Sunday, August 24, 2008

You say it's your birthday.

It is day five of Birthannukah. It’s been a rip-roaring wild ride thus far. Though my Mr. Husband’s brain may be the size of a small planet, his people lack social situation understanding. That was not included with the giant brain bonus. It’s amazing that I can surprise this man year after year after year. I can and I do and I love it. He’s been thoroughly surprised at least twice during this year’s festivities where he was staring right at the situation and had to be told “this is for you.” To see the realization creep over his pale face in a smile from ear to ear that lights up his eyes in starbursts is the kind of stuff I live for. It’s the kind of stuff that reminds Mr. Husband that he’s the one—he’s the most amazing, wonderful, save-my-life-with-love kind of man that I want to spend the rest of my sure-to-be-very-happy days with. He puts the dashes between my words to make phrases. Celebrating each other is so important. Always.

One of the best things about Birthannukah is the food. I wake up every morning about an hour before Mr. Husband. I usually do twenty minutes of yoga and then work a bit via email before making Mr. Husband’s breakfast around 6:15 am. His breakfasts are not extravagant: English Muffins, bagels, frozen waffles, or toast. On the rare weekday occasion, I’ll make eggs. But with two people fiercely trying to hold onto their weight lest it run for the hills and grow to a disproportionate size, he prefers that I keep breakfast light. This means that I’m working with limited resources. Birthannukah food must be special at all times. Therefore, I must focus on food arrangement. Morning #1 saw English Muffins cut into heart shapes with raspberry jelly for color. Chocolate sauce complimented the gory display with the cut up pieces in a post-modern love sculpture at the top of the plate. It didn’t look exactly appetizing, but my point was made.

Mr. Husband greedily ate my hearts as he opened his first Birthannukah gift: The Official Ninja Book, Real Ultimate Power. We have a saying in our home—when in doubt, add a few ninjas for super-cool-awesomeness. It seems the author, Robert Hamburger, shares our sentiment. Funny book. Mr. Husband loves it. I followed each morning with another gory breakfast creation and a Birthannukah gift: Zen Garden and electronic screwdriver. But on Friday, I made him wait. You could taste and smell the disappointment in Mr. Husband’s voice when he heard this announcement. Nothing creates ants-in-the-pants syndrome like knowing that you have to wait all day for a gift.

Friday after work, I made up a phony story about our having to go to Micheal’s: The Arts and Crafts Store. I told him that we needed to pick up gold stuff for my mother-in-law because youngest brother Chris’s girlfriend Britton is celebrating turning 25 on the 25th of August. It’s her golden birthday. Nice. Of course, we wholly support self-created holidays, so this quest was believable for Mr. Husband. I needed his help. So we entered the store and I told Mr. Husband to try and find gold flowers in the silk flower section at the front of the store. I high-tailed it to the framing section at the back of the store.

The Framing Department counter was empty. No one there. I shouted into the back room. No answer. I panicked. I ran to a close-by aisle to find a guy stocking shelves. I explained to him my predicament and that I was crazy and anxious and please don’t ruin the surprise. He was eager to get away from me and find someone else to help me. As I waited near the framing counter, Mr. Husband walked up behind me. I turned around and acted like I was studying picture frames on the shelf next to me. I asked if he’d found any flowers. He said, “yes.” I said, “can you bring them to me?” He explains they’re in bunches and that we can go look at them. Panic. Ok. Regroup. “Can you go to the wrapping section to see if you can find gold paper or gold tissue?” I pointed to the furthest corner of the store. He sighed and walked off on his next mission. Such a good man. So very-very good.

The manager arrives and I try not to speak too fast. I explain to her that I’m here to pick up a framed print. I tell her my story about how it’s for a surprise and for my husband and she doesn’t even feign interest. She is so unresponsive to my excited need that I’m sure she cannot hear me, and I’m probably scaring her at this point. She gives me the framed print and reluctantly helps me take off the plastic bag so I can lay the framed print on the counter in plain sight. I’m sure she was rolling her eyes. As soon as the framed print is on the counter, Mr. Husband appears with a roll of gold wrapping paper in his hands. Good man.

I stand there with a silly grin on my face. Pause. I point to the framed print on the counter. Mr. Husband looks and says, “Oh, that’s cool.” No exclamation point. No glimmer of excitement. Like an observation from a uninvolved stranger on the side of the road who sees the carnival go by and knows he cannot join the parade. He stands there staring at it. I say-scream, “That’s yours!” It takes him a second. The woman behind the counter breaks a slight smile at our crazy joy. We cracked her. I cracked him. He is overwhelmed. He loves the Venture Bros. print from Adult Swim that is framed in red. Another bonus for the video game loft he'll have in the new house.
When we slide into bed that night, Mr. Husband whispers as we fall into sleep, “I really love you.” Oh, yeah. This is all totally worth it. All of it.

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