People who know me know that however many years old I am is how many days I celebrate for. I'm 59 years old, and yesterday was my birthday, so I'm celebrating for 59 days. I don't remember when I started this. It may have been on my 30th birthday. That's the year I had my horseback riding accident, and since that was so traumatic, I figured I needed to celebrate more to make up for that day.
Another thing people know about me is that I gave my husband 50 presents on his 50th birthday. I think I got that idea from my friend Gayle a long time ago.
For Wayne's birthday, I went into a fishing store and I told the salesman, "You have to help me. I need 50 presents for my husband's 50th birthday." He said, "Lady, just give him a $50 gift certificate." I said, "No, I need you to help me get 50 presents. He's a fisherman, and this is the store to find fishing presents." He groaned, but he helped me find 50 things.
Wayne always tells me, I cheated because I counted one sinker as a present and one hook and one bobber, etc. But I did get 50 different things, and I wrapped them up individually.
Then I made lobster bisque from scratch and a carrot cake, too. Wayne and his buddy, Jay, had gone fishing on his birthday, so when they returned, I was hoping that Wayne and I could have a romantic dinner together, and then I'd surprise him with all 50 gifts. Best laid plans, right?
Well, Jay came into the kitchen, lifted the pot off of the lobster bisque and sniffed it and he said, "Ooh, I want some of that! And you made carrot cake? Oh, I want some of that cake, too!" Jay has never been shy, can you tell?
Well, we all three sat down to dinner... After we ate, I figured Jay wasn't going any where, so I brought out the bag with 50 gifts and poured it out on the table. Wayne and Jay were like little kids, opening up all the presents. It wasn't exactly the night I had in mind, but it was fun anyway.
When I turned 50 four years later, I told Wayne I wanted him to get me 50 presents, too. He rolled his eyes and shook his head (how often have I seen this elicited response?), and he said, "I hate to shop." I said, "I know. That's why I made it easy on you. I put together a little folder with pictures of stuff you can get and what stores to find them in. It doesn't have to be expensive." He asked, "Do I have to wrap all of them individually?" I shook my head, "Yes." Can't I just put everything in one big box?" I shook my head, "No." He looked crestfallen. I told him, "I'll show you some of the things when we walk around different stores. It's not hard. It'll be fun. You'll see." He gave me a look. You can imagine.
Well, my 50th birthday came, and Wayne did good. He got me lots of my favorite things, and he wrapped up each one.
He told me, "Debra, I did this for your 50th birthday, but I'm not doing it for your 60th." I told him,"Wayne, if I live to be 60, you're going to be happy to do it for my 60th birthday."
As I said, I'm 59 this year, so we'll see what happens for 60. Last year, I told Wayne I wanted a microscope. I want to be able to see what kinds of things are on Violet's fur, for one thing. I know I'll be putting all kinds of things under that microscope lens. I never got the microscope, but that's OK. I'm not a stickler for having things exactly on my birthday. I know eventually I'll get it. Maybe now that's he's home recuperating from his heart attack, we'll go to Precision Instruments in New Orleans, and look at microscopes this month.
For this year, I wanted a telescope. Wayne always looks at me funny when he hears these requests. "No perfume?" "No, I want a telescope. I 'd like another dog - a little one, but I'll take a telescope because I know how you feel about more animals."
I tell people I see that it's my birthday. And I tell them that I want a telescope. If I know what I want, I say so. Sometimes I don't have a clue what to ask for, but this year, I knew.
Well, my friend Beverly, the minister's wife, invited me to her house for lunch, and after that, we were going to work on some photo displays for our church's 25th anniversary celebration tomorrow night.
Name a Star Gift Box. I knew immediately what it was because the first time I'd heard of it, I thought it was such a great idea. A friend of mine gave her brother the gift of naming a star for him. Now I had one! Beverly said that when I got my telescope, I could look for the star named for me!
After a wonderful lunch of 13 bean soup, angel hair coleslaw, and sweet potato bread, we started work on the photo displays. We worked hard, and we talked the whole time. It was fun and work at the same time.
When I got home around 5:30, Beverly had left a message on the answer machine. She said her husband Tim was bringing by one more surprise. Tim got there within ten minutes of her call. He walked up with what I thought was a camera tripod, and I thought, "Wow, I needed a tripod," but that's not what it was. It was a telescope!
He said that he and Beverly had been given this telescope by their friends Mike and Darla, but it had been at his dad's house and they hadn't used it in years, so Beverly asked him to bring it with him when he came back from visiting with his dad.
"What an extravagant gift!" He said, "You have Mike and Darla to thank. They gave it to us, but we haven't used it in a long time." While Tim was telling me about the telescope, Walter was beside himself with joy and jumping up and making monkey sounds and trying to lick Tim in the face. I could almost get a complex because Walter barely moves from the sofa when I come home. I said, "Walter, you act like nobody ever pets you." He just kept running in circles around Tim's legs.
When Tim left, much to Walter's chagrin, I called Beverly to express my thanks and delight. I told her it was absolutely perfect, plus Wayne would be happy he didn't have to buy me a telescope. Beverly said, "Now he can spend twice as much for the microscope!" "Ha! I'll tell him you said that. Beverly, this is just perfect. I have a telescope and a star to find that's named for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
So that's the second day of my 59-day birthday celebration. When people tell me, "Happy Birthday! I'm sorry I'm late," I tell them, "Hey, you're not late. I'm celebrating for 2 months now, so you're right on time." After "Happy Birthday," they ask me, "How many presents did you get this year?" I think they think I get as many presents as I am in years. That's only for the milestone birthdays, but, hey, maybe it's a good idea to do that every year! I can already hear Wayne groaning....