They say that with every year you not only get older, you get wiser. Little did I know that one derives a lot of wisdom on the actual day of her birthday and not just over the twelve months that follow.
Let me preface my birthday tales with this: I don't fear aging. Maybe I'm too young to fear it, or maybe I'm too intrigued by the later years to be hesitant about their arrival. Either way, the actual act of turning another year older doesn't make me itch - it's the expectations surrounding a birthday that make me want to claw my skin off. It feels almost reminiscent of New Years Eve. Everyone wants to know what you're doing to celebrate the big day, and if you have somewhat ordinary plans you receive that knowing head tilt and "ohhh" that reeks of pity. It's clear that those who are judging your plans (or lack thereof), believe that you're not wanting to celebrate because you're in denial about turning yet another year older.
Let me tell you something; just because I didn't actively make plans, doesn't mean the plans didn't seek me out. There were definitely some surprises...
With my birthday falling on a weekday, of course I went to the office. I was surprised to find that some coworkers had beautifully decorated my workspace for the occassion and my boss brought in an array of cheesecake flavours to choose from (the super awesome part about this is that they didn't even know that cheesecake is my favourite, but it was chosen because they know that I'm weird with food and textures/texture combination's, so they felt cheesecake would be the safest bet. Good choice ladies!). Also, another coworker outside of our department brought in some celebratory timbits to keep it on the "safe side" after learning of my weird food things (maybe I should do a post on the weird food fixations I have???).
An entirely different group of coworkers serenaded me with the "Happy Birthday" song in our building's cafeteria and presented me with a birthday breakfast muffin which included a homemade candle in the middle (made of a yellow post-it, and red pen to symbolize the open flame we're not allowed to have in the office building).
What I learned from surprise #1:
Sometimes the people you work with are more than just the people you work with. The unexpected celebration of me by my friends from work was probably the most heartwarming part of my whole day. Normally, one does not put that kind of expectation on her coworkers, so it truly was a wonderful surprise.
The Husband picked me up from work since I didn't want to spend my birthday getting sweaty from a walk or a bike ride to-from work (aka: it's my birthday and I'll whine about physical activity if I want to!). We get home to discover that after having started the process of switching Toby's foods, his digestive tract had turned a little rebellious. As soon as I walked in the door, I could smell something was amiss. As soon as the Husband could see that Toby was in his cage facing the "wrong way", he knew something was amiss. As soon as we both got to the kitchen and saw the dog poop EVERYWHERE, it was pretty evident something was most definitely amiss. My Darling Husband thought Toby just had the runs and couldn't hold it any longer, however, I knew better. The patterns of poop splatter told me that Toby had, without a doubt, sharted.
The multi-directional splatter indicated that Toby was facing his regular way and farted, but when he felt something come shooting out of his back end like water through a hose, he turned around in a panic as if to say "What the hell was that?!". That's when it either happened again to a much smaller-scale, or it was an ongoing shart and his turning around was merely providing a sprinkler effect. (Why do so many of my blog posts contain poop talk?!) We had poop splatter all over the floor, all over the wall, all over his cage, and worst yet, all over Toby.
Do you have any idea what it's like bathing a 115lb dog (or small horse) who is terrified of the hose? My greater concern was no longer getting a little sweaty on my birthday.
What I learned from Surprise #2:
1. Having a sick dog is very much like having a sick baby who's the size of, has the same attitude as and produces the same amount of poop as a 13 or 14 year old.
2. I missed my calling as a crime scene investigator. No one can read poop splatter quite like I can.
UPDATE: I failed to mention that I also learned I'm a TERRIBLE mother as I could not help but laugh hysterically when the Husband and I watched from the window as our poor dog was suffering from constipation and would assume "the pose" with no effect. Again, picture a giant dog, back arched, butt facing down, and tail over 2 ft long jetting straight out as he looks around waiting for something to happen. When he had no success he'd walk forward two feet and try again. It looked so goofy and I think if I didn't laugh at the situation I'd cry.
The progression of social media tools has changed the rules of social etiquette (an argument that has no-doubt been overdone by countless people over the short but eventful lifespan of Facebook, Twitter, etc). While on the one hand you receive countless messages of well-wishing from people you haven't spoken to or seen (in-person) for years, those who may carry the social expectation to call you or see you determine that sending you an electronic message along with the masses meets their obligation. Is this an issue of circumstance? Convenience? Does it reflect a subtle change in the direction of your relationship with that person - the equivalent of a demotion in relationship status? Or does it basically all even out in the wash and one should just be happy she got anything?
What I learned from Surprise #3:
1. The "me me me" mentality of a birthday can cause one to become slightly hypocritical. On one hand I complained about the inflated expectations surrounding the celebration of a birthday, and when I felt that what celebration did take place wasn't quite enough I considered it as a reflection of my existential status.
2. As a result of point #1, I need drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.
I guess now I know what to ask for for Christmas :)