Chuck's birthday is this weekend. Truth be told, I've helped him celebrate in some pretty epic ways. There was the surprise party with ghoulish decor. Then there was the thoughtful brick. One year I beamed him back up. Then there was the boob cake, which I guess I never blogged about it—but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Every year I try to remember how we celebrated his previous birthday, so I can do something cooler. I'm awesome like that. But because my memory often fails me, I have to outsource the task to others, say, to Chuck, and sometimes he proves to be an unreliable narrator. Take last night, for example.
Me: Your birthday's coming up. What do you want to do?
Chuck: You're so amazing. It doesn't matter.
Me: But baby, I'll do anything to make your birthday spectacular! Just name it!
Chuck: You do so much already, please, don't make a fuss. In fact, you are present enough. Hold me.
Me: Hold on. What did we do last year? I can't remember...
Chuck: [Looking nervous] I actually don't remember either. What's for dinner?
Me: No, hold on, I was pregnant and...
And that's when it all came flooding back to me.
See, Chuck and I both work in the same city in Connecticut, about an hour away from home. He had left work and was on his way home. I had just left work and was heading home myself when my mother—who was babysitting—called and said, "Chuck's birthday is this weekend. Why don't you two get a hotel room?"
Even though I was four months pregnant, exhausted and racked with constant bouts of nausea and crying, I thought this sounded like a fabulous idea. I eagerly called Chuck.
Me: Let's get a room for your birthday!
Chuck: [Long pause] We could do that...
Me: Don't sound so excited.
Chuck: It's just that...
Me: It's just that what?
Chuck: Wouldn't it be nicer if we waited until you were feeling better? You're usually out cold by nine...
He kept talking, but in my heightened hormonal state all I heard was I DON'T LOVE YOU.
Me: I have to go now.
I spent the next few hours driving around, crying and shopping. I sat outside Pier One, sniveling, for a solid 30 minutes before venturing inside. I stopped crying long enough to buy two sequined pumpkins and an oil reed diffuser, then sat back in the driver's seat and bawled all over again.
Soon it was 9:30 p.m.
Chuck called, I didn't pick up. My mother called, I picked up. She suggested, delicately, that I get a room by myself and get a good night's sleep. I tried to check myself into the nearest hotel only to be told they were booked. I drove to a package store and sat in the parking lot. I cried some more—mostly over how I couldn't drink any more.
I j--j--j--ust ne--ee---ee-ed v--v--v--odka...
Then, just like it was when I was pregnant with Junior and having a Bruce Banner moment—when he comes to, wearing his shredded clothing?!—it was over. I called Chuck and calmly explained that I was going to sleep at my girlfriend's, instead of make the hour drive home. He said he thought that was a good idea, and that he loved me very much. I sped away into the night and slept for a solid 10 hours.
But back to last night, and my conversation with Chuck about what he wants to do for his birthday this year.
Me: So what do you want to do????
Chuck: Whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper whisper.
Me: Really? That again?
About me: I'm 40 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 8-year-old Junior, our 5-year-old Everett, our baby and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.