Tag Archives: gifts

All I want for my birthday

Thanks to some terrific neighbors and my sweet kids,
my birthday was not a total wash.
Not that I care or anything . . . really.

My husband totally forgot it was my birthday this year. But you know, I’m so easy going, it really didn’t bother me in the slightest. As long as everyone else is happy, I’m completely content. I wouldn’t even think of putting anyone out for my silly old birthday. I wrote about my selflessness a couple years ago, and thought my forgotten 46th birthday was the perfect occasion to repost an updated version. Not that I’m upset or anything. Really.

It’s my birthday today. I really don’t want anything. Really.

I just want to relax.  That’s all. Maybe a little sunshine. But that’s it. I just want to sit out on my patio in the sun and relax.

Sure, I might want a cocktail while I sit out there. Nothing fancy. Maybe a beer. Maybe a wine spritzer.  No big deal. Ooo, or maybe some sangria, but not that yucky mix or the fake ones that people make with 7-Up and bad wine. One of the real ones that has been soaking in fruit all day long. Yea, that would be good.

But I do like frozen drinks when it’s sunny too. Like a strawberry daiquiri or a frozen margarita. Oh, I know what would be good – a Lemon Drop with real squeezed lemon or a Mojito with the fresh mint and crushed limes. I love those things. Or maybe one of those Pink Lemonades made out of cold Limón cello and cranberry juice. Oo, now that’s the ticket.

But I wouldn’t want to be pathetic sitting out there in the sun all by myself, so maybe it would be good if a friend sat with me. I wouldn’t want to put anyone out or make them feel obligated. Just a good friend who isn’t just trying to get the check in the box. Someone who really appreciates me and likes to listen to my stories. That’s all. And of course it would be good if she brought the drinks so I wouldn’t have to make them myself.

Actually, it would be neat if other friends got word it was my birthday and were like, “It’s Lisa’s birthday! She’s so funny and cool, we need to go celebrate with her!” Not the friends that think, “Oh crap, it’s Lisa’s birthday . . . I’ll just run over and regift that candle I got for Mother’s Day.”

Just a few sincere friends on the patio with drinks, that’s all. Although, it would be nice if they all chipped in without me knowing and bought me something special. Nothing expensive, just something really meaningful that they all knew I would appreciate. That would be awesome.

But seriously, I really don’t want anything. However, I hope I don’t have to cook tonight. It would be great if my husband just picked up some take out so the kids get fed. I really don’t care what it is. Just something light to go with the cocktails. A big Greek salad would taste good. Maybe with a bit of crumbled feta.  Tzatziki with fresh dill and some kalmata olives would be fantastic. Oo, and some of that really soft flat bread warmed up on the grill to give it that smoky taste. I know what would be tasty — marinated grilled chicken breasts, thinly sliced. That would go great with the Pink Lemonades.

I don’t even need a cake today. But if a friend brings a little cupcake with a candle in it, I’ll be totally appreciative. I’d even be happy if the kids cooked a pan of brownies. They would like that. Personally, like them nice a gooey, and they taste so good when they are warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Drizzle some Baileys on top with a few dark chocolate curls and that’s a real dessert.

Seriously though, as long as the kids get fed tonight, I’ll be happy. I just hope they clean the kitchen when they’re done. I’m so sick of cleaning. Just the basics – put the dishes in the dishwasher and wipe the crumbs up. It’s not that hard. It would only take a few minutes. Wouldn’t it be outstanding, though, if my husband secretly hired a cleaning person to clean the whole house? It would be unbelievable if I came up from my birthday cocktail party/Greek dinner and found a sparkling clean house.

I really don’t need anything from the kids. Maybe just a card. Just one that they made themselves, and took the time to write something touching inside with cute handwriting. One that they hid under their bed every night and worked on while I was cooking dinner. One that will bring a little tear to my eye. That would be nice.

But no gifts. Other than little things they made in art class. Like a little beaded bracelet or a key chain. Or maybe they snuck away with their father a while ago and went shopping for me. I’ll bet they all picked out something together, something I would have never thought to ask for because I never demand anything. Like some piece of jewelry that is stylish but meaningful or symbolic in some way. Or maybe an iPad. Or a Mediterranean cruise.

But any old thing will do, really. Like I said, I don’t really want anything. I just want to relax.

I better go plug in the video camera. It would really stink if all my friends came with the cocktails and surprise gift for the Greek dinner and no one had a camera to catch me on tape when I cry over the kids’ homemade cards and the necklace, and when I open the new iPad and the cruise tickets.

Just in case. You never know.

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Bucketful of Love

My 5th grader’s Harriet Tubman Project is due this week. The car is encrusted in salt and grime and needs new wiper blades. The dog ate an entire jumbo rawhide bone in 20 minutes, and now has a bad case of the runs. Two days ago, I sprouted a cold sore.

And tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.

Every year, it’s the same thing. We’re engrossed in the hectic pace of normal family life. We’re paying bills, deciphering homework assignments, cheating on diets, reprimanding teenagers, grocery shopping, car pooling, and shoveling snow.

When February 14th rolls around, you can almost hear a collective exclamation — “Oh crap, it’s Valentines Day!” And we rush around to get the proverbial check in the box.

Mustering fresh romance after 17 years of marriage can be tough. Even if we manage to pop open a bottle of bubbly and exchange the obligatory cards with meaningful sentiments (scribbled in the car outside the 7-Eleven,) we still have to fight back the urge to yawn once the clock strikes nine.

It all seems so contrived. As if some corporate conglomerates who market greeting cards and heart-shaped balloons conspired to add more tasks to our daily “To Do” lists, all in the name of Valentine’s Day profits.

A few years ago, I was complaining to a friend of mine about Valentine’s Day messing up my schedule, when she told me about her tradition with her husband. They forgo the convenience store cards, and skip giving nick-nacky gifts like picture frames, teddy bears and Whitman’s Samplers.

She never cooks a nice dinner. He never buys flowers.

Instead, they get out the Hanky Panky Party Pail.

Nothing more than a cheap purple plastic sand bucket, they unceremoniously throw in a few items relating to “hanky panky” – an adult beverage, lingere, anything that will facilitate a Valentine’s Day romp in the hay.

At first I thought, “Well, that’s just disgusting. No hearts? No candles? No flowers? What kind of marriage is that?” But I soon realized that there are really only two reasons our husbands buy us cards, flowers and chocolates on Valentines Day: 1. So we won’t get mad at them, and 2. On the off chance they will get lucky.

And the only reason wives cook and buy cards and ties for our husbands is so that we can say we gave them something, even though we know it’s not what they really want.

So why rush into our salt-encrusted cars to buy silly pre-printed cards and new ties just so we can dash back home to wrack our brains for something meaningful to write inside the cards and search our closets for old gift bags that they have most likely seen before?

Why go through the rigmarole and expense of getting babysitters so we can stand in line for the Valentine’s Day Chicken Quesadilla special at Ruby Tuesday?

Why pressure our husbands to give us flowers when we know they will eventually wilt, drop petals and pollen everywhere, and leave that grody green slimy ring on the inside of the vase?

Why expect heart-shaped boxes of chocolates when half of them are filled with nondescript fruity fluff anyway?

Why not skip all the unnecessary holiday commercialism and get right down to business?

It’s a win-win for both parties. Wives don’t have to cook, clean or find time between orthodontist appointments and school projects, and husbands get what they always wanted.

And if you are my husband, it only takes a few minutes.

All I Want for My Birthday Today

It’s my birthday today. I really don’t want anything. Really. 

I just want to relax.  That’s all. Maybe a little sunshine. It’s been raining forever, so a little sun would be nice. But that’s it. I just want to sit out on my patio in the sun and relax.

I might want a cocktail while I sit out there. Nothing fancy. Just something cold and refreshing. Maybe a beer. Maybe a wine spritzer.  No big deal. Ooo, or maybe some sangria, but not that yucky mix or the fake ones that people make with 7-Up and bad wine. One of the real ones that has been sitting on fruit all day long. Yea, that would be good.

But I do like frozen drinks when it is sunny too. Like a strawberry daiquiri or a frozen margarita. Just the basic ones. Oh, but I know what would be good – a Lemon Drop with real squeezed lemon or a Mojito with the fresh mint and crushed limes. I love those things. Or maybe one of those Pink Lemonades made out of cold Limón cello and cranberry juice. Oo, now that’s the ticket.

But I wouldn’t want to be pathetic sitting out there in the sun all by myself, so maybe it would be good if a friend sat with me. But I wouldn’t want to put anyone out or make them feel obligated. Just a good friend who isn’t just trying to get the check in the box. Someone who really appreciates me and likes to listen to my stories. That’s all. And it would be good if she brought the drinks so I wouldn’t have to make them myself. 

Actually, it would be cool if other friends got word it was my birthday and were like, “It’s Lisa’s birthday! She’s so funny and cool, we need to go celebrate with her!” Not the friends that think, “Oh crap, it’s Lisa’s birthday . . . I’ll just run down there and have a quick drink with her and I’ll regift that candle I got for Mother’s Day.”

Just a few sincere friends on the patio with drinks, that’s all. Although it would be nice if they all chipped in without me knowing and bought me something special. Nothing expensive or anything, just something really meaningful that they all knew I would appreciate, but that I had no idea they all planned just for me. That would be awesome.

But seriously, I really don’t want anything. However, I do hope I don’t have to cook tonight. It would be great if my husband would come home with some food without me asking. Just some simple take out so the kids get fed. I really don’t care. Just something light to go with the cocktails. A big Greek salad would taste good. It is so good with a bit of crumbled feta, and there’s nothing better than tzatziki with fresh dill and some kalmata olives. Oo, and some of that really soft flat bread that you can warm up on the grill to give it that smoky taste. You know what would be tasty? Some marinated grilled chicken breasts, thinly sliced. That would go well with the Pink Lemonades.

I don’t even need a cake today. But if a friend brings a little muffin or cupcake with a candle in it, I’ll be totally appreciative. I just hope my husband doesn’t pick up one of those store bought cakes I hate. I’d be totally happy if the kids cooked a pan of brownies. They would like that. I like them nice and gooey, and they taste so good when they are warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Drizzle some Baileys on top with a few dark chocolate curls and you’ve got a real dessert.

But as long as the kids get fed tonight, I’ll do whatever. I just hope they clean the kitchen when they’re done. I am so sick of cleaning. Just the basics – put the dishes in the dishwasher and put away the leftovers. It’s not that hard.  But it would be nice if they would try to clean it the way I do instead of leaving finger prints on the faucets, crumbs on the counter, and food in the drain. I hate it when they put plastic wrap over a huge bowl even thought there is only a little bit of food in it, just so they don’t have to put the leftovers in a Tupperware and wash the bowl. I hope they don’t do that tonight.

I just want the kitchen to be cleaned up a bit, that’s all. I don’t want to walk in there in my bare feet and feel something stick to the bottom of my foot like I did this morning. How hard would it be for them to run a mop over the floor on my birthday? It would only take a few minutes. Wouldn’t it be outstanding if my husband thought about this weeks ago, and secretly hired a cleaning person to clean the whole house today? It would be unbelievable if I came up from my birthday cocktail party/Greek dinner and found a sparkling clean house.

But really, I just want the kids to clean their rooms without me asking them. That would be so great. To walk back through our hallway and notice that all the rooms were clean and everything was put away. That would be gift enough.

In all seriousness, the kids don’t need to get me anything. Just a card with something sentimental and sincere. Not one from the store. One that they made themselves, and took the time to write something touching inside with cute handwriting. One that they hid under their bed every night and worked on while I was cooking dinner. One that will bring a little tear to my eye. That would be nice.

But no gifts. Only ones that they made in art class or something, nothing they had to go out of their way for. Like a little beaded bracelet or a key chain. Or maybe they snuck away with their father a while ago and went shopping for me. I’ll bet they all picked out something together, something I would have never thought to ask for because I never demand anything. Like some piece of jewelry that is stylish but meaningful or symbolic in some way. Or maybe a Blackberry. Or a Mediterranean cruise.

But any old thing will do, really. Like I said, I don’t really want anything. I just want to relax.

I better go plug in the video camera. It would really stink if all my friends came with the cocktails and surprise gift for the Greek dinner and no one had a camera to catch me on tape when I cry over the kids’ homemade cards and the necklace, and when I open the new Blackberry and the cruise tickets.

Just in case. You never know.

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