Grrrrreetings my Aspierations Friends!
Today my husband John at Life and Times of John Krejcha celebrated his 42nd birthday! (I'll admit it. I robbed the cradle! A whole 9 months!) I doubt that qualifies me for Cougar status but just in case it does, I have my photos ready!
I wanted to make John's birthday extra-special for him. Birthdays for John bring mixed emotions each year and if you happened to read his blog from last night, "My Gift to Myself", it was filled with courageous sharing, raw emotion and the expressions of a man whose challenges in childhood have helped strengthen him as a father to our sons.
Today, I wanted there to be fun, laughter, kindness, relaxation, good food, recognition, love, happiness and all that good stuff. I'll admit, the day certainly had some twists that were unanticipated but in our family, to quote an overused line from CBS's "Big Brother", we have learned to EXPECT the UNEXPECTED! Still, sometimes, you have to just say, give me a break here!! Not today!
Okay, so this morning was Ryan's last day at Camp Kiddo. He has had a wonderful experience this summer mixing with neurotypical kids from 4 - 12. He made some awesome crafts, practiced karate, tried out fencing, became a champ at Candyland, touched us with his artistic expression in acting and had the unique opportunity to get playdough, whipped cream, tan bark, paint and a wide variety of food items stuck in his hair and affixed to his clothing throughout the summer.
I wanted to let John sleep in and I also wanted to do a little morning surprise for him so I said I was driving Ryan to Camp Kiddo this morning. First obstacle... John also wanted to come. Understood... John wanted to be part of Ryan's last day at camp too. I told him that was cool and if he didn't mind after we dropped Ryan off, I would need to stick a bag over his head for a few minutes while I took care of a special errand. Strangely, he did not find that so appealing. Conversely, if I had said a blindfold... well, never mind.
So we agreed that John could get Ryan ready, I would drive Ry to camp in the morning and then we would both pick him up in the afternoon. That worked for John, so I was off and running. (Well, technically, I was driving but I think you probably figured that out already!)
After dropping Ryan off at 8:45 a.m., it was off to Party City to pick up some fun birthday balloons. I was a bit concerned that they were going to open at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. but luck was on my side and by 9:18 a.m. I was out the door, with my good morning surprise. Well almost out the door. Me carrying helium balloons and trying to walk in a straight line without bumping into anything is great physical comedy. I'm coordinated and yet so very uncoordinated, let alone being savvy enough to pull the balloons DOWN enough so they wouldn't get caught in the door when I exited. Well at least I provided one Party City worker with some giggles. I hope she didn't see me trying to get the balloons into the Odyssey!
I was home at 9:35 a.m. Thankfully getting the balloons OUT of the vehicle was much easier than getting them in. I went in the house, bounded up the stairs and happily presented my husband with his surprise balloon bouquet. (Although in retrospect, I suppose the mylar balloons bouncing and rubbing up against each other as I headed upstairs might have given something away.)
It did put a genuine smile on his face (John likes balloons) and I was so happy to start the day out on a positive note. Justin wasn't up yet but he soon got up afterwards and worked at his computer while I did the receipts for the day, sent off some quick emails and power worked so that John would have to do as little work as possible other than packing our packages.
By 12:30 p.m. we left the house to drop Justin off at a friend's house for a few hours, make a quick trip to the postal annex to drop off our USPS packages (UPS picks up at our home) and then head into Portland to visit our new serenity escape in the Northwest, Portland Tub and Tan. (I'll admit, that name doesn't sound quite as sensual or romantic as Palo Alto's Watercourse Way so in my head, I will edit to something more appealing.... Showers of Serenity, Tubs of Tranquility, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head while I'm in the hot tub... Something will come to me!)
Unfortunately PT & T doesn't take reservations, a big minus. The first time we were there it was early afternoon and no-one was around so we got our #1 room choice easily. This time, we wanted that room again but when we arrived around 1 p.m., we were told that it was already being used but that the room would be ready in about 20 - 30 minutes. BUMMER! We were planning a 90 minute hot tub / shower / waterfall / etc experience but knew we'd have to be back in Vancouver to pick up Justin around 3:30 p.m. and then Ryan at 4:15. If the room was ready in 30 minutes, things would still be copasetic and so we left to go grab a quick bite of lunch. I said it was my husband's birthday and asked if they could hold the room for us if we were back in about 20 minutes and the gal at the front agreed.
This is the room we thought we were getting!
So it was off to find John a Whopper at Burger King. He had a craving for one, he had put it on his birthday list (I kid you not) and as long as I didn't have to run into that annoying awful Burger King in the flesh (you know, the one in the extremely irritating commercials), I was cool. Well, we got a little bit lost but thanks to Mrs. GPS lady, we found one nearby, went through the drive-through, got our burgers (mine plain of course) and headed back to what we hoped would be 90 minutes of bliss!
When we got back, we entered in eager anticipation but were told that the couple in Room 16 (OUR ROOM, darn it!), had called to extend their stay for a half hour. Jinkies & ZOINKS rolled up into one! This was not a welcome development because we didn't have an extra 30 minutes to wait given our time table.
Fortunately, John was a real sweetheart and was flexible about taking another room instead. Hey, it's his birthday, why not try out something fresh and new for his special day? So we were lead back to outdoor air Room #5.
Room 16 was an indoor room with fun lights (disco-esque but you didn't need to be wearing satin to enter). Room # 5 had more of a Zen / Asian Persuasion type of feel. It had an indoor room for showering and relaxing and about 115 music stations you could tune to and an enclosed outdoor patio with high walls, hot tub, mist bar, adjustable rain shower above (in one temperature... Invigoratingly Chilly!). There was also an outdoor fireplace, lights for if it were at night, a rock waterfall and a big plasma TV (Could you imagine if it you were at a place like this and your guy turned it to sports or FOX news? HELLO! Fortunately, I have a man much wiser than this!)
Confucius say if you a man with birthday in sensual and relaxing hot tub, you get much more fun watching your woman than ESPN. -- Just saying!
I've included a couple pictures below of the room but they don't do it justice. At first I was a little concerned about being outside and wondering what the noise factor next door would be but we had the area to ourselves and it turned out to be a lot of fun. Our time was up way too quickly! There was a power outtage too so when our music went off, we thought it was time to exit so we probably missed out on about 10 extra minutes which would have been fun to get back. I think John had fun though and I would love coming back to a room like that at night during a cool Fall or Winter evening.
After we left, it was time to pick up Justin. He had a fun time with his friend and we headed home so that John and I could quickly change before picking up Ryan. There was some continued apprehension from Justin about not being able to find anything he liked at Outback Steakhouse (see John's blog from yesterday) but I tried to prepare for this obstacle by bringing a bag of Cheez-Its in the car and a book and promising him if there was nothing he liked, I'd fix him something afterwards.
Giving some lovin' to Ms. Emily!
And some loving for Ms. Tracy too!
But the BIGGEST LOVING is for DADDY!!!
Seeing Ryan at his last day of Camp Kiddo was happy and sad. We had seen skill growth over the summer in his interaction with peers and adults. I would definitely give him the opportunity to take part in their program again. Ryan gave a good-bye hug to Ms. Emily and Ms. Tracy and then we were off to Outback Steakhouse.
It was not the smoothest car ride but in the end, both boys came through for their Dad and we had an enjoyable meal at Outback. Given all the obstacles and the amount of waiting time, things could have run a little better but overall, it was a success. I try to diffuse obstacles sometimes by distracting with humor or getting the kids to talk about their special interests or something we as a family enjoy together and I think this helped pass the waiting time between ordering, courses being served, the final check and the surprise birthday dessert I ordered for John not knowing everyone would be too stuffed to eat it. Well as you can see below, I found a little room for some bonus bites! Didn't want it to go to waste when it could be going to my waist, hips and derriere!
So NOT wanting his picture taken here! Okay, John, I'll skip the rest of the pictures 'til dessert!
The man of the hour!
I'm so happy this is calorie free!
We got back home and John seemed sad in the car. I knew partially why. I knew he didn't want to talk right then so I let him have his space. I wished I could take his sadness away and turn that frown upside down so I told myself I would try as hard as I could to make the rest of the evening special.
We relaxed a bit while Justin finished up on a special gift for Dad and then John and I went downstairs so that he could watch me bake his special favorite angel food cake for him. I am such a goddess in the kitchen, I tell you! If I didn't own Count Your Beans and have greater Aspierations, being chef in my own restaurant would be my next choice. (Kidding! Anyone who knows my domestic talents knows that would truly be Hell's Kitchen!)
Still, I do bake one awesome superdillyocious cake! Check it out for yourself!
After putting a genuine smile on John's face and making him laugh with my goofiness, it was time for opening presents.
Times have been rough for us recently but sometimes you just have to treat someone you love to something that they really want. I had been saving up birthday money and mad money here and there for awhile not sure what I was going to use it for but right before we left for California, John and Justin went into Best Buy to get a charger for the road and they came across the Apple iPAD. Oh my goodness, it was love at first sight for John. His eyes gleamed. I think I saw drool coming out of the side of his mouth. I was wondering whether I'd have to get a room for the two of them.
Honestly, I thought he might have eaten some of the forbidden fruit and been possessed. Then I played around with the thing for a few minutes and well, I loved it too. (Techy gal and all, what do you expect? My first computer was an Apple II+.)
Still, I didn't think it was something I could afford at the time to give him but I thought maybe, maybe, I could swing it by Christmas. Then we got to California and my Dad... my 80 year old DAD, a man who was never going to get anything other than a word processor (that's a very funny story) had his own iPad given to him as a gift from a family friend. The boys in my family had iPad envy the whole time we were there.
So anyway, I decided back then that no matter what, I'd find a way to swing it for John's birthday. I knew he'd say it was too much but sometimes you just have to treat someone special to something they really want! Trying to get John to tell me what he wants as a gift has never been easy. This time... he deserved a bit of spoiling! Of course I had to make the whole thing fun so I made it into a mystery puzzle he had to figure out.
Why, a gift within a gift? What could this be?
Where's Scooby Doo and the Gang when I need them?
Does it spell P-A-I-D ???
Gosh... I think it's kind of rude for Karen to call me A DIP
I get it!!! I - P - A - D!!! iPad!!!
I think he's secretly happy with his gift. (If not now, then I know once he locks eyes with sweet Apple iPad again, their relationship will rekindle... and alas, I might be banished to the guest bedroom!)
It's always okay to HUG A HIPPO!
After gift opening and the tradition of singing happy birthday over the cake, we got comfy on the couch and watched the fun birthday video that Justin created for his Dad. It incorporated family pictures, hippos, Survivor music and theme song clips, the color green and a heartfelt message from Justin. It was awesome.
John then went upstairs to work on his blog. I tried to do some quick catching up on work (not in the cards), then decided to start my blog as well.
To end the blog, I wanted to include an extension to what I briefly blogged about yesterday. A few days ago, John got a birthday card from Cascade Dental, the dentists who recently gave him root canals, scraped his gums, pulled a tooth and then bit us in the wallet. I had remarked along the lines that nothing says "Happy Birthday" like being reminded of tooth pain and financial strain and had talked about doing a list of places just for fun of OTHER vendors that need not send my husband a birthday greeting this year.
It was a fun little game John and I thought we'd play in our heads and then each post on our respective blogs just for kicks. Although many of these relate to John specifically, many can be generalized to perhaps fit your lives as well.
So without further ado and without peeking at John's list (I think he's going to do a countdown instead), here are a few places I think that John could do without remembering his special day.
In no particular order:
1. Cascade Dental -- or your local dentist -- Yeah, I know they were trying to be nice but OUCH! It was a tough teeth year for John.
2. Your local proctologist. -- It's bad enough you're almost in your birthday suit but if John got a card from a proctologist, I can't help he'd be thinking, "Up Yours! No ifs, ands or BUTTS!"
3. Bruno's Brazilian Waxing for Men -- Uh, no, this isn't a real place... If it were, would you want a card?
4. Homeland Security's Anthrax Division -- Did you open that card already? Sorry!
5. Any of the people that John decided not to vote for. -- He'd just get annoyed.
6. Scrappy Doo -- Did ANYONE like it when he was added as a character to Scooby Doo? I think not! Bonehead move.
7. That crazy ex-girlfriend in the Navy who put tacks on your chair and went around claiming you got her pregnant when it was impossible. -- I think we could do without Christmas greetings from her as well.
8. The guys in Nigeria who will send you a great birthday gift. -- All you need to do is send your Social Security #, bank account #, wife and first-born.
9. AARP - Guess they had a Senior Moment! He's not quite there yet!
10., 11 and 12. - Those 3 cops in Montana, Idaho and Iowa --- Last summer's road trip introduced us to three police officers and three speeding tickets. A birthday card would be just rubbing salt in the wound.
13. & 14. - Those IRS auditors in both San Jose, CA and Vancouver, WA. --- If it includes a refund, we're all for it. If not.... no thank you!
15. Cornerstone Mortgage and our San Jose Real Estate Agent -- I won't go there..... Let's just say that John would not want a card from either.
16. A psychotic serial killer (no, I'm not talking about the government recalling Froot Loops) such as almost any we've recently seen in episodes of Criminal Minds. -- If you're on the BFF list with one of these, it's time to get yourself out of dodge, sweetheart!
17. Those restaurants that gave John food poisoning. -- Umm, no, we won't be accepting your free birthday dinner coupons.
and finally, since John loves the # 18 -- and we celebrated our 18th Anniversary on July 18th of this year...
18. Fred's Funeral Parlor and Plots -- Just checking in to say Happy Birthday and let you know you're one year closer to doing business with us!
Hey John, I hope you had a wonderful birthday! I look forward to celebrating many more with you! I'm very lucky to have you in my life! I promise when you open my card, it will be one you'll want to keep! Let Your Light Shine, Johnny! I love you!
Now we're BOTH 42! :-)
Here's to a great weekend, my Aspierations Friends!
Let your Lights Shine! :-)