Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How Not to Spend Your Birthday: A Game!

And hey everyone, welcome back! We've got a really fun post for you today, so sharpen up those pencils, haul out those horrific birthday memories, and let's play: How Not to Spend Your Birthday!

Begin by spending four consecutive summer weekends away from your home. This will cause both sleep deprivation and an excess of unwashed laundry. In concert, those two factors will also result in an underlying crankiness, a sort of low thrum of tension.

Each consecutive weekend away = 4 points
Low thrum of tension = 2 points
Painful, tense shoulder rodent = 2 points
Each pound of unwashed laundry = 1 point
Bonus: Award yourself 1 bonus point for resorting to generic shampoo and conditioner because you've been so busy that you're out of your salon brand goo.

Precisely 36 hours preceding the actual day of natal festivity, awake in a cold sweat, gripped by literally gut-wrenching cramps. Roll over. Touch clammy, yet hot, bedmate (this can be your cat/husband/wife/life partner/alien abductor you've befriended.) Run to the bathroom. Realize that you are, in fact, sick and so is bedmate. Fight with bedmate due to guilt induced by lack of ability to care for bedmate, combined with anger at bedmate's inability to let you sleep in the bed because bedmate is really sicker than you but you want the bed anyway and don't care.

Each hour spent in the loo = 4 points
Bedmate also sick = 2 points
Bedmate sicker than you = 4 points
Bonus: Award yourself 5 points if you have no bedmate of any sort.

Moving closer to the day of natal celebration, realize you are truly sick and cannot sleep well. Unfold futon in guest room. Sleep on rock hard futon and mentally apologize to all past guests made to sleep on futon. Dream feverishly of buying uncooked chicken from Boston-based musicians with whom you were once friendly. Awake from fever dreams. Sip ice water. Run out of toilet paper and cry plaintively for bedmate to bring you more.

Each roll of toilet paper = 3 points
Fever dreams = 1 point/dream
Bonus point: Award yourself 10 bonus points if you have no bedmate to bring you TP and must fish through the wastebin.

Now, sleep fitfully through the night. Awake within half-hour of your actual time of birth to slightly less gut-wrenching stomach cramps. Realize you are not going to work and will not be having a "happy" birthday. Sleep some more. Rouse yourself mid-morning and move from ice water to stale crackers and chicken broth. Snooze, nap, and try to comfort bedmate throughout the day.

Each stale cracker consumed = 3 points
Each birthday wish = subtract 1 point/email or phone call

BONUS ROUNDS = 50 points each
Round 1
Reach late afternoon. Make frightening realization that driver's license expires this very day. Shower. Suck up all energy possible. Go to RMV and renew license. Take license photo that resembles Jay Leno in a cold sweat.

Round 2
Leave RMV with Leno-esque photo in hand. You are now clammy and bloated, but it's your birthday and you want a present. Shop. In a mall. Go to grocery store. Buy pasta for dinner. In grocery line, covered with cold sweat and frizzy generically-shampooed hair, be stuck between tall, tan, toned Beyonce lookalike on left, and tall, tan, toned Maria Sharapova clone on the right. (Both MUST be purchasing nothing but veggies and Lean Cuisine in order for you to qualify for these bonus points.)

SUPER BONUS ROUND = 100 points
Parents have forgotten your birthday. You must call to remind them.

1-50 points: You are a total happy birthday freak. You are never getting another gift from me because you have not suffered birthday horror enough.
51-150 points: Pretty normal. You've had some crappy ones. I'll get you a Target gift card.
151-214 points: Wow. I'm impressed. You get a shopping trip to Barney's!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Our Parent's Hidden Lives

So you never know what's going to happen when you Google. And as someone who hates surprises and mysteries, this is problematic. However, Today's Google was to see if my brother was ever listed in association with B-52s (the plane, not the band).

But since they share a name, differentiated by "Sr." vs. "Jr.", I got results for my Dad.

Now, for those of you who know my Dad, he's an inordinately principled, righteous dude. He's humble (except when he's over-explaining something, like, say, geothermal heat exchange systems), has integrity, and well, he's just about the most awesome guy. (I pity Husband. How could he EVER live up to that?)

And well, turns out my Dad was, in his own small way, a civil rights pioneer.

I had always known that both my parents brought us up with a strong sense of right and wrong, of justice, of the value of each human life, but I never knew that he helped to further integration at one of the world's premiere institutions of science and technology.

I'm so proud to be his kid.

Love you, Daddy.