Birthdays are important, damn it

Fat Tuesday? No. Crazy-ass-nutso Tuesday? Yes.

When I woke up this morning I went to work like always. Partway through the morning I found out that the Wake for a friend’s grandfather was this afternoon. In a town about an hour west of civilization (also known as 10 minutes west of the second largest city in MA. But it’s far from my office/apt/parents/Boston so I sometimes think of it as the middle of nowhere). Of course I was going. Though I would have to leave work early because I could only make the beginning of the wake. And I was in jeans and some random shirt. I ran home at lunch and changed. About 400 times because I didn’t like any options. Back at the office, I went to tell my boss I was leaving early and she wasn’t at her desk. I looked in the parking lot. No car. She had sounded terribly sick yesterday afternoon so apparently she took a sick day. But didn’t tell anyone. Awesome. Instead I told my cube neighbor I was leaving and I would have my phone on and I headed out west. I’m glad I could be there, though there was never really any question of whether not I would make it. I had to leave by 5 to get all the way up to southern NH to help my step-dad, J, shop for my mother’s birthday present. I got there just in time. We were to meet at 6:30 in the Best Buy. 6:30 came and went. Then 6:40. Then 6:50. I didn’t mind. I was browsing the bargain CD bin (remember CDs???) At 6:50 my phone rang. I assumed it would be him. It was my mother. She had good news and bad news about my grandmother’s recovery from surgery last week. The good news was excellent. The bad news requires me to sleep at Grammy’s house tomorrow night. No big. Especially because I’m taking a long weekend and have Thursday and Friday off. (I didn’t have yesterday off, but that’s because my company voted for four floating holidays instead of the extra Monday holidays which equals a 4 day weekend for me. So much better in my opinion) I bought a couch last week and it’s coming while I’m on my mini vacation. And then I’m going to paint and get a head start on spring cleaning. It was supposed to be in preparation of having my family over for dinner to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Except because of Grammy’s surgery we moved it to my mother’s house to make the trip easier on my Grammy. Well. Now my Mom was telling me we were maybe going to cancel it. Um. No. I was raised to believe birthdays are important. Your birthday is your day. You get to pick what Mom makes for dinner.
You get to pick the cake. Sometimes your mother even makes you the grown up version of a barbie cake. (see picture) You get to eat dinner in the dining room on the fine china. And Grammy and Grampy and Michelle all come over. For crying out loud, my Mom and J were on their honeymoon during my 14th birthday. So they had a birthday cake for me. AT THE WEDDING. So. We are not canceling dinner just because we have to change the venue again. Dinner is still on, damn it. Even if I’m cooking over an open fire because all the kitchens in the world have burned to the ground. Of course. I’m having this conversation with my mom while in the middle of Best Buy while I’m holding three bargain CDs (seriously. 6 bucks for 14 songs. iTunes can’t touch that). I was one of those people. Wandering the store. Yelling into the phone. I’d like to think I was speaking reasonably, but I’m sure someone thought I was one of those people. Anywho. J didn’t show. So I called. Turns out he had left me a voice mail asking to reschedule because he was helping my mom with Grammy. Crap-ola. Maybe I should start listening to my voice mails. I had driven an hour and a half to get there. There’s a Best Buy 2 miles from my house. This one is 20 miles from home. But we worked it out and I was still able to get the gift. The gift is a [secret]*. And they sell it in a department where each sale is sort of complicated and there were two customers being helped. But the transactions take 10 or 15 minutes. The next guy in front of me decided the sales guys were being rude and not helping him (dude. They aren’t standing around. They are with other customers). So he called [secret] a company that makes [secret] to see if he could buy one over the phone before the sales guy got to him. Dude. Seriously? You can’t wait in line for 15 minutes? Your wife is with you. Why don’t you two have a little chat. Catch up on your day. Talk about all the things you’re going to do with your new [secret]. Or get a smart phone. I was having a grand ole time, entertaining myself with posts, so I was good. I was reading through all of today’s posts and then halfway through one a sales guy came to help me. The other guy had left the line to buy his item on the phone. WHILE HE WAS STANDING IN A STORE THAT HAD THAT ITEM. I made my purchase of the gift and my CDs ($6!!). And then headed over to the [secret] section to buy the gift from my brother and I. Except apparently there are no staff people in that section. Now. I had very patiently waited in line once in the store because the staff was all busy with other customers. This time there wasn’t a guy in a blue shirt to be found. I waited a full 5 minutes, looking around. And I know the two guys DOING NOTHING in home entertainment could see me waiting. But I sure as heck wasn’t going across the store to get someone to get some other staff member to help me. So I left. I feel like maybe I turned into that guy from earlier. Except not. It wasn’t impatience, really, it was a “I’ve now spent more than 25 minutes waiting to spend hundreds of dollars in your store and there’s no one to help me” Patience and twitter only get a girl so far. I knew I could make my purchase at the Walmart down the street so I started to go there. But I have this thing about Walmart. It’s not me getting on a soapbox, but everyone knows that company is notoriously bad to their employees. And something about the place perpetuates an attitude towards society that I’m not totally down with. It’s basically make it cheap and sell it cheap. And when it breaks, buy another. I was raised to buy nice things and maintain them. Even if your air conditioner ends up draining through a glue cap you ripped off a bottle (that’s a Grampy original from years ago). This is all to say, I don’t like to shop there when it can be avoided. Instead I headed to Tar-jey. I wanted to make sure they sold [secret] so I stopped in a parking lot to google it on my phone. The Though Catalog post I hadn’t finished reading was still loaded so I decided to sit for a minute and finish reading. And thank goodness I didn’t finish it in the store. It was such a simple post, but it was incredibly moving and suddenly I was bawling my eyes out. With just a couple hundred words it knocked my problems down a bit and reminded me that there are folks way worse off than having to drive an extra hour to buy a really nice gift for someone I love. So, after I finished reading and then confirmed Tar-jey had what I wanted I drove over. Talk about a win. It was $45 cheaper. Yesssssssss. I paid and then headed home. I was starving. Because I hadn’t eaten since lunch at 11:30. And it was 8:30. I stopped at Wendy’s for a chicken sandwich. And couldn’t find my wallet. Luckily I was the only one in the drive through. I had to put the car in park and search through four bags until I found it. When I finally had my card out, the cashier who had waited for me, very patiently I might add, gave me an understanding smile and I told her “sorry about that. It’s been a bit of a day”. A bit of a day, for sure. I drove home rocking out to a new song I just bought (on iTunes). I was totally drumming the steering wheel at a read light. I must have looked crazy to the guy next to him. But I hope it made me smile. Because that’s what I was doing. That’s the only way to live through long crazy twisted days.
*My Mom reads my blog. I want to post this now. But she doesn’t get her prizes until Friday. Hi Mom!