Monday, March 19, 2007

A sleety birthday

Thank you for all of your good wishes and comments on my birthday. I am now mulling over whether I have crossed the point of no return: to wit,

1. Birthday cake purchased by husband had "Happy Birthday, Mom" written on it. Husband did not get hint when clerk asked him "How old's your mom?"
2. In-laws gave me Target gift card for present. (Let's live it up: free paper towels for everyone!)
3. Twenty-five-year-old sales clerks call me "ma'am" instead of "miss." (Okay, they've been doing that for the past couple of years, but I'm trying to round out my list.)

But that's an existential crisis for another day.

My birthday was, on the whole, a little odd. It started out pretty normally, until the sleet arrived. Or maybe it was freezing rain; it's hard to tell the difference. Frozen precipitation began at around 8 a.m. on Friday and continued nonstop through the day. Sure enough, school let out early, and around five o'clock, when the roads were getting steadily worse and Tom was due to arrive home, I began thinking of birthday cake and presents and a cozy night by the fire. Alas, it was not to be.

I received a phone call shortly thereafter from Tom, who had locked his keys in the car while it was running was scraping his windshield when the car's automatic locks spontaneously went off, thus locking the keys in the car through no fault of his. So I had to pack up the three kids and head out into the sleet to take him the extra keys. (Just to add insult to injury, I was out of gas, so I had to stop at a gas station on the way.) It took us an hour for what ought to have been a 15-minute trip. Even though we were driving an all-wheel-drive, heavy vehicle, we almost got stuck and the roads were treacherous. (Or as the local news station is wont to report breathlessly, "The roads are a CHAMBER OF HORRORS!!")

By the time we got to the client's office where Tom was, we decided he should leave his car (of course, after unlocking it and turning it off) and drive back with us. It took another hour to get home, with the defroster not working and having to stop every so often to deice the wipers.

By the time we got home, we were all stressed out.

I did recover enough to open a few presents (including Last-Minute Fabric Gifts: 30 Hand-Sew, Machine-Sew, and No-Sew Projects and The Natural Knitter: How to Choose, Use, and Knit Natural Fibers from Alpaca to Yak, which will be my next book review) and we did get the aforementioned cake, so all's well that ended well.

I shan't even mention the trip later in the weekend to pick up Tom's car, involving an hour of ice-chipping (Tom with a metal shovel, me with an ice scraper -- take that, Lyme hands!) . . .

In case this entry has not seemed pathetic enough (what can I say? I've been reading Rabbitch and I'm competitive), it's time for today's dime-store psychological insight.

I have been told many times before by a dear friend who's known me since I was twelve that I have a tendency to try to hide my stress from the world, to try to put on a together front even when I'm feeling anything but. (Stop snickering, Tom; I said "from the world.") Lately, I have been feeling anything but together. Part of it is the impact of this Lyme relapse: I'm still fatigued, and headachy, and jointachy. Part of it is stress. So I may be retreating a little inward in coming weeks, until I feel a bit more together. Don't take it personally. (Especially if it takes me a long time to return your phone call or answer your email.)


Diane said...

What a bummer that you had to drive in that awful weather. That was one awful storm. Too long with too much ice.

Carol said...

I think birthdays lost their appeal to me somewhere around my 20's. I just like nice cake now.
Don't feel bad about your malaise. I think the Brits have something with their stiff upper lip mentality. Putting on a together front sometimes leads to actually being together! Do what you need to do. Relax and let the world spin without you. Come back when you're ready.
p.s. just got No Sheep for You and think it's fab! Will be interesting to read your next book review.

Big Alice said...

If you've made it to 42(ish) until you're called ma'am on a regular basis, you're doing a hell of a lot better than I. I've been getting ma'ams since I was 25. Makes me want to throttle the speaker.
I'm sorry about the awful ice storm. Have fun going wild at Target!

Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel any better, clerks in stores call me ma'am and I'm only 27. It makes me feel so old.

I totally sympathize with Tom's run-in with new car technology. My car locked me out with the keys in it when it was 50 below in Fairbanks, Alaska and I was plugging in the block heater. It doesn't lock if the keys are in the ignition though, so it wasn't running. I had liquid groceries in the back seat though and my purse in the front seat. That was not cool.

Anyway, for what it's worth, happy birthday, and I hope you start feeling better soon.

mindy said...

Could the ice have counted as birthday "frosting"? Ok, that was really bad, I apologize.

You have tons of crazy stuff going on right now- we're here and we understand. xoxo

Anonymous said...

ROFL @ "chamber of horrors"

Target rocks. Live it up at the bullseye corral!

And - happy birthday.

Liz K. said...

I thought of you on your birthday when the radio in our cab in Chicago mentioned it was Erik Estrada's birthday! Sorry I missed the big birthday blog post, but I hope, despite the ice-hell and the age-related crises that it was a good one.

I can tell you that I have known you for two whole months and got the sense that you hide the stress and the lyme stuff. You know why? It's like looking in a mirror.

Take whatever time you need, then let me know when you want to knit together.

Rabbitch said...

I'm trying to think of something witty to say but, you know, I have a real disease (ennui, this week) not like some people who have stuff named after fruit, and so I'm all worn out.

Kim said...

Sounds like you had a hard birthday. You should try again on your half-birthday, in 6 months. The weather can't interfere then...well, not like it did this time.

I was dining at a nice restaurant lately and had a nice time, with the exception that the waiter (a young 18-year-old, except that he was serving wine so probably barely 21) kept calling me "hon". "I'll be right back with that, hon". Ugh. I would have liked "ma'am." This was a nice dining room steak house, not a diner.

Carol said...

Oh, but one of my favorite things in the whole world about Philly is when you're in a diner and the waitress (a.k.a. 60-yr-old bottle blonde) says "There you go, hon" with a Philly accent you could cut with a knife.