Tag Archives: birthdays

The thing wherein I have a birthday


So on Sept. 7th I turned A Certain Age.

Really my age is no secret, although the closer I get to fifty, the increasingly strange it feels to say how old I am.

I’m 46.

I did some math around all this and came to the conclusion that in four more years, I’ll be fifty.  I’m not really sure how to feel about that, except possibly for IT SUCKS AND I HATE IT.

Then again, I find that I’m having more fun lately and part of that is the freedom of being the age that I am, so there’s that too.

So we had some Birthday Fun on Friday evening (the 6th) with the children, and Rhonda and the girls gave me an awesome pair of sapphire earrings.  Who doesn’t like fine jewelry?  NOBODY DOESN’T LIKE IT, that’s who.  NOBODY.  Especially not me.  So, aging process: 0, Me: 1.

Then the next morning we took the little darlings out for pancakes and then came home to watch what we thought would be “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” on Netflix.  Sadly, Netflix doesn’t have that one.  So we poked around and found “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” instead.  And the children watched it, and they seemed to enjoy it.

Then we went to a friend of mine’s house.  This friend is someone I went to high school with and we haven’t laid eyes on each other since 1985.  Well, except that she lives along the route I drive to and from work and one day recently she saw me ride by on my motorcycle.  I have a bright orange motorcycle and my red hair pokes out the back of my helmet, so I’m fairly easy to see as I flash by.  But I haven’t seen HER since graduation day.  At any rate, she had taken a tree down in her yard and had a lot of wood for the taking so The Lovely Rhonda and I dropped by and loaded up the Family Truckster with a bunch of it.  We like a firepit now and again, so this will come in very handy.

We then bombed home, cleaned up and headed out to some BBQ with a friend.  I mistakenly ordered a “big” beer, thinking this meant a pint.

But no.

It was bigger than a pint.  And by God, I drank it down.

After that we did some stuff, and some other stuff.  And then we went to a friend’s Delayed Gratification party, a sort of “we got married a couple of years ago in a hurry for various good reasons not involving pregnancy and now we’re celebrating it” party, which was also a fundraiser for marriage equality in Oregon.  This, even though they are heterosexuals who can marry anytime they like and nobody makes, literally, a federal case out of it.  These are the kind of great people that we have the privilege of knowing.

After that we went home.  And I woke up the next morning and was still only 45 in my head.

Actually in my head I’m variable ages, usually 15 or so most of the time which is why I still laugh at farting.

How To Turn 45


So yesterday was my birthday, or as a friend put it, the “anniversary of my continued homeostasis upon this planet.”

We couldn’t let this go uncelebrated, so The Lovely Rhonda threw some invitations out and a few people dropped by.

I’m deeply uncomfortable allowing people to see how we normally live, i.e. like filth-beasts wallowing in our own swill, so I spent much of the day mucking out The Swamp.  It wasn’t too bad, for us, and this mainly consisted of scraping a layer of toothpaste off the bathroom mirror and running the vacuum.  Is there some special law of physics governing the spitting of toothpaste into sinks by children?  Because despite vigorous Windexing of the bathroom mirror just yesterday, I woke this morning to find fresh gobs of chalky whiteness decorating its lower half.  How do they even get that kind of trajectory going?  I can barely get it to clear my chin.

It was the usual mayhem of barbecued meats and alcoholic beverages.  TLR has found a decent mojito recipe.  I asked her where she’d found it and she said “some men’s magazine website.”  This is not even slightly surprising, although what is surprising is that she could navigate her way through all the photos of half-naked lingerie models to find the drinks recipes.  I suspect she may have enjoyed this more than she would care to admit.  At any rate they were very decent mojitos and I had a couple of them.  This passes for debauchery on a grand scale, for me.  Woo!

I’ve reached that age where when people ask me what I want for my birthday, I don’t have a ready answer.  I have most things I could want, I wouldn’t want anyone to shell out for anything on the Too Expensive To Buy For Myself list, and mostly all I want is a good time with friends.  Which I got!  But you know people love you when they bring you trinkets and widgets and geegaws.

It was quite a haul, really.  When the children get old enough to be taken shopping for you, you suddenly find yourself with a larger quantity of mysterious little packages than you have received in a while.  There is usually a lot more tape involved in the gift-wrapping, too.

Some friends came and brought their girls who are close in age to TLR’s girls, and the youngest of these not only brought me gifts from the pile but assisted me in tearing the paper off and before I knew it had squirmed her way onto my lap and practically into my shirt.  It was awfully charming.

TLR went a little nuts with the amusing trinkets.  The pièce de résistance was a can of Unicorn meat.

Yes, you read correctly.

Unicorn meat.

And, in keeping with my love of bacon, some Bacon-Scented Hand Sanitizer and Bacon-Flavored Lip Balm.

Our Good Friend Josh (GFJ) brought me a little token of his affection that I have struggled with since we got an XBox.  “Struggled with” in the sense of “resisted buying for myself.”  It is GFJ that we can thank for my sudden, comprehensive disappearance from society for the next six months, for he brought me — 

I’m not sure TLR is on speaking terms with GFJ now.

And just when I thought the night could not get any better, and was about to blissfully retire with dreams of bacon-scented dragon-riding Unicorn-munching adventure, my cousin Heidi showed up with a BOX OF AWESOME.

Heidi’s godmother collected something, you see, and when she passed away these somethings passed to Heidi.  And Heidi has bestowed them on me.

I present, without further ado:



The Afterparty


So ten children ages 7 (x 1), 6 (x 2), 5 (x 5), 4 (x 1) and 3 (x 1) makes for an interesting afternoon.  There were games!  There was laughter!  There were owies and/or boo-boos!  Tears!  Mayhem!  Cuppycakes!  Delirium!  Chaos!  Dora the Explorer party favors!  And eventually, an absence of children, and peace, and the kind of silence that can only follow a child’s birthday party.

Still, way better than Chuck E. Cheese.

The biggest hit was the decorate-your-own cupcakes.  Also the trampoline.

We had a few guests from the preschool.  Surprisingly there was one mother perfectly willing to drop her precious angel off at a total stranger’s house for two hours of God knows what.   Two other moms stayed for the fun.  The child who was dropped off was dressed in shorts and a fuzzy long sleeved top and must have been just roasting, but rebuffed our offers of a loaner t-shirt.  She seemed grimly determined to participate in everything and was almost eerily quiet.  Her mom (or at least the woman who dropped her off) barely made it to the front door, shook my hand like a politician, chucked the gift into my hands and dashed for the car like she was escaping from prison.  The pickup was similar but in reverse.  I hardly know what to think about it.

At any rate, the highlight of the party for me was, as always, pretending that Mr. Ex-The-Lovely-Rhonda was welcome in our home.  I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that next year the party will be at his house so that HE can do all the work while WE sit around with Rhonda’s family and chat and do nothing, and then get grumpy for no apparent reason and abruptly leave without saying thanks.  (His family said thanks; I don’t want to malign them, they were perfectly nice as always.)

We could not have picked a better day for it, 80 degrees and breezy and just perfect.  We had postponed it by a week due to illness and although the illness lingers, at least the weather was vastly improved.  It rained buckets last weekend.

We have this friend who comes and hangs out with us on occasion.  He’s more or less the perfect friend in that he doesn’t loathe our children (any more than we occasionally do; let’s face it, they’re not all rainbows and unicorns ALL the time), he enjoys sitting around doing more or less nothing, he helps us with our computers, and — ladies, pay attention — he’s rather tidy and not afraid of housework or yard work and, inexplicably, heterosexual.  Oh, and he’s not terribly into sports or cars or guns or hookers or blow.  As far as we can tell.

He is a pasty-skinned gamer, but it’s a small price to pay for this kind of companionship.

This weekend he not only mowed the lawn for the party while The Lovely Rhonda coughed and I cleaned the house, he stayed on — willingly, without promise of remuneration — and performed yard work with me while The Lovely Rhonda coughed and then brought us treats from Dairy Queen.  He gave our Cousin It tree a haircut and then helped me lay down weed suppression cloth on the side bed.  He even expressed a possible willingness to continue assisting me with such projects, despite the dirt and the being outdoors and the sweating and the mild sunburn.

We’re not sure what we have done to deserve this kind of friendship but we hope it continues at least until the grounds are completely landscaped.  Wonder if he’s any good with laying pavers?


Birthday Fun!


So The Lovely Rhonda turns an undisclosed, youthful age today, and to celebrate this we repaired to the beach for grown-up time.

This almost didn’t happen because some child-care arrangement plans fell through, but my adorable cousin Carmen agreed to come stay the weekend with our children.  Despite having met them all before.  We cannot thank her enough, but I do aim to try.

It was especially an issue since the room was prepaid through one of those internet things, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.  It would have just felt that way as we squatted in our hovel surrounded by our grubby, ill-behaved children, visions of gamboling the days away on the endless sunny beaches…

But I digress.

It turns out that January is not the peak season for beach excursions in the northern parts of the Oregon coast.  And it turns out also that the many and diverse storm fronts that have moved through the region, really attacking it from all directions in the past week, make for some interesting driving conditions.  We were fortunate in that the worst of the downed trees, icy roads and power outages were resolved before we embarked on our journey.  However, the rain did monsoon and the wind did buffet our valiant minivan around, and the highway was littered with tufty evergreen twigs and the occasional car in the ditch (facing the wrong way, even).

Nevertheless and against all odds, we arrived, barely, in time to eat at Mo’s as is customary.  When we opened the doors to the van they blew open very dramatically which made us laugh and shriek like the little girls we are.  The server obliged with free ice cream on TLR’s dessert and we sang the birthday song despite the fact that there was only one other table of customers in front of whom to be humiliated.  Tradition must be upheld!

The night at the hotel was uneventful, although I did make the desk clerk laugh.  She asked what kind of car we had and at first we had difficulty remembering the make and model.  In our defense, it was late and we were tired.  Finally I told her that if the Titanic had been made into a minivan, it would be ours.  It turns out that this is good enough for hotel recordkeeping purposes.

The next day we finally emerged around lunchtime to uphold another tradition, the Storming of the Outlet Mall.  I did not photograph this. You’re welcome.

Lunch was had, and we made our way to the beach for the obligatory Stroll on the Shore.  It was actually quite clear and very windy and you could totally see how stormy it had been.  Lots of foam and the beach was rather scooped away.

Lincoln City, OR

After dutifully admiring nature’s majestic splendor for at least thirty minutes (per regulations) we made our way to a coffee shop and obtained beverages and a nifty pack of playing cards emblazoned with pirate facts.  Also some hats, which The Lovely Rhonda models for you here:

Tide's coming in.

We sat and played rummy and absorbed heat from the gas fireplace for a time, then hit a store for comestibles including a bottle of wine.  I do not care for wine, but TLR does.  Off to the hotel!

Sadly, the pocket corkscrew TLR travels with was not up to the challenge and broke off, necessitating a trip to the front desk for some tools.

The monkey pokes the anthill with the stick and licks the ants off, thus demonstrating use of tools.

I am happy to report that the wine was successfully opened and TLR enjoyed it immensely.

Today we revisited the seawall and found that it was raining and windy, and the tide was coming in to the point of splashing over the seawall.  We parked facing the seawall and watched for a while, as did many others.  Next to us was a family in a large beefy manly truck.  Mom and Gawky Teenage Son got out to look while Dad stayed in the truck and occasionally locked Mom out, apparently for his personal amusement.

At one point Mom returned to the truck and emerged with her laptop, which she then used to (evidently) capture some video of the Big Angry Ocean, as we had taken to calling it.  We were deeply impressed with this and so I had to snap a few shots.  I kept waiting for the wind to catch it and sail it into the ocean, or at least dash it to bits on the wet, sandy seawall, but no.  Luck favors the idiotic, so it seems.

As Darwin spins in his grave...

I waited patiently for a moment when the sea would splash over the wall, and in the meantime saw a small be-sweatered dog reluctantly enjoying a brisk stroll in the driving rain and wind.

A fine day for a constitutional!

Every time I tried to get the shot, the stupid kid wandered into the frame.  WHY MUST I SUFFER FOR MY ART.

"Gawky Teen with Seawall, 2012"

At last, victory was mine!

Finally! The Gawky Teen got the hell out of the way.

Then we drove home in yet more pouring rain, the end.