Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Birthday aka "The Dryer Diaries"

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday. I wasn't really scared of turning 40, but it wasn't as breezy as turning 30 was. Now I am clearly older, achier, wrinklier (and hopefully, wiser)... age has made itself known. On the other hand I don't have any 'outstandings' as I did when I was 30 (not married, no child, struggling career...) so I feel a little more settled and comfortable with where I am at. And that's a good thing. A very good thing.

As far as my actual birthday celebration  I was feeling a little down because I wasn't sure my husband got that on my birthday I wanted to be really celebrated... especially since it was a milestone. Based on some comments he made (and some previous b-day and mother's day experiences) I thought I might be headed towards a 'meh' kind of birthday. For one, he told me a couple times that I would not be receiving my gift on my birthday and indicated that it might be awhile before I got it. I'm not one that needs anything big like a party (although I am not opposed to one) - I just want to feel special. And when Jesse forgot to say Happy Birthday to me before I left for work I sorta tailspinned into feeling very non-special. He quickly apologized and wished me a Happy Birthday in a text, but by that time I was already bummed out. I sat on it for awhile as I received birthday wishes from all my co-workers, but it kept sinking down deeper. I sent an email to Jesse telling him how I was feeling, but acknowledged that he is awesome to me and that I knew it was still early in the day. I felt like I just needed to get it off my chest.

Turns out I really didn't need to worry. My husband came through and then some. Although, I could have done without the attempt to throw me off my saying I wouldn't get a gift on my birthday. Turns out that wasn't really funny nor was it a delightful surprise. At any rate, in the end it was a mighty fine way to turn 40. But before I get to my husband's part of the fun I need to talk about my awesome co-workers.

We have a system at work where we bring in a treat to share with the whole team on a team mate's birthday. Basically, whoever last had their birthday brings in the treat for the next birthday and so on. Lucky for me Ben's birthday is before mine. Ben has a wife and 4 kids so I am guessing he has some practice in the birthday department. Plus, he's an all around nice guy. Besides the fancy fonted birthday email he sent he also brought in Age Gyoza (crispy Japanese-style chicken dumplings) and edamame from Zen Box Japanese Eatery.  Zen Box is one of my favorite places to grab lunch so I was delighted to get a treat from there (and so was the team).

My team then went above and beyond by decorating my cube with cat pictures and balloons. My co-worker, Ashley, is a huge fan of cats so it was no surprise that cats made their way into my birthday somehow, but she went above expectations by purchasing a cat balloon that hovers just over the ground so it looks like you are walking a cat. A balloon cat, that is. I agreed to have my picture taken with it as I figured this was my only chance to: 1. have a picture taken of me on my birthday, and 2. document the balloons. I was wrong, but more on that later.

One of the many cat pictures placed in my cube.

As I was packing up for the day I decided to bring the cat balloon home for my daughter. I awkwardly stuffed it into a plastic Target bag with it's tail sticking out. Ashley requested that I walk the cat onto the bus, but I brushed off her foolishness. But as I got closer to my bus stop I started to rethink her request. And then this happened when I got on the bus:

Just because I am 40 doesn't mean the 14 year old in me can't be let out from time to time.

Please note that there is only one guy looking up. No one else is paying attention. DO THEY NOT SEE THE CAT ON THE BUS?! Apparently, they don't know what it took for this picture to happen. I'd like to say I am just that brave and cool, but it took a lot of self talk to get here and the luck of having my neighbor on the bus to take the picture. All in all it was so worth it as I was able to bring joy to Ashley's life and apparently made a bunch of other people laugh.

I was also hoping to bring joy to my daughter's life with the kitty balloon, but I should have known better. As soon as she saw it she said "Idon'twantthisIdon'twantthisIdon'twantthisIdon'twantthis..." until I removed it from site. I put it in the guest room and later found our cat, Lucy, sniffing it's butt. I guess to a cat a butt is a butt.

Caught in the act

After eating the burgers Jesse picked up for dinner he and Riley gave me my card. Well, Jesse attempted to. As soon as Riley saw it she equated it with coloring and insisted on coloring it some more. We had to do a little switcheroo with a coloring book and then I was able to get my hands on this:

Riley also got me the "Mother to Daughter" book, but the card was my favorite. As you can see the first letter in the words spell out 'dryer'. Jesse and I have a bit of a dryer theme when it comes to exchanging gifts (or getting engaged). I started it, but I think that might be the only time I put anything in the dryer. He, on the other hand, has embraced the dryer over and over.

Seeing that Jesse made it clear that I wouldn't receive my gift for some time I thought he was just being cute with the card saying 'dryer' - like he was trying to work it in there somewhere. But after having some delicious cake he asked if I read my card. "Yes", I commented, "it said 'dryer'. Cute". He gave me a look that I now know meant "good lord, you are daft" and then gently nudged me towards the basement. I opened the dryer to find:

Balloons! and something white... We'd been talking about getting me a tablet for some time so I was pretty darn sure that was going to be my gift. We'd been looking at a variety of brands, but we both agreed that an iPad was more than I needed (or wanted to pay for), but when I saw that white bag I knew.

And I was a little stunned. I said something silly like "You got me an iPad" as if he didn't know. And then being the gracious wife I am I ran right past him to get my camera to capture this moment. But once the stun started to wear off I made sure he knew how grateful I was.

Since my birthday fell on a Thursday we decided to go out for a nice dinner on Saturday when grandma Suzie, and grandpa Michael could babysit Riley. We decided to go to Red Stone Grill after it had been suggested numerous times to us (one of which was my oldest sister, Judy, who just celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary there).

The food, surroundings, and company was fantastic, and I would highly recommend dining there. We had the Buffalo Shrimp appetizer, the Steak Salad, and the Wasabi Crusted Tuna, along with some fantastic wine. The atmosphere was warm and cozy and we even got a nice secluded spot in the corner. I can't wait to go back.

Jesse trying to avoid being in the picture.

In the end turning 40 was pretty awesome. And I felt incredibly special thanks to my family and friends.

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