Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Melanie's Birthday

Monday was Melanie’s birthday. We had a good time, despite the fact that I’m battling my first-ever sinus infection. The infection is much more painful than I would have imagined, and I’ve had plenty of moments when I can do little more than sit still and wish I felt better. That being said, I was quite pleased with how nice of a day Monday ended up being. We started the day fairly normally, with Melanie and Eddie (and Peter) doing school. I got ready for the day and wrapped Melanie’s gifts. Relatively soon thereafter, Melanie opened her gifts. I gave her a CD (The Shins’ new release Port of Morrow), a book (Everything is Beautiful by Katherine Center), and a DVD box set of Flight of the Conchords (the entire 22-episode series). To top it all off, I surprised her with a Kindle Fire. It was a much more extravagant gift than we usually give to each other, but that’s precisely why I wanted to do it. Melanie told me shortly after Christmas that she was interested in a Kindle Fire, which is something I had never known. I wished at that point that I could have given her a Kindle for Christmas, but of course it was too late. I’ve kept it in mind for her birthday ever since, convinced it is my husbandly privilege to spoil my wife every now and again. Heaven knows her birthdays (and Christmases) are typically much more humble than this. So, in my mind, Melanie was long overdue for a genuine treat like this one. It’s just a shame she’s only had ten minutes of her own to spend on the thing. Eddie and Peter, on the other hand, have already devoted hours of their lives to it. Typical.

For her birthday lunch, Melanie chose Chick-fil-A. This is a somewhat humorous choice, only because Melanie and her friends often have play dates at Chick-fil-A, and so it seems like a very un-special place to go. Melanie almost talked herself out of it, convinced she should do something more unusual or fancy. But, in the end, she couldn’t deny her craving for a spicy chicken sandwich. I’m glad she committed to what sounded good in the moment. She and I both have a tendency to overthink things, so being truly spontaneous is always a bit of a challenge for us. The kids were quite happy with the decision. They spent most of their time in the play land, which at 1pm on a weekday, they had all to themselves.

After Chick-fil-A, we went to Best Buy. Melanie picked up the CD Torches by Foster the People, a band we’ve both become quite interested in lately. Once again, the kids have profited more from Melanie’s birthday than she has. Eddie and Peter have basically taken over this CD. They are both big fans of the song “Pumped Up Kicks,” and they insist on playing it over and over again as they sing along. Melanie’s hardly had a chance to listen to any other song on the CD.

From Best Buy, we moved on to Donut Kingdom. Creegan started acting all happy and excited when we pulled into the parking lot. I think he recognized the place, which is probably a very bad sign. Honestly, I don’t think we go there all that often, but if a baby knows the place … well, I suppose that says something. After everyone ate a donut, we headed back home. Melanie spent some time on the phone with her side of the family while Eddie, Peter, and I played video games. Creegan played with pots and pans and whatever else he likes to do. Eventually, the kids spent some time playing in their room, and Melanie and I watched an episode of Flight of the Conchords. We’ve seen the entire series once before, but it’s all the funnier the second time around. When it came time for dinner, we opted for some quick and easy Papa John’s. We tried a specialty pizza called “The Big Bonanza,” which featured a bizarre medley of toppings: beef, ham, tomatoes, onions, barbecue sauce, and jalapenos. It was actually quite good (especially the half without onions, for my sake).  We also tried a so-called chicken cordon bleu pizza.  It was so-so.

And that’s that. It may not sound like much, but it was nice for us to spend the whole day together as a family. I didn’t set foot in our home office the entire day. No schoolwork, nothing. I even canceled my usual Monday afternoon office hours. Of course, doing simple things like that can make a day feel very special. And it did. Not only for Melanie, but for me. And how couldn’t it? I got to spend my entire day with the most wonderful birthday girl ever. Truth be told, she was the best gift of the day!


  1. I love that you make things special and celebrate! You guys rock! Happy Birthday to Melanie. She really is an awesome birthday girl. Love to you all!

  2. I love you, Ben! You are so sweet!