Wednesday, November 25, 2009


There are disadvantages and advantages to having a birthday in the month of November.

Some of the disadvantages are
The last one in the gang to turn 13
The last one in the gang to turn 16
The last one in the gang to turn 18
The last one in the gang to turn 21
It’s too close to Christmas
You tend to be forgotten because of the holiday rush
A turkey is more appealing than candles and party hats

On the other hand, there are some advantages to a November birthday:
The last one in the gang to turn 50
The last one in the gang to turn 60

It warms my heart when I receive a lot of cards in the mail during my birthday month, sending me best wishes for a wonderful birthday. I have them lined up all around my desk so I am constantly reminded how loved I am. The cards so far this year are from my insurance company (it’s their job to keep track of people’s age), Talbot’s, SW Airlines Rapid Rewards, Hallmark Stores, DSW Shoe Factory. I can’t wait to check the mail tomorrow.

I have had some memorable birthdays.

Like the one when my children were still living at home – they were teenagers – and you’d think they were capable of thinking for themselves. It must have been on a weekend, because I remember painting the bathroom. I know, I know, who the hell paints the bathroom on their birthday – I can assure you, that will never happen again. As I was sponging along, dap by dap…sponging? the newest craze in decorating…I realized the sun was going down. Pretty soon the family will stand in a line outside the door with their smiling little faces and say, “Mom, stop painting now, we want to take you out to dinner for your birthday.” 5:30…dap, dap, dap...6:00…still painting...6:30…football game just ended, here they come. At 7:00, I was pissed. So I got down off the ladder, changed my clothes, and announced that I was going to go get Chinese – by myself. The family told me later they didn't think I wanted to be interrupted from my project. Yeah, right – it thrills me to death risking my life on a ladder that’s too short, getting paint all over my hands and face, and choking on fumes in a tiny cubicle with a toilet when I could be drinking apple martinis. A mother never forgets.

Turning 50 can be very traumatic. I certainly did not want to repeat the bathroom debacle, so I made sure there were plans in the works for dinner out with friends. Yes, smiling faces all agreed, so we set the date and time to meet at the friend’s house before heading out to the restaurant. I had no clue what was awaiting me. When we arrived at the house, twenty people yelled “Happy Birthday.” My first surprise party ever – thanks to the work of my daughter. She had made invitations, gone through my rolodex of names and addresses, and had everyone sign a little wiener autograph dog. The biggest surprise of all came when my mother and brother walked out of the bedroom door – they had flown over 400 miles to celebrate my half-century mark. I asked my daughter when she managed to pull off the perfect surprise party while we lived under the same roof, and she said it wasn’t easy. Since I am a bit of a night owl, she had to wait until after midnight when I went to bed to use the computer. Turning 50 wasn’t so bad after all.

However, turning 60 brings the realization that time will not go in reverse and being viewed as a senior citizen has reluctantly arrived. People in the stores behave a little differently. They talk louder and slower. They ask if you want help out to the car. I didn’t want to let go of my youth so quickly, so I requested 3 things for my birthday. I wanted to go dancing, I wanted to shoot pool, and I wanted to go to a piano bar. Once again, the children were full of surprises - with a party bus that took me, my family, and my friends out on the town. The party bus was equipped with a wet bar, sparkly decorations that screamed 60, and mood lights strung all over the black interior. First we dined on Mexican food, complete with a mariachi band and maĆ®tre d’ who tolerated the noise. Then off to Mill Avenue in Tempe - the Avenue where ASU students stumble in and out of pubs on Friday and Saturday nights – OK, every night of the week – after all - it is ASU. First we attempted to shoot pool, but the players heard there was a Farr on site ready to hustle so they got cold feet and monopolized the tables. Then we went dancing and had a few fluffy drinks at Fat Tuesday’s. After that it was off to the piano bar where they played Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and I danced on the stage along with the other birthday boys and girls who were a mere 39 years younger than I. Reminded me of my college days dancing on the tables. We finally rolled home around 2 am. Gosh, 60 is going to be fun.

What do you have planned for my 70th, children?

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