Posts Tagged ‘birthday’


Birthday Trip Angst (2 months later)

February 7, 2012

I find that while essentially between jobs, my life is dull.  My brain is dull.  I don’t have tons going on.  The girls are doing fine. David is having a more-frustrating job search, but still, that’s fine. Everything is just fine. So I’m a boring blogger.

But there are at least a few things that happened in the past few months that I never had a chance to blog about. I had every intention, but didn’t find the time, and then it felt too far away.  But I’m going to go back anyway.

Back in December, in the aftermath of the lay off news, I was seriously wrestling with whether or not to cancel a planned surprise birthday trip for David.

I’m sure he won’t mind me saying (ha!), but on December 5th, David turned 50.  (Right after I turned 39 on December 4th.)   Of course, we knew this milestone year was coming for quite some time.  I have been saying at least since I was 37 that I want a party for my 40th.  I want us to rent a space and have a BIG party.  Not hundreds big, but 50-big (and that won’t fit in our apartment).  David it’s a “have a party to celebrate ME!” kind of person, but he is a “I want to travel the world!” kind of person, so we always said, a trip for his 50th, a party for my 40th.

As the year/fall came together, I knew I couldn’t pull off the ideal trip (Europe) for his actual birthday.  Not only is it in the middle of an intense time of the school year, but it’s also the weekend before the 7th/8th grade musical at Mouse’s school.  The musical that I produce and for which he runs the lights. We couldn’t go away for much more than a weekend.

I considered doing a Europe trip around Christmas-time, but wasn’t sure I could swing it, financially.  Then the Ex swapped Christmas for Thanksgiving, so we had the girls for Christmas, and we definitely couldn’t afford 4 to Europe. Then the job got shaky, so any of hope of swinging it was dashed.

But I wanted to do something.

He’d been talking for some time about how it would be really cool to be on Martha’s Vineyard during a storm.  We are more wintry weather people than summer weather people, and I thought this could be something that would be a good get-away without breaking the bank.  I checked in with my co-producer back in September, got the okay to disappear for the final weekend of the show, and started making quiet plans.

I checked out the ferry (I wanted to take our car over – the last and only time we’d been to the Vineyard, we went for the day, without the car, and I didn’t think it worked to be there without a car), I checked out off-season hotels.  Prices were great ($100/night, instead of $400/night during peak).  I did enough research to know that we wouldn’t be without any amenities in the winter.  Getting the kids taken care of was tougher – I had talked to my mom, and while she wanted to come and help, she was a little stuck because she was taking time off to come see Mouse’s play the very next weekend.  And my plans REQUIRED us to be gone into Monday, because his birthday was Monday.  If we came home on Sunday – my birthday – then it would feel like I got the trip for his 50th birthday.  Probably weird, but the truth.  It was fine, though, because I instantly had 3 friends raising hands and offering to take the girls.  (As it turns out, my co-producer not only shouldered the play for the weekend, but she also took Mouse in!)

I had fun thinking about how I would surprise him.  Would I tell him the night before “I have plans for us tomorrow, we’re getting up early – no questions asked.”  If anyone did that to me, I’d be pissed, and would never sleep the night before.  I HATE surprises.  But he’s not me.  He loves surprises.  And how would I get him to have his stuff?  I could pack him a bag, but again, if anyone did that for me, I’d be pissed (and my laundry wouldn’t be done, so they wouldn’t be able to get my favorite clothes, and it would suck).  I could tell him we’re going away for the weekend, and not tell him where, but that would be less fun.

In the end, I got laid off, instead.  We were facing a huge unknown about whether we’d end up with no income at the end of February, or if I’d end up taking a 75% pay cut, or what was going to happen.  The trip felt . . . wrong.  But I also couldn’t let go of it.  I couldn’t think of a single thing that I could do for his 50th that wouldn’t (a) suck, or (b) rival the cost of the weekend.  And I got kind of upset about it.

Because of our situation, I felt that I couldn’t just up & go with the plan without involving David in the financial decision-making.  And at some point in the lay off aftermath, I came clean with my plans.  He liked the idea, but didn’t think we could afford it, and that it wouldn’t be wise.

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, we started some Christmas shopping for the girlios.  We had a fun day out on Small Business Saturday, and ended up at one of our favorite restaurants in town.  The gift-buying had me thinking about and stressing about his birthday.  I’d ask him what he wanted, and he’d say something like, “Oh, I’d really like a striped hat.”  Or, “I do need a new winter coat.” And I was so frustrated.  It was his 50th.  It was a big deal.  He wasn’t getting a fucking hat.

By the time we were at the restaurant, I was all worked up.  I brought up the weekend again.  He again pushed back.  And then, really not in Suzie-style, I started to cry.  In the restaurant.  I just cried and cried.  His eyes bugged out of his head, and we started to talk about a one-night trip, instead.  The ferry and the hotel together would cost about the same as a nice dinner out in Boston – we can swing that.  No problem.  My mom had even offered to give us a night at the Inn as David’s birthday present, so we could do it.  And we’ll both get jobs, and we do have savings, and okay okay okay.

So we pulled the trigger on a Sunday – Monday trip.  It didn’t take long after that for us to say “oh what the hell” and put Saturday night back into the equation.

[Then, after making the decision, I got an unexpected $500 profit sharing sort of payment thing from my firm, and it definitely helped make this more reasonable.]

And I guess I’ll have to blog about the actual trip in a separate post, since this is already a novel.  Preview:  It Was Awesome.


Happy Birthday to Her

September 25, 2011

Lemon is (finally) 15 today.

I have this annoying, inherited habit, wherein I start to call my children the age that they are GOING to be, starting around their 1/2 birthday mark.  So, in my mind, Lemon has been 15 since March.  Makes for rather anticlimactic birthdays.

Our plans for the day are pretty low-key.  She’s in bed now (duh, it’s not 11 yet). Then she wants to “hang out with friends.”  We will have her chosen meal at dinner, her chosen cake afterward.  We will bestow gifts upon her.  But the gifts, too, are anticlimactic.

I bought her tickets to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  But the tickets are for a show in January.  Why so very far away? Someone may ask.  Because that is when Darren Criss will be standing in for Daniel Radcliffe.  She is a huge fan of Criss’s work on A Very Potter Musical. (Only available on You Tube, and therefore very annoying to watch.  She’s made me watch it.  Or, rather, the first act.  She hasn’t been able to twist my arm through the second act.  While I find the show clever and fun, it really doesn’t come close to my still-favorite Harry Potter You Tube Spin Off.  Yes, I’ve linked to it before, and I promise you, I will again.)

His work on Glee, however, has brought ME into the Darren Criss fan club.  (It makes me very sad that I cannot find a link for his version of Pink’s Raise Your Glass, because it’s my real favorite.  “Baby it’s Cold Outside” is a very close second.)  Also – his theater work and career trajectory is a fun one for my very theater and performance-interested child to admire.

We will likely see at least one other show while there.  But these tickets are (symbolically) her birthday present.

Writer Dude is working toward another of her latest obsessions – photography.  She is saving up for a digital SLR camera, and is looking to spend more time taking photos.  She took photography in her freshman year, and is taking Photo II this year in the spring.  She’s really enjoying it, and really wants to do more with it (although crew and its intense time commitments YEAR ROUND have made it tough).

She’s already gathered up a few hundred dollars toward her camera.  He found her a few books/manuals to contribute, and will add a little money to her pot.  My mother is also going to give her some more $$.  So is the Ex.  But I still don’t think it’s enough.  If she can be patient, though, she’ll have enough after Christmas gifts roll in.

Mouse is going to find something TODAY to add to the pile of gifts (or, rather, cards).  She wants to find something Harry Potter related.  Dunno what, though.

And – that’s the birthday.  I think some of the friends she wants to hang out with have little gifts & trinkets for her, but it’s not a “party.”  Maybe they’re too old for that?  I am not really sure.  I know both my girls go to less birthday parties, and the “birthday parties” have been changing dramatically.

I just hope she feels special all day.  Because she really, really is.

a week old

A week old (and even though I looked 12, I was 23)

3 month old Lemon

a favorite photo ... One year old

3 years old.

8 or 9 years old

First Day of Sophomore Year


And now, 15 years old.


Happy birthday, sweetie – love you lots & lots.


Birthday Party Success (ish)

June 22, 2011

I will be selfish for a moment:  Hurray!  Mouse’s birthday went great!  She had the “BEST DAY EVER!!!!” at Six Flags New England, and I cannot imagine how I could have created more smiles in one day.

Not being selfish — I don’t think each and every girl had the best day ever.  It’s possible that it was 5 out of 6 who did – maybe 4 out of 6.  I guess it is possible that all 6 did, but if so, that straggler has a funny way of showing it.

I stress about dynamics incessantly (proof here).  I am a perceptive person – I catch the raised eyebrows across the table, despite a high level of chaos.  I can see a downward glance, showing unhappiness.  I’m watching these sorts of things all the time, and learn a lot about people’s relationships.   But there’s nothing you can do with it –

“Mouse, your friend S spent a lot of time kind of bouncing up and down trying to get in between you and your friend J. I think she felt left out.”

I chose not to say that.  First, the girls were doing nothing wrong.  There were girls with higher energy, and those with the lower energy were attempting to keep up, or not trying to keep up and hanging back.  Second, it was Mouse’s birthday.  I’ve seen her before, at her birthday parties, pull herself from the fun in the center to take care of her friends (truly friends) on the fringes.  Every fiber of her being wants to be with those whose energy matches hers in a group, but she doesn’t want to have the others feeling neglected.  That’s a lot of work for a kid at her own party.  And I chose not to say anything to her, not to make her do that work.

Every single girl – all 6 – told their moms they had the best day ever. It was great – so much fun.  I will choose to believe them.



14 Years Old – To Party or Not to Party?

September 18, 2010

[I am writing this post with absolute resolve not to whine about work even one time.  Let’s see if I can do it.]

Lemon is turning 14 one week from today.

This past Thursday was a pretty busy day for me.  For reasons that I shall not mention.  But still, at 3 p.m.-ish, I texted Lemon to say “Today was yr due date!” [Note how while I did type “yr” instead of “your,” I am still not a child because I did not type “wuz” instead of “was.”]

Every year, since 1996, September 16th stands out in my mind.  I looked forward to that day for 9 months!  And then I spent 9 days afterward, wondering where my baby was.

Lemon told me later that she was hanging out with a handful of friends when the text came, and she was slightly freaked out – momentarily – thinking she missed some kind of deadline.  “My due date for what?  What was I supposed to finish?” Then it dawned on her, and she laughed, and her friends asked what was up, and they all proclaimed me weird.  (Not for the first time.)

Last night, WD was showing me some birthday gifts he procured for the Lemon-head.  Notwithstanding the above paragraph, I said to him, “how can you wait that long to give it to her?  Aren’t you so excited that you want to give it to her NOW?” He said, “no, Suzie, I can wait.”

It wasn’t until this mroning that I realized that when I asked the question, I was thinking the birthday was weeks in the future.

Not one week.

Of course he can wait one week.

And I can see what I can do about some kind of birthday gift during that one week that I have left …

And then there’s the “party” situation.

For reasons that we shall not discuss during this post [see first statement, above], we will not be having her party on her birthday weekend.  Nor will we be having it on the weekend of October 1st and 2nd.  Perhaps we will have her party during Columbus Day weekend.  Maybe.

But what will her party be?  I thought “oh, I can send you and your friends out to a fun/nice dinner and a movie.”  She thought, “oh, we can rent/borrow a cabin and spend the weekend.”

Where would she get such an outlandish idea?

Oh, because that’s waht we did last year.  Oops.  Silly me and the setting of a bad precedent.

This year, she wants even more peoplei nvolved.  I made her do the research on the cost of renting a car to fit that many people ($300), and she gave it up.

So what’s her next alternative?

“A zipline!”

[$90/person, and still need a large car.]

“oh, that’s too expensive.  How about a high ropes course?”]

[$100/person, and still need a large car.]


Dinner?  What about dinner?  And some streamers?  And a cake?

Or – what about “you’re old enough now to give up the birthday party.”

How normal is it for birthday parties to continue into the teens?  I mean – other than those who still throw “sweet sixteen” parties?

I thought I was done with this.

I want to be done.