Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Birthday Gone Wrong

Today (well, this past Sunday) is Bryce's birthday. He is 43, which is not a milestone number per se but a respectable one. And I had magical mystery plans for his birthday weekend.

So, so little of those have come to fruition. But like the rest of this past week, it's been a mix of good and bad.

We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner Friday, and had a surprise(ish, since the invite was open) visit from an old friend. It was a great evening, despite the fact that one of our servers we're friends with exclaimed, "Wow! You guys NEVER have friends, like EVER!" Thanks, lady.

Saturday I had a smorgasbord of experiences planned. Bryce didn't want presents this year (any year really) and so I planned out a whole day of fun things. Ithaca NY is just over an hour from here, and there are so many fun things to do there that we take day trips or overnights on a somewhat regular basis. Something we haven't done in a while is go to The Museum of The Earth, a really cool paleontology/evolutionary science museum tucked away outside of Ithaca. We went there a few years ago and it was really awesome and timed with some kind of Darwin anniversary, but we just haven't made it again since then despite wanting to and having good intentions.

My planned mystery itinerary went like this:
- Wake up whenever Bryce wants
- Have delicious breakfast involving bacon
- Get in car towards mystery destination
- Arrive at Museum of the Earth
- Enjoy Museum of the Earth
- Go for a walk either near the museum or in Ithaca proper
- Warm up and have lunch at the Moosewood Cafe
- Walk around/hike around Cornell Campus even though it's freezing
- Go to the art museum on the campus
- Walk some more and then hop in car
- Drive to Canandaigua to eat dinner at Rheinblick, a fabulous German restaurant that doesn't mind casual clothes
- Go home!

It sounds like a great day, no?

Except. We got up later than usual Saturday morning, and my eye was bothering me (more on that later). We ate our delicious breakfast that was more like brunch and I figured we could skip Moosewood and just do the other things, mostly indoor, and then go to dinner. There was still time.

And then our power went out.

We had been extraordinarily lucky, because there was a ginormous windstorm that swept through our area last week and it involved up to 81 mph gusts but sustained 60-something-mph winds, and it tore trees up and roofs off and put thousands upon thousands of people out of power. Not us, though. We had power but no internet, but even that came back on after 24 hours. I had a day off school thanks to widespread power outages and so many trees down. Although we had power, there were five big trees that had fallen but were leaning on the big power lines on the main road by our house, and we were afraid one would fall or something would happen when they were fixing things and we were going to lose power, just later.

So when the power went out on Saturday, Bryce freaked. I saw a neighbor walking his dog and he said that there were a few work trucks by where the downed trees were, so maybe they shut off the grid here so they could work safely. That made sense.

Bryce went into full prepper mode though, grabbing all the batteries and candles and a headlamp he got for Christmas and unplugging all major appliances...and he said even if it could be temporary, we had to be ready for the long haul and that meant we shouldn't go off gallivanting elsewhere. Also, he was worried about my eye.

So I helped get a zillion candles out from the candle drawers (yes, candle drawers) and then I told him what my plans were. I guess since the windchills were -10 all that outdoors stuff was ill-fated anyway, but how disappointing.

The power came back on after a bit over an hour, but then it was too late to make the trip for sure. So we decided for sure to postpone my day of fun for a warmer, less crazy day.

We went to see "Hidden Figures" and to dinner at Rheinblick as a partial substitute, which wasn't too shabby! I'd seen "Hidden Figures" when my best friend came to visit, but I was more than willing to see it again. So good, and it got the Bryce Math stamp of approval -- all the equations were real, and there was only one he thought was iffy but "It could just be a difference in notation." Such a smarty I married.

Dinner was completely delicious, with gluten free Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes with chunky homemade applesauce), yummy house salad with a red wine vinaigrette dressing, Schweinebraten (pork roast with gravy, braised red cabbage, and spaetzle) for Bryce and Schweinemedaillons (roast pork medallions in a white wine and mushroom cream sauce with veggies and pan fried potatoes) for me. Definitely not an everyday sort of meal, as the arteries would probably protest, but so, so yummy.

I brought my silly card and a small present to dinner (a silicone mold to make ice balls for whiskey/bourbon). The cards were memorable this year because everything was so crazy with freezing cold and fear of blackout, and it occurred to me how we have both stopped writing about family building in our cards. We used to say something about having gone through so much this year, blah blah blah, or "I can't wait to add to the love we share!" or something equally as forward-looking and hopeful. But after so many years of writing that message and having it BE PRETTY MUCH THE SAME year after year after year, we've decided just to focus on what we have now. The things we're proud of in each other, rather than what we wish was true. There's a sort of freedom in that.

The birthday REALLY went wrong when I woke up in the morning and my eye started to hurt. To be honest, it was sore all day Saturday but in a "I'm super aware of my eye" way instead of an "Oh GOD, my EYE! kind of way. But, I had spoken to my doctor about the eye that is still really quite unattractive on Friday and the office said if it started to hurt I needed to go to the ER.

So guess who spent 8 hours of his birthday in the Emergency Department of our biggest local hospital? This guy.

Worst. Birthday. Ever.
And it was because my eye looked like this:

Not my most flattering picture, but look! My eye matches my shirt!
I sort of like having two eyes. Two is better than one. And Bryce is incredibly protective of my health, sometimes in a way that makes me aggravated because I can actually advocate for myself and manage my own care, but it's sweet that he's so concerned.

And that is how we ended up having pizza for his birthday dinner and rushing through his presents so he could call his family, who had called throughout the day but not spoken to Bryce as WE WERE IN THE HOSPITAL. So you can imagine those calls took a little time.

I felt badly, because not only were my magical plans disrupted on Saturday, but Sunday was THE WORST and we didn't get to have the delicious dinner I had planned (because there was no time for the grocery shopping, which also turned out to be a disaster of sorts since there's this giant snowstorm sitting over us today). He didn't get to watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 on this weird channel we now get on local cable that he'd been looking forward to all day. And neither of us got any work done.

However, I can say that it will be a MEMORABLE birthday, that's for sure. And all things considered, we didn't do too terribly badly:

- Dinner at our Mexican restaurant Friday night with a surprise(ish) visit from an old friend
- Sleeping in on Saturday
- Going to a math-y movie
- Going to a delicious German restaurant, where Bryce wanted to go in the first place
- pizza for dinner Sunday night so no dishes (that one's a stretch)

So, happy birthday, Bryce -- 43 may not be a milestone but it sure got off to a wonky start. May the rest be smooth sailing!


  1. Sometimes the fondest memories come during what would be considered less than ideal. I'm glad you have power and that your eye is okay (it's okay, right?). And I'm glad you and Bryce got to be together to celebrate. Even if it didn't go as planned, you still got to be together.

  2. Oh No!! I hope your eye was ok and that it was nothing serious! I can't believe you had to spend 8! Hours in the ER. That is awful.
    Happy birthday Bryce. What a trooper.
    Hope you two are warm and safe from all this weather. We were supposed to get a huge amount, but ending up with only 5 or 6 inches, and so far the wind hasn't been too bad either.

  3. Oh gosh, things certainly didn't turn out as planned. Hopefully in time it'll be one of those days you can think back and laugh about! Is your eye ok now? Maybe next weekend you could try to fit in some of the fun things there wasn't time for. I laughed at the image of your server friend pointing out you normally have no friends at dinner. Sounds like she had no filter.

  4. Something tells me that this will be a birthday you'll remember even if it didn't go according to plan. I hope your eye is better now!

    Happy birthday, Bryce!

  5. Oh dear!! Well, you did get to do some fun things, even if you got a bit sidetracked along the way...! We had some pretty wicked winds here last week too, albeit not anywhere near as much snow as we were expecting. Happy birthday, Bryce!

  6. Um, any day that involves bacon for breakfast, is a good day!

  7. Definitely a memorable birthday...even if it is one that you aren't super excited to remember. At least you got to do some fun things mixed in with your ER visit. :-/