Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

who needs a dumb old birthday anyway?

Birthdays.

From a distance, they seem filled with joy and excitement. But sometimes, things aren’t as you hoped and as you get to the actual day, the shit suddenly hits the fan.

My son had to work this morning. That bit of information is only important because I had to drive him. Why? We couldn’t find the keys to the Honda. They’ve since been found without incident, but at nine this morning when he needed them, they were nowhere to be found. So after less than five hours of sleep, I hopped into the car to drive my son to work.

When I got back, forty minutes later, I climbed back into bed for a little nap. After several blissful hours, I woke up to discover our plans for the day had been seriously compromised.  

By sleep.

I know I talk a lot about how little sleep I get, but I rarely share how much I really enjoy sleeping. I LOVE sleeping. In fact, it’s one of my favorite pastimes. But when the plans for the day hinged upon my being awake, well…sleep did put a bit of a crimp in things.

My plan to have breakfast with my daughter fell through since I was just waking up at lunch. And the antiquing planned for early afternoon was ruined because we had to drop my husband’s youngest daughter to her mother by two.

None of these things would have mattered had I not fallen asleep. And might have been saved had someone awakened me.

But no one did.

So not only were our plans reduced to rubble, but now everyone was angry with me.

And because I missed breakfast, I was hungry.

We drove to the drop off point in stony silence. Well, it would have been complete silence if not for the ringing in my ears. I could hear it above the sound of the tires on the road, or the wind whipping by as we sped down the highway.  

The tension in the car was palpable.

Once Mady was safely dropped off, it was just me and Mike in the car, and the decision of what to do next fell to me. And let’s face it…when birthday plans go awry, most women head straight to martyrdom.

I was hungry, and thirsty, and almost willing to starve to death rather than to speak to my husband.  I was forced, however, to answer the phone calls wishing me a happy birthday, and therefore my voice had been tested so I couldn’t claim laryngitis.

I remembered the little hole in the wall hot dog joint in the middle of the historic district of town and directed him to go there. I wanted a hot dog and some water.

I didn’t really want a hot dog. But it was the most miserable place I could think of to go. And since everyone was still mad at me…everyone left in the car with me anyway…I figured I had nothing to lose by being bratty.

We parked at the hot dog place and went inside. It was charming, if you like that sort of thing, and I ordered a single hot dog and a bottle of water. Mike ordered nothing but water.

I ate my food in silence and we left.

Once in the car I announced, “That may have been the worst hot dog I have ever eaten.” And it was…it was chewy. Hot dogs shouldn’t be chewy.

At least it was cheap.

Mike started to laugh at my description of the hot dog, and I did my best to keep from laughing along with him. Being a martyr is hard work.

We stopped at a Starbucks on the way home and I ordered a birthday cupcake with my coffee.  I took one bite and tossed it out. It was raw inside. My attempt to salvage what I could of my birthday was thwarted again.  We rode the rest of the way home in silence. My birthday seemingly ruined by bad moods all the way around.

We finally went out to dinner and settled in at home to watch movies on cable TV. Nothing exciting. I certainly won’t remember this birthday as being anything special.

What about cake, you ask?

Well, we stopped at the grocery on the way home to discover all the bakery cakes I liked were still frozen so we got cheesecake instead. I took a few bites of one slice and tucked it away for later.

It wasn’t what I had hoped for, but it would have to do.

In a few short minutes it won’t be my birthday anymore. It will be a new day, in a new month, in a new year. And I will be a little older, and hopefully a little wiser.

I definitely learned not to take a nap on my birthday ever again!

Until the next time…I’ll be saying goodbye to 2011.

If you missed me hijacking DC McMillen’s blog today for a birthday post, check it out here.

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