states away a few years earlier. I hadn’t talked to them in months when the present arrived, and then still didn’t hear from them until almost a year later- when they emailed my mom to tell her how rude I was.
    Sometimes, life happens. Sometimes, people can be rude and not really mean to be. Sometimes, people simply forget.

    I’d call and ask about your gift.
    And then I’d have someone else call the yarn lady– I don’t like talking to strangers on the phone!! 😉


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