Sunday, October 26, 2008

Living at Level Orange.

We are back from Florida, and Mr. Husband is now in LA at the PDC convention. He’s totally geeking out. I am here single-momming it with the two cats and many friends who always come around in droves to make sure I’m ok while not in the special care of Mr. Husband. I believe that all my friends imagine me to be half-retarded and unable to take care of myself without Mr. Husband. They might be half right.

I’m still unwinding from Florida and our surprise trip for my older brother’s fortieth birthday. He’s old. Older than dirt, they say. I doubt it, but with my great youth—I’m no expert on dirt and its age. Mr. Husband and I saw the beach for the first time together for about twenty minutes in Vero Beach on Saturday morning. We are mountain people, not like hill people, but we prefer hiking and the woods to the beach. We drank up those awesome twenty minutes through a straw and will continue to digest the sand-in-toes-and-sand-on-ankles good brief moment we had.

Fortieth birthdays in my family are big affairs. My dad had a surprise 40th birthday party in the 80s with a belly dancer and plus-size stripper. I remember seeing the photos from the no-kids-allowed-party. Dad later surprised mom at Inverness Country Club in Toledo for her surprise fortieth birthday party. There’s something about birthday and surprise that is part of my very being. Mr. Husband has eagerly taken to the tradition and we can look forward to many more surprises in our future together.

While in Florida, Mr. Husband played video games with Mr. Twin Brother and I sat and bugged my mom when not watching Lifetime. On Friday, mom and dad woke me up at seven in the morning to decorate older brother’s birthday cake. Ugh. They said we were going to do it together, but the decorating fell on my shoulders with mom and dad telling me what to do next. Dad baked the cake and mom iced it for me. It would have been nice to get some warning and perhaps bathe before the cake decorating, but there is never enough time in our family. We are always rushing to meet some deadline. Mr. Husband slept through most of the making-the-icing and preparing-the-cake. He came and joined us in the kitchen to laugh and eat Pringles. My mom loves to feed Mr. Husband and always has his favorite foods on hand.

For the trip down to Vero Beach, where older brother and sister-in-law live, Mr. Husband got to drive with Mr. Twin Brother while I was stuck in the minivan with mom and dad and the cake. Every five minutes, we had to check the cake. Mom is a crazy driver—gas, brake, gas, brake, gas, gas, brake. Her tires squeal when she takes turns. Dad sits in the passenger seat and tells mom what to do. Constantly. Dad likes to put everyone into panic mode. They were absolutely certain that the cake was going to fall and the party was going to be ruined and then we’d all die in flames or something. Something bad is always about to happen to my parents. They live like that—on the edge at all times. My parents have a very good life and bad things rarely happen to them. However, they are always bracing themselves for immediate disaster. They are level orange at all times and always veering on red.

Mr. Husband totally got the good end of that driving to Vero Beach deal. Mr. Husband and Mr. Twin Brother are very close. They are buddies. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is one of those things that I count as a blessing. Mr. Husband actually likes everyone in my family. He understands their quirks and takes part in the end-of-the-world-at-any-second mythology to which my parents subscribe. They got a package deal. Mr. Husband takes it all in stride.

In the end, older brother was totally surprised—he couldn’t take his hands out of his pockets when he walked in the door of the country club. He didn’t know what to do. Sister-in-law was the best wife in the world that night for pulling off such an amazing party. The cake survived much to the incredible surprise of my parents who imagined the cake as a pile of goo after the first ten miles from The Villages to Vero Beach. And Mr. Husband and I got another weekend of close family sharing, laughing, and drinking really, really good wine.

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