Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Great Birthday

Yesterday was my husband's birthday...and I owed him big time. First, he got me soooo good on April Fool's Day that some payback was in order. Second, he had such a miserable birthday last year I knew this year had to be good. Miserable birthday's suck, and the more we can avoid them the better! Well I am happy to report mission accomplished on both counts.

My husband had been a pretty unhappy man the last few years. My health problems have completely redefined our reality in life and the compromises he has made, feelings he has had to stuff deep inside, sacrifices he has endured to see our marriage through "in sickness and in health" were taking their toll on him big time. Last year he refused to allow me to celebrate his birthday in any special way. He was depressed and morose and just wanted his 33rd to be over, not at all okay with where he was in life. I filed that memory away and vowed to myself that his 34th would be better. The beginning of this year did not find him much improved. He was extremely unhappy with his job, our financial situation, his career prospects, basically everything in his life except me (believe it or not) and the dog. He took a week of vacation from work just to sit at home and think. He needed to assess if he could implement an attitude adjustment to see his well-paid but totally unfulfilling gazillion-hours-a-week job through, or if he needed to cut his losses (and further our financial nightmare) and go look for something else. Sometimes a break and some perspective are all we need in life, and he went back to work after that week, still unhappy but renewed to serve his family in the best way possible and stick it out. But the proverbial shit had hit the fan during his absence, and there was DRAMA going on at the company... So one morning I woke to a message from him, pensive and stressed, to call him immediately. I returned his call and he declares in a weak and wobbly voice that he is so sorry, it is not his fault, but they just pushed him too far and he had hit one of his co-workers and been arrested! My heart did back flips leaping into my throat and out of my eyeballs as I begun to digest the reality of what he was telling me. He was now without a job, fired for sure, with criminal charges of assault against him, in jail...where was I going to get an attorney...oh the mess was compounding in my brain as he bursts out...April Fool's Day! Such a good thing he was not standing in front of me or I would have been a murderess and widow at the same time!

I am happy to report that 2010 has brought about tremendous circumstances and we both have had a re-birth out of our compounding misery. Towards the end of April we realized the life we were working so hard to achieve was not the one we even wanted. It was the one that was expected, what we were supposed to do. It started the day I wrote my post An Extraordinary Life and grew from there. I was ready to throw it all away and pile up in our truck and head to some romantic and adventurous South American city and start over. Not quite as insane as I am he didn't exactly go for that fantasy, but it got us both thinking, our creative juices flowing. He decided to chuck the long-standing plan to get his MBA, something he had convinced himself was a necessity for his financially lucrative but passionless business career. Instead he decided to embark on his dream and is studying acting, a long standing desire he had stuffed way back on the "impractical" shelf of life, for obvious reasons. But now he plans to pursue it, is in a great acting class and has already been in a student film! He is absolutely loving it and I see that passionate and excited spark back in his eye that died and was buried so long ago. Watching him grab his destiny and shape it into something his heart beats for gave me courage. I started really getting into my blogging and have watched my life align with my true purpose and am pursuing a career as a writer, leading the charge with my Fibromyalgia Crusade! We are both walking in absolute faith into the uncertain and unknown future and there is something so freeing about it...

So this year I was quite excited to celebrate his birthday. I was in the hospital for mine and decided to steal a bit of his thunder to celebrate my having survived those 2 strokes, viewing it as a joint birthday celebration. I called and made reservations at our favorite highfalutin steak & seafood restaurant we dream of for special occasions. Granted I had no way to pay for this expensive fine dining experience, but felt justified because we both deserved it, damn it! Then last week as we were going over our finances he made me promise no extravagance and it was blazingly obvious, the red far outweighing the black in our bank account, that I would have to cancel the prized reservations. Okay, time to get creative... I turned it around by surprising him with a new cell phone that he desperately needed. But in order to surprise him I had to steal his phone from him so I could have the new one set up and ready to go...and this is where the payback comes in. On Monday night I turned off his phone and hid it in my desk drawer. He frantically wakes me up at 5 o'clock yesterday morning searching for it. I played half-asleep and groggy (not that hard to do) and told him I had not seen it. I squinted at his hands and told him it was in his hand and he corrected me that my phone was in his hand, he was trying to call his phone with it but could not find it anywhere. So I gave him my business line cell to use and sent him on his way, sure he would figure out I was up to something. Keeping up the charade, when he called me from my phone for our morning chat I answered "Why are you calling me from Leah Tyler's phone?".

I picked a once-upon-a-time hot-spot, a fun and antiquated 1950's Tiki-Hut of a happy hour to host our dinner. We sat in the bar and ordered cheap appetizers galore and exotic rum cocktails (virgin for this stroke victim) and laughed and had fun, and the food was actually really good. When he got up to use the restroom I put the wrapped package with his new sleek, cutting-edge, just released super-duper phone on his chair and when he opened it he was shocked. Mission accomplished! He had no idea I was behind the missing phone charade and was so happy with his new toy I thought I was going to spend the rest of the evening "alone" as he set out to learn all the tricks and technology he now held in the palm of his hand. We eventually retired out to the patio and sat under the misters and he smoked a good cigar and we relaxed. Then we went to a little place that serves heaven on a dish in the form of bread pudding for desert and had such a fun night. We spent a fraction of what the fancy steakhouse would have cost us, had a great time, and more importantly learned to adapt to our circumstances. No we are not where we want to be in life right now, but where we are is really not that darn bad.

Thanks for joining,

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