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11:49 a.m. - November 20, 2006
It's My Birthday - And My Fire Hazard Cake
When you get to be of a certain age, your birthday is usually just another day on the calendar, except sometimes your co-workers give you a store-bought cake and then they take you to a chain restaurant and embarrass you while a bunch of half-bored waitrons serenade you with lousy versions of a song they wrote to replace “Happy Birthday” because they don’t want to pay royalties.

I had my own secret desires and wishes for a birthday morning and a birthday day. But no one has invented a self-cleaning kitchen (Cheerios-B-Gone, even, would help), nor something that spontaneously delivers bacon and eggs to your door. And poor Liz is STILL getting over the sinus crud (technical term) so there wasn’t much a-cuddlin’ going on in the morning.

But still, it was a great birthday. One of the best I’ve had.

Katie woke me up too early (how come she always wakes up on Saturday, but during the week we have to pry her out of bed??) so I went downstairs. Liz slept in to try to get herself well. I got Kristin up later and I fed them breakfast, read the papers (including this photo which was on the front page of the Journal-Review and shows me with my mouth open, talking, of course, while I’m doing the computer stats for Wabash’s basketball team. The picture was cropped and enlarged so my grill is pretty big. It’s tough to be popular.)

Then I went to the grocery store to get some items. We needed to stock up; I had plenty of coupons; and I wanted to make my scrumptious tortellini dish. We had the sauce and the pasta – all I needed to get was the Italian sausage and the cheese.

I also decided that since it’s my birthday, and my night was going to be full of football, I was going to get snacks. So I picked up some Tostitos and queso dip, and some mint chocolate chip ice cream along with some cones. Yum! And wine.

The groceries unloaded, and Liz got the girls lunch. I had to go work at a basketball tournament at the college, so I scooted out to get lunch and get to the fieldhouse.

Wabash, after losing on Friday (we’re young and going to struggle early in the season) won on Saturday, and things went very well from a stats and sports information aspect. Also, since I’m running the computer, I got to go online between games and at the half and did some surreptitious MySpacing.

After that, it was home. The plan was simple, and direct: Ohio State vs. Michigan (thanks to TiVo), cooking my tortellini, birthday cake and cards, and then USC vs. Cal. Ah, and wine.

When I arrived home, the cake was baked, yet not decorated, and the sink had some issues with dishes. You know, about five years ago I would have wondered what the heck was going on, but now with the fearsome twosome running around – I totally get why things are a mess at times. They are because that’s what happens.

Liz and Katie went off to Satan’s Discount Store to do some shopping, so I got Kristin up from her nap. I parked her in the high chair and set about to do some dishes. Then I started to make my tortellini. While I was browning the sausage, I called a friend who left me a birthday message (very musical – I said she had an intriguing voice and I meant it in a GOOD way). This was the first time I called her, and she just glanced at the number and started in with, “I was just thinking about calling you!”

Well, caller ESP? No, I have a similar area code to her mother. That’s all.

But I did prove to her that I can carry on a half decent conversation while browning Italian sausage and making sure Kristin is eating her banana and drinking her milk.

The meal was done, but Liz and Katie weren’t back yet. Well, they had to go pick up some samples of the laminate flooring that we’re going to put in our formal dining room, plus Satan’s Discount Store had “Poky Cashier Daze” so, well, it took some time.

But that’s why there are microwaves.

Before we ate, they finished decorating the cake. That gave me a chance to watch some of the game, and thanks to TiVo I didn’t miss a play, but watched the first half in about 20 to 25 minutes. I am the fast-forward God – there is no other one but me.

The cake was beautiful when it was done. Katie helped with the frosting and put on all of the candles and the sprinkles. Kristin helped by encouraging them, and of course, by eating the cake when it was done.

We had dinner, and boy that tortellini dish was good. It’s a relatively simple recipe. I mean, I could make my own sauce, I’m sure, but Prego works pretty well. And then there’s the sausage, and plenty of cheese, so…yum.

Then it was time for the cake. And for that, let’s get to the pics.

Katie is very proud of her creation. Well, she did ice it and put on the sprinkles and the candles.

Katie and I celebrate the cake. Woot!

Call Fire Marshall Bill – it’s a fire hazard!

Yes, I did blow them all out in one breath. I know; I’m a windbag. But you knew that.

Alas, the dead soldiers. Yep, there are 41 of ‘em.

The cake was marvelous, as was the company. Soon, it was bath time and the girls went upstairs with Liz. I got back to the game, and was sitting there with my iPod, my TiVo, my glass of wine, and my bellyful of food, and almost misted up.

There have been a lot of struggles this past year – a lot of stress. Many of the issues are self-inflicted because of choices I have made. Some are out of my control. Yet, I felt the love from everyone, especially at that moment. Liz, Katie, Kristin, my family, my friends from all over, they really meant a lot to me on that day.

I went upstairs to start getting some laundry ready, and I just walked by the scale in our bathroom. Mind you, since the Kansas / Oklahoma trip I’ve not eaten well at all.

Oops. Maybe I shouldn’t have seen that. Actually, I probably needed to. I need to get my ass in gear, in more ways than one.

As I told Prolifique, I need to attend Burger King Anonymous.

“"Hi, I'm Smed, and I'm a Double Stacker Addict".

But even that couldn’t sway my bad mood, and that night I went to bed knowing that my 41st year of life will be special, because of all of the people in it.


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