Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Birthday the K!

Forty years ago today a tiny baby was born two months premature in Oxford, Mississippi. He would quickly make up for his low birthweight (which no one remembers exactly, but seems to have been in the five pound range), and tower over his sister by the time he was 11 and she was 17. I'm, of course, talking about the K who turns 40 today. He is celebrating by going to work and editing some of the 28 briefs that he has due next Monday. And by "briefs" I mean the inaptly named legal documents and not men's underwear. Yay, being a grownup!

At the risk of spoiling the K's surprise when he gets home, I will share that the children and I made this beautiful gift basket/Galvanized tub full of silk flowers for him.

Here's one that gives you a better view of the tub without the distracting backdrop. There's the Girl lying on the couch watching "Arthur:"

In case you are wondering, in that first picture that is a throw blanket featuring two whitetail bucks. According to the packaging it is both "soft & luxurious" and a "great accent for any room." I say that nothing goes with a pink flamingo and silk flowers like a whitetail buck throw. It's too long a story to explain why, but we have purchased or acquired a veritable flock of flamingos in our 11 years of marriage. The K just finished disposing of our old, broken flamingoes and expressly forbid me from purchasing any more. Boo-yah! Just say, "I forbid you from..." and I shall defy your express instructions. The "obey" part in our marriage vows? I just Beyonced that word.

Celebrating the K's 40th brings back memories of Dad's 40th birthday. My parents were ancient by 1970s standards when Sister and I were born, so I was only six when Dad turned 40 and Sister was two months shy of three. It was June and Mom planned a big outdoor party and all Dad's relatives trucked in from Filthadelphia for the occasion. I remember that Mom had set up tables in the backyard and probably spent weeks stressing over the menu, the decor, the weather, and the logistics of the whole event.

At the time, we had a big hand-me-down jungle gym in the backyard that resembled this:

Only I think it was orange and pink and didn't look like it was vetted by any sort of governmental toy safety agency. While the grownups partied it up, Sister and I climbed all over the jungle gym, doing tricks like we're in the circus because obviously someone had to entertain the adults. You see where this is going? So, there we are swinging around and all of a sudden Sister starts bawling really, really loudly. She was in the throes of the terrible twos, so I didn't pay that much attention, but when I finally did turn around to look, her face was just a whole bunch of blood and matted blonde hair. It seriously looked like this:
Love me some Sissy Spacek

Only worse because all the blood seemed to be coming from her eye. Well, of course everyone completely freaks out and Mom and Dad leave the party to take her to the hospital. So, this left me, a totally traumatized six year old, in charge of keeping the party going while Sister got fitted for a glass eye. Because that was totally what everyone was convinced was happening.

It's a bad family trait, but whenever someone has a minor injury or condition in my family, everyone seems to jump to the most dire result. Examples: 1. Sister had her finger slammed in a car door and Mom decided she would lose the nail forever and have to get a toenail transplanted to her hand; 2. My college boyfriend dislocated his arm when we were sailing (don't ask how this is possible, because I'm still not sure) and I was convinced he'd have to have his arm amputated and I'd be the good girlfriend who'd stick with him, even though he only had one arm; 3. When the Baby was really a baby, she had to get an x-ray of her back because the pediatrician thought she might have spina bifida or a tethered spinal cord. I briefly started researching support groups, just in case. Not to leave you hanging: Sister has all her fingernails, ex-boyfriend's arm was fine, Baby just has a sacral dimple which hopefully will deter her from getting a tramp stamp when she's 19.

So tragic for so many reasons

Anyway, it turned out that Sister had cut her eyelid on one of the rusty screws that was holding the jungle gym together. Apparently eye wounds bleed a lot which was why she looked like her face had been ripped off when she really only had a scratch. She came home from the hospital and was showered with attention (which I loved) and proceeded to break the antenna off the shortwave radio that Dad's family had given him as a birthday present. Amazingly, I found a picture of the exact radio:

I have so many fond memories of listening to static and NPR on that radio. I never realized that it was called the "Cougar." Although, that makes sense because I did see the shortwave wearing inappropriate clothing and hitting on an iPod.

Here's to hoping for a much less eventful 40th for the K! Thank goodness our backyard is way too small for a rusting jungle gym.

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