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That Time We Planned a Surprise Birthday Party
Also I learn to fix stuff and the kiddo has her first day of school.
Hello all 17 of you! I was doing so well with the weekly writing thing until I wasn’t. It’s been so busy with stuff here the last few weeks I have had zero time to be in front of a computer. In the past two weeks we’ve had a first day of school, a new job, jury duty and a big birthday party and more. Keep reading below to get caught up.
Item Number 1: The Birthday Party
The beautiful wife turns the mid-century mark in a few days from now so we (read: my mother in law) thought it would be fun to have a surprise birthday party. The plan was to surprise her in Pennsylvania where all her family was. Simple right?
This had to be the most complicated birthday party I have ever been involved in and I didn’t even do much work except to get her down there.
Mid August, the wee one was taken away from us for two weeks to spend time with Abuela and then we would drive down to Pennsylvania to pick her up. Simple enough right?
Of course nothing goes as planned here as our blissful two weeks of child free and adult only lifestyle was interrupted by both work and the fact that we were still hung over from COVID. We did manage to get to the movies to see Oppenheimer without having to cough up $100 for babysitting, so there’s that. Small Victories
By theory this should be a pretty easy plan: Kid goes away - wife picks up kid and gets surprised. Simple enough yes? Not when your wife is my wife. No way.
The surprise party was planned for Saturday afternoon. She wanted to go down Thursday afternoon. This was a problem. Then she wanted to go down Friday and that still wasn’t working because the party was Saturday! And there was party-getting-ready-stuff to do that she must not be aware of.
It was decided that her Dad would call and say she can’t come down earlier as they have plans that week, but she should come down for Saturday and meet at her sister’s house and the three of them would go out to a brew pub. That worked for the wife and we thought we were good with the surprise.
Nope. Not my wife. She gets it in her head that she needs to leave at 5am so she can be there lunchtime at the brew pub. This is not working for the surprise at all. So I get home Friday night from work at about 8pm and she’s still on this “leave early” thing and won’t let go.
I pretend I am tired and cranky and we should all just go to bed. Because if you know her at all you will know that she loves the bed and if I can get her into the bed then it’s smooth sailing as she definitely won’t get out of it at 5am.
I just didn’t set the alarm for 5:00am and there’s no way she would get up at five on her own accord so the timing was perfect. I got her out of bed at 7am and we were on the road by 8:00am which was perfect timing. I was told not to get there before 2:00 and we rolled up to the house at 2:15
We arrive, and walk to the back door and behind all the bushes were 50+ friends and family hiding. Surprise! It worked. She had no idea. It was awesome.
As we drive up to the house there are lots of cars parked on the street and she says to me “somebody’s having a party”. Yes, dear they are. It’s for you. It’s a good thing you don’t pay much attention to what the family members drive because otherwise the drive would be surprised.
A few things made this all work out in the end:
BW was told not to call on Friday to check on the little one as she was “very busy” and could not talk on the phone. BW just thought her mother had her going swimming and visiting friends but our child was very busy helping to decorate and even help with the cucumber salad.
Thank you to all of those involved for making this a success. It was a close call on more than one occasion but somehow we managed to pull it off. I do know I’m not planning another surprise party for some time now. Maybe for her 100th. We’ll see.
Item Number 2: The First of Many School Days
Like real school. Want to know how it’s real? We don’t have to pay for it! 1 This is a pretty big deal. Her daycare jacked the price to $325.00 a week that we no longer have to pay. I’m not sure where the ‘extra money’ we are supposed to have has gone but it’s safe to say there’s still no ‘extra money’ because we still have to feed/dress/entertain the wee one. Also, the Honda needed brakes.
A few weeks before she was a a little leery of the idea of leaving her old daycare but the night before she was jazzed to go as it meant she didn’t go to daycare anymore but she was going to a big girl school.
She decided that for pre-k eve she should wear the new fuzzy PJ’s that wifey bought for her for the fall. Trouble was it was like 90 degrees that night so she was super sweaty all night and probably a bit stinky by morning. We tossed clothes on her and got her out the door.
Our back to school day started with a very early start because she was so excited. We were early, like really early. We were at school a good half an hour before required. This gave us time to get to know here teacher and for the wee one to get acquainted with her new educational institution.
I’m happy to report that there’s been no problems with the new environment and she’s already made a best friend. The school is more structured with the lessons and there’s an app where I can directly message the teacher if need be. I also get updates on what she had for snacks and lunch that the school supplies!
She now gets to eat a lot of tuna sandwiches as it’s served a lot. Probably due to budgetary considerations. Safe to say she’s not thrilled and has already asked to take a lunch. Nope, not happening - you’re eating tuna.
Also, because she’s in big girl school she tells me she needs an iPhone. Keep dreaming sweetheart.
Item Number 3: Take This Job and Shove it
I have a new job! I was happily delivering smiles for some guy named Jeff for a few years now and thought I would bang out a few more years and then retire, but the universe - (or more likely, Jeff) decided that I needed to deliver from a new warehouse that’s a 40 minute drive away instead of the 12 minutes I was currently commuting.
The time of the drive wasn’t the problem - it was the location! This new warehouse is on the other side of town and that’s not really the problem but as they say in the real estate business it’s all about location. This new warehouse is located right along the edge of Lake Erie.
Want to know what else is along the lake? Snow. Lots and lots of snow. It would also be driving in the dark and due to my eye I doubt I would be able to pass the eye exam to drive the big truck and once you’ve driven it you can’t go back to driving the mini-vans.
So. I quit. This wan’t planned but now that it’s happened - it was time. I was getting a little old for driving at night - especially with my eyeball and slipping on snow and ice hurts more than when I was younger.
The workload was getting bigger and bigger too and the metrics were starting to get out of control due to the Karens in the world that would complain about their imperfect delivery even though they had their every desire delivered to her front door! (don’t get me started)
I was supposed to quit on the last day of the move to the new warehouse but BW got called to jury duty so it was hard to schedule me for work when I didn’t know if would be able to work until 6pm the night before. So, I called at noon on a Friday and packed it in.
So what now? Say hello to my new employer:
This Uber driving has actually been working out pretty well. I can take a day off when need be or I can just go out for a few hours on the weekends if we have nothing going on. The Honda is in pretty good shape for a 10 year old car so a few more miles should be okay on it as it only has to last us a few more years anyway.
My schedule is I wake early and drive from 5am to 2 p.m. and then go pick up the child from school at 2:30. Then we go home and have snacks and coffee and play outside if it’s nice or do crafts or something. There’s a “no tablet” rule on the weekdays here so I actually have to spend time with her and it’s been great!
This unexpected career change has actually turned out for the better as I have more family time as I am home every night for dinner and bedtime where we jump on the bed and have general silliness before the nightly bath happens and bedtime routine begins
The pay is pretty much the same as before delivering. I make a bit more but have to put a lot of gas in the car so at the end of the day it’s the same. The win is that due to the fact I can set my own schedule we save money on after-school care because now I am the after school care. This is about a $600 a month savings. That buys a lot of gas for the car.
Despite the fact this wasn’t planned so far so good. We’re happy and my family time has increased dramatically as I am home more and not driving around in the dark anymore.
Speaking of being home more…
Item Number 4: I Can Fix Things
A few days back BW texted me: the dryer is broken.
“Explain broken” I ask.
“It’s broken” she replies
Sigh. I asked her to describe the problem and not repeat herself.
“No heat? No spin? What?” I ask again.
“No Spin” she says.
So, I get home and have a look. She’s right - no spin.
The last time the dryer died we had a dopey repairman come out that looked like he just rolled out of bed and stunk like he never knew what a washing machine was so I figured I might have a stab a repairing this myself. It would be cheaper and less stinky.
I did a bit of research and found a roller kit for my model that was $35 so I figured this was a lot better price than a $300+ service call.
Now, how to fix it? YouTube University to the rescue! It took me all of 3 seconds to find a video on how to take apart the dryer to replace the rollers and the belt. Surely I could do this and this would fix it right?
Overall, after a few cuts due to sharp edges and some cursing and a few “Not right now! Daddy is busy!” outbursts - I managed to get this thing apart and the new rollers installed.
I also pulled out a pair of toddler pants and 2 pairs of Peppa Pig underpants out of the dryer motor which I am pretty sure was not supposed to be there.
Lo and behold I managed to take the whole thing apart and get it back together with just one extra screw at the end, which I figure isn’t too bad for a newbie with a Phillips screwdriver and lot of guts.
After getting it all put back together it was working fine for a few hours and then it started to rattle. So, I gave it a good shake and whack on the side and it’s been running like a top since.
Problem solved. For now.
Item number 5: The Dog Bed
When the dog was a puppy we bought the usual puppy starter kit: bowls, crate, toys, etc and also dog beds to go into the crates. So we ordered one. This one.
Amazon shipped us 12 of the things instead. We kept all 12 and gave a few to friends and over time we actually used all the dog beds as the dog would eat them until there was nothing left of them. So, it was time to get new dog beds according to the wife because the dog needs to be comfortable at all costs.
Wife chooses this one. This is the one you see above. It’s got a rip stop nylon fabric filled with some stuffing so it seems like it might be a little more indestructible than the previous ones that ended up being just a shell of their former selves.
Anyway. New dog beds come. Old beds get tossed and new ones get put inside crates and everyone goes to bed in ultimate comfort, yes? No. Not even close.
The dog would not get into the crate. I don’t know if it’s the height or the stability or what but there was no freaking way this dog was getting in the crate. We tried treats, shoving her in - everything. We tried letting her out and see if she would want to go back in on her own accord. Nothing.
In the meantime, BW has gone fast asleep leaving the dog bed problem to be my problem even though she was the one that had this fantastic idea and waited until bedtime to see if this would work.
Fine. The dog will finally go to bed, I figured so I went to bed. The dog can figure it out, or sleep on the floor.
This is not what happened. The dog paced, and paced, and paced.
Click, click, click on the floor for a good hour. There was no way this dog was getting into this thing and BW was off in slumber land. I decided to try and get the dog downstairs with me while I slept on the couch and she might use the new bed she has downstairs but nope, no love.
The dog slept on the floor beside me but because I was on the couch the dog was still anxious and nervous because she’s not used to me sleeping on the couch and also “what did you do to my crate?” she asked me. I’m sorry dog. I just live here too. You have to ask the boss.
It was a long and sleepless night for both of us.
Currently the dog has no beds in her crates and doesn’t seem to mind a bit and I’ve been sleeping like a baby so I’m good if the dog wants to sleep on hard plastic vs a nice soft bed. Life is full of bad choices and she chose plastic.
BW thinks that the dog will magically start lying on the bed one day but as you can see from the photo above the only visitor to the bed has been the child. It seems everybody doesn’t like the beds they have been assigned in this house.
Except for BW. I have a hard time getting her out of hers most mornings. :)
Until Next Time…
TH and Co.
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Well.. in cash every week. There’s still taxes. And Death.