So! A couple of weeks ago I had a birthday! I turned 31. It seemed like a little less of a milestone, though I guess it IS the actual start of a new decade. In any case, I was looking forward to it, and it turned out to be quite an exciting and drawn-out celebration indeed.
First things first, as a sort of early present to myself, I finally paid off my one and only student loan. Story time: Once upon a time I graduated from BYU with zero debt. Then for some ridiculous reason(s) I decided to go back to school for another year, thus acquiring my first-ever student loan. And then, one glorious day of days, days and months and years later, my unnecessary extra year of college and one and only student loan was paid off. A happy ending!
On my actual birthday (excluding the workday formalities), The Wife and I were able to revel in birthday festivities, which included surprise presents throughout the day. Julie started off the day by giving me the boxed set of The Hunger Games, complete with two tickets to the movie on opening night! (So that's why she was so insistent we go that night instead of the day before or the day after... And I don't know why it didn't occur to me that we hadn't bought tickets yet.) There were lots of Facebook messages (Facebook birthday parties are the best!) and this remarkable little number from Elise:
And this epic piece from my co-worker, Matt:
|I am da king today.|
That night we went to dinner at Brick Oven (where they have finally provided bigger plates at the salad bar... this may seem silly, but trust me, it's a big deal), and then had a double feature of new movies about old movies -- We saw The Artist at the Thanksgiving Point theaters, which was really quite good and not at all the artsy, pretentious snoozefest I was for whatever reason expecting (I blame it on its popularity at the Oscars this year), and then watched Hugo from the Redbox, which kind of WAS the artsy, pretentious snoozefest I expected, though there were some things I liked about it (but was it better than Harry Potter, which DIDN'T get a hefty handful of nominations? No way).
|Yes, the Chicken Al Forno was probably the best thing I've ever had there, and I have had MANY things there.|
|This is Julie's best picture face, I tend to think.|
The excitement about next day was that we finally conquered Donkey Kong Country Returns (the origin of which we are still unaware, but for which we are still grateful). We have been stuck on the last boss for pretty much three months, just because we were too scared to go back and try to beat him. But beat him we did! I promise we only looked at YouTube walkthroughs once or twice. I'm not ashamed. It must have been the luck o' the Irish.
|BLEARGH, beware the hands. They will slice you! And they don't play fair!|
The Sunday following we had a fun family get-together for me and Jonny, whose birthday is the day before mine), which included lasagna and lots of other likewise yummy food and one of Julie's exquisite cakes, which was a huge hit, and a nice round of arm- and leg-wrestling (I was the champion at leg-wrestling for a minute until Jake dethroned me), the effects of which I felt in my neck for the next few days.
|We didn't get a picture of the full cake, but here's the remains. It was strawberry chocolate, and it was very popular.|
It was a great weekend, and each day had its delights. So by the time we went back to work, I pretty much thought the fun was done. We went about our daily lives, and my supply of birthday cereal of Lucky Charms slowly diminished.
BUT, fast-forward to last Friday night, when we had our big Hunger Games night. I was actually really excited for the movie, though it's been a couple of years since I read the books, and even then I only liked them pretty well, not like they were the BEST BOOKS EVER to me or anything (though I still avoided spoilers, and wish to this day those dumb girls at that wedding reception hadn't been blathering about the ending of the third book SO loudly when it had just come out like two days before). Anyway, apparently in this case, time and hype have worked some wonders, and I was very much looking forward to what looked so amazing from the trailers. Julie surprised me with some magical shirts that combined two of our favorite book/movie series, and then off we went to the movie theater. Imagine my surprise when I saw appear, one by one, my very best friends in the lobby! At first I thought it was some kind of amazing coincidence, but then I realized that couldn't possibly be the case, especially as more and more appeared, and then of course my parents of all people. What a clever and resourceful and thoughtful (and secretive!) wife I have! She really knows how to plan a surprise! Besides how well she pulled off the weeks-long plan, my evident inability to catch on to major hints and spoilers by unwitting friends and family helped. Seriously, a couple of people basically said things right out, and I still somehow didn't get it. I like to think I'm marginally clever myself, but when it comes to surprise parties, I guess I'm a good guy to throw one for.
|So excited for the movie!|
|This is Julie the Hostess being pleased that I'm surprised, and me the Birthday Boy actually being surprised.|
So that was it! Birthdays have always been fun, but as the years go by and one enters one's adult years the excitement kind of wears off, but ever since I had a Wife, they have been really fun again! I can't wait until my next one. :D