In case you missed it, and I feel like I almost did, I had a birthday last week. Normally, I insist upon a lot of hoopla surrounding a successful journey ’round the sun. This year I was still mildly interested in drumming up some birthday hoopla, but it took a backseat to the parade I’m planning for my daughter’s birthday, which is less than three weeks after mine.
I started planning her party weeks ago, scouting several local parks for the best location and buying party favors and decorations. As an afterthought, I sent out invitations for guests to join me for a birthday lunch at my house. I sent these invitations two weeks in advance. Of Labor Day weekend. So a lot of people sent their regrets, and I was a little relieved. Two massive hooplas within three weeks of each other is one too many.
I had a few people set to join me for the party. Two nights before, in the midst of planning the menu, I found myself cleaning up septic tank overflow in my laundry room. The next night, my actual birthday, I went out to a lovely dinner with my family at my favorite restaurant, and returned home to more septic tank overflow. As I was sopping up sewage water with old towels, mask over my nose to minimize the unmistakable smell of septic shit, I decided I’d finally reached the year when birthdays just don’t count for anything anymore.
Not knowing the exact problem with the septic tank, my husband and I decided it best to minimize our water usage until we could fix things (we weren’t about to call a plumber on Labor Day weekend) and changed the birthday plans to a restaurant lunch. I had a lovely time with the people who showed and I freely admit that, though not as fun as showing off our cooking skills, the restaurant was far less stressful.
And that was that. A birthday dinner, a birthday lunch and one more year hung on the line. Even my gift from my husband was marred. He bought me a new stereo for my new car,* but installation was unsuccessful and we’re still waiting on a replacement unit. It’s easy to see why planning the first birthday is much more fun than planning the – er…later ones. My daughter will get to eat cake and play with new toys, and even if they’re broken she’ll be just as interested in the box. The whole experience for her and for us will be new and exciting. And it will be years and years and years before she has to spend her birthday mopping up shit.
*The car itself could also be considered a massive birthday present, it just didn’t come with a gigantic bow on top. As I typed that I realized why getting a car as a surprise is such a great gift. It’s not because it’s a big expensive item. It’s because if someone gives you a car, you don’t have to deal with a car salesman.