Monday, November 17, 2008

Birthday Decree

I hearby decree, by my royal authority (granted by me), that if you are unable to sit down and eat your birthday cake with family and/or friends it does not constitute an actual birthday, and you are not allowed to add another year to your age.

I can hear the commoners cheering now. "Huzza! Huzza!" I acknowledge the the teaming masses with the royal wave.

Therefore, following my own decree, I shall remain 42 for another year.

What I had planned as a low-key birthday turned out to be more of a no-key birthday.

There was careful planning on my part. I angled to get what I wanted without inflicting pain upon those that I love. Yes, yes. I know. I am far too kind.

I wanted to do something cultural. So I took the little Prince and Princess, and her friend, (another Princess, of course) to the C.R. Museum of Art to see an exhibit of work by the illustrator of Harry Potter. The Princesses enjoyed Harry Potter. The Prince often says he plans to be an artist when he grows up. It seemed a near-perfect match.

Apparently enjoying the act of reading or creating art does not translate into enjoying an art exhibit.

I believe the highlight for the kids was jumping on the beanbag chairs. This, of course, was the worst part for me. Who puts beanbag chairs in a public place?

Lunch at Appleby's was a passable hit. The kids were freezing but the food was hot. The dessert was gone in a flash. Happily, no fingers were lost in the feeding frenzy.

To make up for the museum debacle, and because I am certifiably crazy, I took the kids to "Planet X," super arcade and fun land. And because I am super cool, (and it was my birthday we were celebrating) I took part in all the activities.

The youngsters bounced with excitement as we pulled into the parking lot. They sang my praises as I purchased the nearly full-access (Laser Tag included!) passes.

They nearly carried me on their tiny little shoulders as we toured the facility.

Then reality set in. Laser Tag is played in the dark with sometimes faulty equipment. The cries of joy turned to cries of frustration.

I recalled my fear of heights about half way up the rock climbing wall. Luckily that was only about three feet off the ground, and rappelling is much more fun than climbing.

The trampoline-basketball thingee -- the kids loved it -- would have been fun if I didn't have post-childbearing bladder. It's hard to jump and cross your legs at the same time.

Putt-putt golf and the arcade games were huge hits. Although the automatic ticket counter may have been the biggest hit of the day.

All in all, about a 7 out of 10.

The other part of my devious plan was to stay home by myself and watch movies I wanted to see. I planned to send the King and royal babes off to the football playoff game, leaving me alone, by myself. With the TV all to myself.

There were seven movies in the Iowa City Public Library's catalog I wanted to see. Not new releases. Not super popular movies. Not movies you could find on Red Box at HyVee, or even at Mr. Movies. And not, as it so happened, movies you could find at the ICPL.

All seven of them were checked out. Some with waiting lists.

What kind of weirdos live in Iowa City anyway? Hello-0, not first run movies here, people. Get a freakin' life.

I could have understood it if one or two of them were out. But all seven? What are the odds? I'm sure they are right up there with the chance of me winning the lottery.

But I recovered, settling in with my own copy of Pride and Prejudice. This is a movie best watched alone, without anyone around to ask things like "why are they talking funny?" or "why is he wearing those goofy clothes?" or "why do they spend so much time just looking at each other like that." And those are the questions the husband asks. (Just kidding, dear.)

A happy, quiet time watching 4 of 6 VHS tapes, and a thorough cleaning of the house: a solid 9 out of 10. Wine would have bumped that to 10 of 10, but the frozen chimichangas didn't set right.

On to the great cake debacle.

The Royal Book of Rules requires that, at a minimum, a birthday must be celebrated with a meal not prepared by the Birthday Person.

Unfortunately this rule does not take into consideration the obliteration of the royal family by various stomach ailments.

Mid-afternoon (with nary a dining out offer) I sought refuge in the comfort of a chocolaty, Betty Crocker Warm Delights. No sooner had I licked the spoon clean than the royal family approached bearing gifts and cake.

Oh. Hmm. That timing thing. Not so good.

Gifts were opened and enjoyed. Candles were lit and blown out, songs were sung. The cake was cut.

The little Prince didn't want any because he had a tummy ache. This was most likely brought on by unfettered eating of Halloween candy.

The King declined, also because of an upset tummy. This one of the flu variety. After a polite interval, he lay down and slept for a day and a half.

I didn't want any because I had just finished desert, and I didn't want to end up with an upset tummy.

The little Princess, however, did enjoy a large slice with extra frosting and ice cream.

Leftovers, microwave brownie, and chicken noodle soup. On any other Sunday this would have scored pretty well (it was easy, anyway). But on the birthday scale, factoring in the cake debacle, it's about a 3 for festive birthday fare.

Clearly a Sign From God. A heavenly "pass" or "do over." A "Get Out of Aging Free" card, if you will.

And now, by Royal Decree, available to anyone else with unbelievably bad birthday luck.

You're welcome.

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