It was my birthday on Thursday. I turned 39. In between feeling bad about my neck and feeling great about the baby kicking and flipping in my belly, I had a wonderful couple of days. In our teens, my sisters and I decided there would be no more “birthdays,” there would be “birthweeks.” During which, if you were discontent or displeased by the others, you got to declare, “It’s MY damn birthday!”
It’s been a long time since my teens. Twenty years, if you do the math. But Odie kept the “birthday week” spirit alive for me, and did a bang-up job this year. There was a healthy bit of guilt in there too, since I majorly fucked up his birthday this year. I was selfish and lazy, and took his protestations of “You don’t have to do anything special for my birthday since you’re pregnant and tired and busy” as actual evidence that my husband was fine with a low-key (or rather a no-key) birthday. What he truly meant was, “Make a huge deal for me and surprise me with all manner of wonderful acts, gifts, and nudity.” Whoopsie.
Odie, bless his heart, cannot stand the period of time between purchasing a gift for someone and giving it to her. He practically comes out of his skin with impatience, and gives you a million clues until you know exactly what he got you and then you have to fake surprise when you open it. I can’t believe he sat on my engagement ring for weeks. Back then, I used to smoke cigarettes, and every time I went out for one, he snuck into our spare room, dug the ring out of its hiding place, and stared at it.
I miss my wedding rings. Stupid, swollen pregnancy fingers.
This year, I asked Odie to get us a new coffee maker. I have wanted one for so long! The one we have, he bought me about five years ago. It has a “delay brew” feature, so you can set it up ahead of time, only now the “on” button is stuck, so we have to set the “delay brew,” then change the time on the digital display on the coffee maker, tricking the damn thing into starting.
Wednesday, he asked me to pick up V from day care (usually his job), because he had to write and photocopy a quiz after school. I admit I felt a little annoyed, frankly, because dropping off is my deal and picking up is his. But we must be flexible, so I agreed. It doesn’t occur to me until I pull up in the garage with V that night that he was probably using that as a cover story for birthday shopping. Sure enough, the moment I walk in the door, Odie cannot wait to tell me that he’s been shopping. He’s bursting to tell me everything. First, he assures me that he didn’t LIE. He did have to write and photocopy a quiz, but it wasn’t the “whole truth.” Then he launches into his “pitch.” I can open my present NOW, a day early, and be able to enjoy it the MORNING OF my birthday (hint, hint, hint), or I can open it on my ACTUAL birthday, but not be able to enjoy it until the MORNING AFTER my birthday. His preference is made clear by his tone.
Because I love him, and I want to make him happy, I agree to open his gifts immediately.
He comes into the living room with two boxes the size of books. That is one small coffee maker, I think. But, alas, he has faked me out. Odie bought me a Nook Color, and a case to keep it in. Remembering the Blackberry incident, he proudly tells me he has also purchased a year of insurance, so that if I have one of my fits of clumsiness, we can replace it.
And I must tell you, I am thrilled. I have secretly coveted one of these reading tablet type devices. I even asked my sister recently if I could borrow her Kindle, just to see if I liked it. She had already loaned it out to someone else, and my disappointment was acute. I thought that, as an English teacher and all-around snob, I would NEVER want to read anything but a REAL book. Even better, a library book, where you can breathe deeply the smell of musty pages, and feel the satisfaction of paper between your fingers.
Did I mention the Nook is COLOR?
I am in love. I love it, love it, love it.
Snob or not, I am not immune to the intoxication of a new gadget. And seeing my husband so happy is an added bonus. At least, I assume he’s happy. I’m too busy staring at my Nook Color to check.