Well, this week I actually turned 40. And instead of me having to look even more desperately on the bright side, by this point everything seems to be positive. Forty is the beginning of a new decade, not the end of an old one. It's where I don't have to bust my ass to be noticed for what I do. I've already carried, laboured and delivered two wonderful children; now I get to watch them grow up and be amazing. Everyone is telling me how much they enjoyed (or are enjoying) their forties. So now I approach this next decade with excitement, not trepidation.
And with that, I don't know how I'm going to keep this to 10 things, but I'll try.
1. The Big One. So... a few weeks ago my best friend Sue said she wanted to take me out the day after my birthday, on Saturday. We'd go shopping, have mani/pedis, and just hang out. On Friday, the actual day of, my husband arranged for her, his parents, and my mom and all of us to go out to dinner, and it was lovely. The next morning I got up bright and early, got all dressed up, and off Sue and I went on our shopping excursion. While waiting for our nails to dry, I said she should stick around for dinner. She thought about it for a second (she has a dog that needs to be walked and fed so I just assumed she was thinking about how long she could leave Lucy) and said, "Sure, that sounds great!" At 3:30 we pulled back into the driveway and just as we were walking towards the door and I was saying, "You know what we should do right now? Have a nap!" I opened the door... and about 30 people jumped out and yelled SURPRISE!!!
Now, in case you don't know this about me, my Spidey senses are always tingling (mostly because I'm a control freak). Few things have made it past me. Mostly because my husband can't keep a secret to save his life. He's revealed most surprises to me right before they've happened (parties arranged by other people, gifts they or he have bought me) and his voice takes on a different tone when he's lying. After 23 years, I can see right through him. Or... so I thought. Also, there was this weird thing where my brother and his wife, and my dad and his wife, weren't coming until the following weekend. I couldn't figure out why they were waiting until the following weekend. And I couldn't figure out why I received a total of two cards on my birthday (but that one I chalked up to the Easter weekend preceding it, hoping it threw off Canada Post and maybe... maybe?... my friends and family had sent them but they weren't arriving until the following week?) I don't expect any attention, cards, or even gifts for normal birthdays, but this is 40, people!
And then in this one moment, everything became clear. There was my brother, and my three sisters-in-law and my brother-in-law, and my dad and my stepmom, and my mom, and my parents-in-law, and my aunts and my uncle and cousin and his wife and their three kids and neighbours and friends and friends and friends. When I walked in I think I just stood there for a second, unable to comprehend what exactly was happening (see here for an account of me being slow on the uptake) and then once it was actually beginning to dawn on me, I was speechless. Luckily my brother happened to be standing there and took pictures of me in shock. Note my best friend Sue, standing beside me, who was my husband's co-conspirator, and my daughter standing off to the right on the stairs, on her tippy-toes with excitement. Apparently she knew. How did they make it through the week without her telling me??
|You can't tell from the picture, but my fingernails are perfectly manicured.|
I don't have enough x's and o's to thank my conspiratorial husband and best friend enough for pulling this off. He was able to rattle off things like, "Remember when I said I was going to this golf show in St. Thomas? Or that I was meeting with someone downtown? I was actually with Sue and we were planning your party." Which had me partly in awe and partly thinking, "Wow. I need to start paying more attention. Um... what else could these two get up to?"
2. During the party, all of the kids wanted to play cops and robbers. And they somehow labelled my brother and me as the robbers and they were the cops. We had one minute to hide. We ran upstairs and I jumped into the kids' bathtub. "Holy crap, that is the WORST hiding spot!" said my brother, and he darted away. I got out and went after him. Into our closet we went. I immediately dived under my husband's side of the closet, huddled under his golf shirts that were hanging on the low rack, and pulled a suitcase over my feet. Silence on the other side of the closet. Nothing outside. Where the hell were the kids? I parted the clothes, my eyes adjusted to the dark, and my brother was just standing there.
"What are you doing?!" I whisper-screamed. "You're not even hiding!!"
"You have laundry baskets all on this side, I can't exactly get under there. I AM HIDING."
And between our fits of laughter and then silence and mock bickering while we waited for the children WHO NEVER CAME, I felt like I was eight again, hiding at my grandparents' house. Forty? Who the hell's forty?
"You know, we should have hid in the bathtub because at least it wasn't HOTTER THAN HELL in there underneath all these damn golf shirts! And why the hell are we hiding so well, don't we WANT the kids to find us? Oh wait, correction, why am I hiding so well? You're not hiding at all."
"Oh my god there are laundry baskets on this side!!!"
Then, after 10 minutes, we gave up and crawled back out and went downstairs. We told the kids they were the worst cops ever, and my brother, a lawyer, said he'd had time to go to a judge and get a protection notice so they can go find other robbers.
3. I'm working on a book on Doctor Who for the 50th anniversary, as many of you know, and it's called Who's 50 (the title refers to the fact that the show is 50, and also that it's a collection of the 50 Doctor Who stories you should see before you die. Best title ever? YES. And this is the amazing cover:
My co-workers at ECW, the publisher of the book and the company I sadly left in June to turn freelance (but the company I'm still working with as as freelancer) rejigged the cover to create a birthday card for me, which the publisher brought yesterday when he showed up at the surprise party:
I seriously cannot stop laughing at this.
4. I woke up on my 40th birthday morning to my five-year-old son standing beside my bed singing "Happy birthday." As I tried to open my eyes, he sang his little heart out, and then got to the end and said, "Are ya one? Are ya two? Are ya three?" then paused and said, "Are ya 10? Are ya 20?" quickly realizing that was the MUCH quicker way to go. Haha!
5. My brother has a French bulldog with the most amazing face in the world. Everyone talks about Grumpy Cat, but I think Nessa (named for the character on Gavin and Stacey) has a face to end all faces. When we were kids, we always talked in the "ermahgerd" accent and no one in our family could understand a bloody word we were saying to each other (basically you just talk out of the side of your mouth and add "er" sounds to every syllable). Which was the point. Then the "Ermahgerd" meme took off and it's been pretty much our favourite thing over the last year. So on my birthday, he posted pics of his dog expressing her birthday wishes to me:
This dog should be in commercials.
6. I was recognized when I was at dinner on Friday. Two people were sitting in the restaurant and at one point my husband said, "Don't look now, but I think the guy behind you is wearing a Doctor Who shirt." I waited, slowly turned, and it was the Tennant "Don't blink" warning from "Blink" written out. What I didn't know was those same two people were looking at me and trying to figure out if I was Nikki Stafford. One of them tweeted at me but I wasn't paying attention to my phone and so they finally came over and the woman said, "You ARE Nikki Stafford!" It was an awesome moment.
7. I admitted on my Facebook page that I was 40, and a few people emailed me and asked if I was actually kidding around, because they had me pegged for several years younger. My vanity counter skyrocketed. :)
8. As an early birthday present, my husband and I went to Detroit earlier in the week to see Sigur Ros at the Fox Theatre. The show was MINDBLOWINGLY GOOD. And the Fox Theatre is just so remarkable and gorgeous, it was the perfect place to see them (the last time I'd been there was to see Radiohead play on the OK Computer tour). Sigur are easily my favourite band, and extraordinary live. If you haven't listened to them, please please please do. It'll change your life.
9. On my birthday, the number of well wishes on Facebook that involved Buffy, Lost, and Doctor Who were overwhelming. I love that people know me so well. And I loved this particular one so much I made it my profile pic:
10. Realizing that the people who I love, admire, respect, and adore feel the same way about me. This is going to be the best decade ever.