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Thinking Out Loud

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy 33rd to Me >> The Worst Birthday Ever

Monday, January 2nd, was my 33rd birthday. I've had some real stinkers before, but this one really took the proverbial cake (no cake was actually taken or consumed on this birthday, however). My parents literally forgot about (or chose not to celebrate) my 18th birthday, so I wandered aimlessly out into the cold Wisconsin night for several hours. I had my first major back surgery on my 24th birthday, and woke up from surgery alone in a hallway, unable to feel anything from the waist down.

But this one was even better. At 5:15 AM, the tornado warning sirens went off as the electricity went out. Our family scrambled to grab flashlights and blankets and make our way down into the basement. My back is aching terribly, and is much worse in the morning before I've had a chance to take any medicine or stretch out -- fumbling around in the dark for flashlights and going back and forth up the stairs was agonizing.

Ben, almost three now, was pretty good, but was starting to get scared. He really had no idea what was going on. We eventually made our way back upstairs around 7 AM, and called the utility company, Ameren UE, to find out when the electricity would be back on. It was scheduled to be back online around 7:30 AM, so we decided to go out for breakfast to Denny's for my birthday.

After a grease-filled breakfast, we were all feeling pretty ill, but drudged back home to find the electricity was still off. Another call to Ameren UE told us it'd be up by 8:30 AM for sure. This time we took a shopping trip to Target and Best Buy to kill time. Upon our return, the electricity was still off. And by now I was really feeling lousy -- a headache and mild fever accompanied the sour stomach from breakfast. And the house had gotten pretty darn cold.

We drudged off to the mall, and returned to find the electricity still off. Ben started to get more and more concerned that our house was broken and started to get really fussy and ornery. Couldn't blame him -- I was getting really fussy and ornery, too. I was starting to become a wreck, and we were wondering if we had to find somewhere else to spend the night.

The electricity didn't come back on until almost 9:45 PM that night. Just long enough that some frozen goods had to be thrown out, as well as several things from the fridge (nothing like room temperature milk). And the leftover ice cream cake from Xmas -- earmarked for birthday consumption -- had completely disintegrated into a morass of goo.

When I broke down just after dinner and growled to Trish it was the worst birthday ever, Ben piped up and said "It's your birthday? Happy Birthday daddy!" ... Suddenly it wasn't so bad after all. Then he gave me a great big hug and said "It's ok to be scared of the dark, daddy. I love you."

Then Ben ate a snack and took a bath, in the dark, without so much as a fuss. Then scurried off to bed and gave me a big hug before drifting off to sleep. And he didn't make a peep until morning.

After Ben was in bed, Trish and I sat around in the dark, listening to some of the CDs we used to listen to while we were still dating, and talking about how it could have been much, much worse. We only lost our power -- no one was hurt, nothing was destroyed. We had clean drinking water. We had all our clothes. Our house was still standing.

Did I say worst birthday ever? It ended up being pretty special after all. In fact, I'm sure I'll remember this birthday far longer than many others.


  • Happy Birthday a day late! -Jon

    By Blogger Jon, at 1:47 PM  

  • Happy Birthday! Glad things worked out for you.

    Personally, I tell everyone that the best birthday present would be to pretend it's a normal day. Although I like cake and ice cream, I do not like to celebrate or make anything special out of it. I also hate all forms of greeting cards.

    By Blogger ekted, at 5:06 PM  

  • Happy belated birthday

    You guys could have let me know that your power was off... I'd have gladly taken you three in for a day.

    By Blogger hibikir, at 1:57 PM  

  • I appreciate the thought, hibikir -- but it was the sort of day that we all just wanted to mope around with... We spent most of the day out shopping or at restaurants anyway, so it could have been much, much worse! :P

    By Blogger Jason Little, at 3:22 PM  

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