It’s time again for a guest post from one of my favorite people on earth..the ridiculously talented Tami Lund! Today she brings us another of her patented amusing family stories. This time about her husbands latest birthday.
My husband had a birthday last month. Why is this significant? Well, it was a big one. The big 5-o.
And he wasn’t excited. I suppose I don’t blame him. As someone who isn’t quite there, yet the date creeps ever closer each year, I suppose I’m not exactly thrilled, either. Although for me, it isn’t as much the number as it is the lines on my face, the creaks in my bones, the groans I can’t subdue when I shift positions.
Because he was so unhappy about the impending birthday, I wanted to do something to ease the pain of getting older, if only momentarily. Buying gifts was out of the question. No matter how fabulous or extravagant or exciting I thought my idea might be, I knew, knew, knew I couldn’t go that route.
Because, according to my husband, I suck at buying gifts. Two Christmases ago, he confided that he’s always hated my gifts, everything I’ve ever bought him that wasn’t an event or an experience. From sweatshirts to shoes to books to kitchen utensils (he loves to cook, BTW), I’ve failed miserably for eighteen years.
Stupid me, I didn’t heed his warning, didn’t listen to his advice. To be fair, he didn’t either. He made a Christmas list, I took said list shopping, I bought items from the list. And this past Christmas, I failed again. And don’t take pity on him, here, folks; as the gift-giver who does it purely for the joy of seeing the happiness on someone’s face, it’s really quite heartbreaking when they hate what you’ve come up with. And that goes double when the damn gift was on the person’s wish list.
Finally, this past Christmas, I swore I’d never do it again. No more gifts. I’m sick of the heartache, sick of being angry on holidays or birthdays, sick of trying and failing over and over again.
Fast forward three months to the fiftieth birthday. Well, hell, what do I do now?
My first inclination was Vegas. Everybody goes to Vegas for their fiftieth, right? I even reached out to a few of his closest friends, asked if they’d like to join us. A couple said yes. But then I started looking more closely at the calendar—and our checkbook. His birthday was the week before spring break. This meant we would have to find someone to watch our daughter, someone who would be willing to take her to and from school while we were gone (I was thinking about going Sunday-Wednesday). And then we’d have to figure out what to do with her over spring break, since we likely wouldn’t take off work two weeks in a row. And Vegas is expensive, baby.
So then I thought maybe we’d go to Boston, for spring break. We have friends who live there and it’s full of history, my husband’s favorite pastime (other than golf).
And then I thought about the Finger Lakes region in Canada, because we’re both big wine lovers and it’s a place we’ve never been.
For one reason or another, none of these ideas panned out. So I started looking closer to home. Surely there was some sort of experience I could arrange that would be impressive as a fiftieth birthday gift, but wouldn’t actually qualify as a gift?
I searched and searched; I asked for ideas from friends. And I ultimately threw up my hands, and when the original group planning to go to Vegas messaged me and asked if it was still on, I said nope, I can’t come up with a damn thing to do for his birthday.
That’s when my fabulous friend Katie suggested fowling. Say what? Yep. Bowling + football = crazy good fun. The perfect gathering to celebrate one’s 50th birthday.
Here’s the gist: FOWLING. The best part: it was even created in Detroit, which is where we live!
So now to work it all out, as a surprise, of course. Katie and I made a plan: she’d join us for church on the Sunday before his birthday (not unusual), and then she’d say her husband wants us to meet him for brunch. He’ll grab the kids and take them to the fowling place, and we’ll meet them there. In the meantime, my husband’s other friends will be there too, and when he walks in … surprise!
Except ten minutes before we’re supposed to leave for church, he gets an email from the credit card company: There’s been a charge on your card to this fowling place; is it legit? See, I used the credit card instead of the debit thinking he wouldn’t see it until after his birthday.
So the surprise was blown, although we still had an awesome time, and there was still the other surprise planned for his actual birthday, which was the next day.
You see, while I was planning the fowling surprise, my mother-in-law called me and asked what we were doing for my husband’s birthday. “Nothing,” I said. “He doesn’t want to do anything. I’ve tried to get him to commit to meeting the family for dinner, but he’s not exactly thrilled about turning fifty, so he’s not in the mood, I guess.” I told her the daughter and I were taking him out to dinner, though, if she and his dad wanted to join us.
“I’m going to call his siblings and we’ll all join you, but don’t tell him. It’ll be a surprise.”
And it would have been, too, except we let my daughter in on it. When we got to the restaurant and his parents just happened to be there, we asked for a table for five, having arranged ahead of time with the manager, so she knew what we were doing, and my daughter says, “But what about Uncle Don and Aunt Jenn and Uncle Mike and Aunt Barb? I thought they were all joining us?”
Surprise number two = ruined. Boy, I really do suck at this birthday gig.
Here’s Tami, ain’t she lovely?
And here is Tami’s author bio: While she may suck at planning birthdays and buying gifts, Tami Lund doesn’t suck at writing romance, drinking wine, or winning awards. Give her latest release, Sexy Bad Neighbor, a try to see for yourself.