One Year Closer to Death

So, my birthday was last week.  And I survived it.

If you are new here, you might not be aware that I am cursed.  My birthdays typically suck and/or some tragedy occurs on or around it as a result of my bad birthday mojo.  This year, I was going to try to escape the angel of death by being completely and absolutely still, and hoping it would just pass right by me.  I thought I had escaped it unscathed this time.  Until the next day.

(If you’d like a rundown of past birthday suckage, and no, I was not exaggerating about the death part, go here to edumacate yourself).

Actually, this year, the birthday angel lulled me into a false sense of security.  The week preceding my birthday was going swimmingly.  My colleagues took me out to lunch, unprompted, to a very nice restaurant, and actually paid for my lunch.  This is huge, as in preceding years, they have failed to even acknowledge that I had ever been born.  Not just that, but when I arrived at work 2 days before my birthday, I found this waiting for me:

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It was from my secretary, whom I believe I have previously mentioned as being quite rad.  It contained a bottle of wine, wine glasses, nail polish and plastic utensils.  A bit of an inside joke, there, but basically for my lunches at work.  See?  Rad.

The day prior to my birthday, I actually received a card from everyone at work.  Another rare occurrence that doesn’t happen every year.  In fact, I believe this is the first year that I received it on time, and that I didn’t have to basically give to myself.  That was another fun one.

Then, after work, I ran to the mall to take advantage of a few free birthday treats that I was to receive before the end of the month.  Sephora was giving out a little mini pack of lipstick & mascara, I had a free coupon for a smoothie, and I had received an email for $15 off any purchase at Ann Taylor, so I hit the sale rack and walked away with 2 sweaters for a mere $20.  Once I also completed the few returns I had to make while in the mall, I came out square.  Free mall trip, woo hoo!!

bday mall treats

When I returned home that evening, I found that I had even more birthday treats waiting for me.  There was this huge box that had arrived from my good friend Andrea.  I was doubly impressed that it arrived the day before my birthday, as she is notoriously (and adorably) Post Office averse.  Case in point . . . last year’s birthday package arrived at the end of March.  So, she really got it in gear this year, and made it a day early.  I am very impressed!

bday package

Inside, I found 4 gorgeous martini glasses and some mini bottles of booze.  Hmmm, anyone else sensing a trend here?  What do you think people are trying to say about me with their gift choices?  I cannot figure it out.

After a quick review of the contents of the box, and a quick change out of my work clothes, I then jetted off to have dinner with another good friend and her daughter.  We went to my favorite local sushi place, and she too showered me with presents and bought me dinner.  It was a very good day, to say the least, and it wasn’t even my birthday yet!

On the actual day, I was playing it coy and low key, so I took the day off of work, slept in, and generally relaxed for most of the day.  Granted, there was laundry and packing to do for my upcoming trip, but that wasn’t too much of a chore, considering.  It was a lovely, stress-free day that I quite enjoyed.

Once my kids got home from school, though, the exciting festivities began.  I came downstairs to encounter the kitchen transformed into a tropical paradise.  I was informed that this birthday’s theme would be “warm weather.”  As long as I remained indoors, I could very easily go along with this fantasy.

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Then there were the gifts.  For my birthday, I asked the hubs to get 2 things for me . . . a suitcase and new leather gloves.  Since my current pair look like this:

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He came through on both, so he did a great job.  But he didn’t stop there, of course. Because he’s him, and there are always more gifts.  More . . . interesting . . . gifts.  Such as . . .

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Movies?

And then, of course, there was another gift following my own personal birthday theme . . .

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There is gonna be some drinking going on up in he-ah!

And . . .

bday napkins

Classy? Sure, let’s go with that.

Then I opened this one . . . in front of my kids.  Yeah, thanks hubs.

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Front . . .

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Back.

Well, it is the 50th Anniversary edition, so really, it’s a super special gift.  Right?  Uh huh.

The next day I had to go to work.  Which sucked, but I just didn’t have enough leave to take that day off as well since I would be leaving early and getting on a jet plane (don’t know when I’ll be back again) . . . and heading to Key West for 3 days.  Or at least . . . I thought I was.  Until I received the call from school telling me that my youngest son had a temperature and had to go home.  Since the hubs was home that day, he picked him up and took him to the doc’s real quick.  Then I got the text:  Strep.  And then I had to make a decision:  go home to take care of my son or leave for Key West in 4 hours.

At that point, the mama bear gene kicked in big time and I started freaking out.  I didn’t want to go on vacation.  I mean I really wanted to go, but I didn’t want to just leave my sick son with my brother in law while I jetted off to a tropical vacation.  That felt very wrong, somehow, and I also just wanted to go home and hug and care for my baby.  Who, at this point, I wouldn’t see until Monday if we left.  I was so torn.  And I realized . . . the birthday curse had struck again.  Damnit!

Obviously, I came to my senses, after being talked down by pretty much everyone I consulted, including my husband.  My son was on meds and seemed ok, so we decided that we would go.  So, although that damn curse had hit again, this time affecting my poor son, I wasn’t going to let it ruin everything.  The birthday curse would not win this time.  So, we were off to paradise!

Birthday Extravaganza

So, I’m not sure if you know this, but Wednesday was my birthday.  I don’t know how you would have realized that, since I hardly even mentioned it at all on any format, including my own blog, other people’s blogs or even on Facebook.  I mean, really.  It was practically a secret.

As with all of my birthdays, I was a bit trepidatious as to how the day would go.  Would there be slapping?  Would there be forgetfulness?  Would there be tragedy?  None of these are unprecedented events for that most holy of days . . . the day of my birth.

The day started for me before sunrise.  A most unwelcome turn of events, but not at all unexpected.  However, the reality was much harsher than the theory of “having to go to work on my birthday.”  When the alarm sounded, there commenced numerous slaps of the snooze button before the battle going on in my head between GOOD (Get UP!  You have to go to work!) and BAD (It’s my birthday!  I want to sleep . . . and this bed is so warm and cozy!) was concluded decisively by my full bladder.  So, once I was out of bed and pee-free, I figured since I was vertical, I might as well get on with it and get ready for work.  Screw you, bladder.  You vile betrayer!

Once I was marginally functional (showered, spackled, dressed) I proceeded downstairs to greet the onslaught of family members (sans my travelling hubby) for birthday wishes.  I was greeted by this:

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Hand-made banners.  Yes, that’s plural, there were three (third one not pictured in my super messy kitchen).  To add to that, my boys also assaulted me with hand-made cards:

Sticker card curtesy of 4.

Sticker card courtesy of 4.

Card by 7.

Card by 7.

Please note that I am “the best mom ever xoxoxo best mom.”  He says it twice, in two different colors, so it must be accurate.  Everyone else can just put their batons down now.  Sorry.

After the cards and hugs were all given out, it was time for me to go to work.  Horribly-made coffee in hand (I mentioned the hubs being out of town, yes?), I was off to see what this day of days had in store for yours truly.

Apparently, the immediate answer to that was . . . traffic.  Lots and lots of traffic.  Oh joy.  Wait, why am I not still in bed?  Oh yeah, work.  Goodie.

Finally arriving at work, I discovered a few things in my office.  First, a gift from my secretary (Costa Rican coffee and a brownie).  I believe I have extolled her amazing qualities previously ad nauseum, so I will refrain from rehashing, but she is seriously the best.  Then when I booted up my computer, there was an unexpected birthday wish:

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Aww, Google.  How sweet of you to remember!  I mean, I don’t even know how you knew it was my birthday, but it was a lovely surprise upon opening up Explorer on my computer.  A little Big Brotherish, but I’ll take birthday greetings where I can get them.

And then I happened to notice something a bit odd on my desk.  A manila file folder with a sticky note on top directing one of my colleagues to “sign and then give to Misty.”  When I opened the file folder to see what was inside, I realized that although the signer had in fact followed the note writer’s directions explicitly, she did not exactly follow along with the intent in which the note was meant.

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Not quite what was intended, methinks.

Another interesting thing during that day was that not one person at my office wished me a happy birthday.  Now, don’t get me wrong . . . I received tons of birthday wishes on both my personal Facebook account and my blog Facebook account, along with many texts from friends (including a couple of colleagues not at work that day).  So, I’m not trying to be all “woe is me, nobody remembered.”  And I mean seriously, how can you forget when Mark Zuckerberg so helpfully assists you with a reminder right there on your FB page?  But during the entire day of being in the office, not one actual person told me “Happy Birthday.”  I found it odd.  Especially since most of them had just signed a card for me, so it’s not like it was a big secret.

Once I was finally released from captivity work, (and when I say “released,” I mean I ran out of there an hour early . . . it’s mah birfday!!), I headed home to what I expected to be a low key evening of celebration.  I expected carry out for dinner (sushi) and a pie for dessert, per my request.  I also assumed there would be presents.  It’s how my family rolls.

I was greeted upon my arrival with both balloons and yelling by my children that I was home too early and that they were still working on a surprise!  Fine by me.  I took myself up to my room, changed out of my work clothes, and vegged in front of the TV for about an hour.  Ahhh, now this is my kind of birthday!

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Tinkerbell and Ariel . . . because I’m a GIRL.

Once my family deemed themselves prepared for the evening’s revelry, I was allowed to descend into the pits of despair den of iniquity celabratory spaces of my home.  This was also when I discovered that not only would I be receiving presents from my family, but TWO of my blogging friends had sent packages my way, which had arrived appropriately and timely on my special day.  The first was from Rachel, of bloggy brunch fame, who ordered a book for me that we had discussed this past Saturday.  It is her favorite book, and when she discovered I had not yet read it, she decided to right that wrong by sending the book to me.  What an amazingly sweet gesture.  Thanks so much, Rache!!

The next surprise was a gift from my bloggy buddy, Jules.  She and I share an unholy love for all things bacon.  She translated this bond that we have into a gift of a book celebrating this unholy love.

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I am SO making these for Thoughtsy.

I am SO making these for Thoughtsy.

When I unwrapped this gift, I laughed so hard.  My family wanted to know what was wrong with me what was so funny, and all I could do was hold up the book.  Seriously, though, this is one of the best things I have ever received.  Jules, it’s like you just know me or something.  Thank you so much for your gift, your hilarity, and your friendship.  They all mean the world to me!

Ok, on to the gifts from my family.  First . . . another book.  Truly, a perfect companion to the one above.

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It’s like he KNOWS me or something.

And now we have . . . joke giftapalooza:

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Please note that all of the above were handed to me, lovingly, by my small boys, and I unknowingly started opening them in front of said children without nary a warning from the hubs.  Bad form, hubs.  You stay classy, San Diego.

My oldest son then gave me a special gift which he assured me he had not only picked out himself, but also helped pay for.  It is some serious bling bling, y’all.

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The finest CZ allowed by law.

On to cake!  Well, cakes and pie.  When the hubs asked me earlier in the week what kind of cake I wanted, I threw him a curveball by saying, “I don’t want cake at all.  I want pie.  Key Lime Pie to be exact.”  But since no one has ever heard of a birthday pie, the hubs decided to get something for everyone.

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That’s right . . . two different cakes AND a key lime pie.  Booyah!!  Plus, the hubs tried to burn the house down . . .

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Anytime we seriously consider getting the fire department involved in our celebration is a good time, no doubt. 

And thus ends my thrilling tale of a birthday celebration that will go down in the history books as, “at least nobody died” and “could have been much worse.”  For my birthday . . . I call that a win!  So now, I am in Atlantic City, hopefully resting and relaxing, sans my lovely and adorable spawn.  What better way could there be to end a birthday week?  Except for that jackpot I’m hoping to win . . . none, I say!

VD Strikes Back

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Earlier this week, I got sick.  It was just a cold, but I felt bad enough to have to take a day off of work.  While I was home feeling crappy, I received my first valentine’s gift . . .  from my 4 year old son.  He had gone to the library with our au pair and done a craft project while he was there.  When he came home, he told me that he had made a special gift for me.  And then he gave me this:

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When I untied the ribbon wrapped around the rolled up dark pink felt, I saw this:

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When I unfurled it, I found a very long pink felt ribbon with a hand on each end.  There was one grey hand stapled to one end of the long ribbon, and one pink hand stapled to the other end.  When I asked my son if those were his hands, he said, “No, mommy!  The pink one is a piggy hand, and the grey one is an elephant hand!”  I just want to squeeze him SO HARD.

On VD morning, very very very early in the morning, I dragged my sorry tired ass out of bed, went into the bathroom, and there on my bathroom sink, I found my first official VD present.  Flowers and a card from the hubs:

Yes, it does in fact say, "Me, You and a little fondue...."

Yes, it does in fact say, “Me, You and a little fondue….”

So, while a sweet gesture bright and early in the morning (did I mention it was really early?  Yeah.), it also had the unintended (maybe) bonus of planting an earworm in my brain of the song Boyfriend, which would linger there the entire freaking day.  Well played, hubs.  Well played, indeed.

When I got home from work, I whipped up a special dinner for my kids, to reflect the special day and my love for them:

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Pepperoni & Canadian Bacon hearts.

When I saw my boys, they were both so excited to give me the presents they got for me, that they ran up to me and thrust them upon me.  Each had a small heart-shaped vase with flowers and a card.  If only I had 4 hands, I would have been able to grab everything they were throwing at me.

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And then the hubs and I exchanged our presents.  He had already given me the flowers earlier in the morning, but when I got home, there was this HUGE box waiting for me with this on the side:

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The boys were very excited about this huge box sitting in our living room, and could not wait for me to open it.  So I did . . . and what I found was this:

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Catching up on a little blogging.

Yes, that is indeed a 4 and 1/2 foot tall stuffed bear.  The chair he is sitting in is actually one of those oversized chofa (chair/sofa) chairs.  So, yeah.  BIG bear.  The boys loved that bear.  In fact, I think it was more of a present for them then me, as they jumped on and laid all over that thing all night.

This was this morning . . . bear as rug/pillow.

This was this morning . . . bear as rug/pillow.

Now, as for the hubs and my presents for him . . . this was a tough one.  Most Valentine’s Days, he showers me with presents, including flowers, chocolates and numerous gifts.  And my little gifts to him pale in comparison.  But not this year.  This year, I had a plan.  A plan I devised with a little help from my friend Peg.  She talked on her blog about an underwear bouquet she made for her hubs one year.  So, as a take on that, I decided to gift my hubs with a beautiful and creative bouquet of my own.

Sock bouquet

Sock bouquet

Take that humongous stuffed bear taking up half of my living room floor right now!!  That’s right.  That’s how you do the VD in our house.

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So, how was VD in your abode?  Did your sweetie shower you with gifts?  Or did you just have a nice low-key evening?  Do tell . . .