Saturday, February 25, 2012

Scorched Earth Birthday

Readers of Darrell's Yakimania will recall that last year there was a little controversy surrounding the battle between my son-in-law Nick Jordan and I about how to cooperate in the sharing of our birthday weeks. My birthday is February 24th and Nick's birthday is February 26th. Our birthday celebrations would invaribly bump up against each other causing tension and strife in our family. Last year a truce was called and Jimmer's birthday, February 25th was set aside as a birthday no-man's land, which we agreed that neither of us would try to celebrate or commandeer as our individual birthday time. This truce lasted exactly 363 days.
Yesterday was my special day. After working late in Kennewick on Thursday I drove to Portland to pick up Sheila. The plan was to go to Eugene to visit Nick, Syd and Evie to celebrate our birthdays. (Nick's birthday is Sunday.) I assumed that we would spend a nice day in Eugene celebrating my special day on Friday, on Saturday honor the truce we established, and then Saturday before we left to return to Yakima, have a brief pre-birthday celebration for Nick and give him a couple of modest gifts. The assumption was that Nick would not intrude into my birthdayness, and in particular, not besmirth my birthday with talk of his birthday on Friday.
No such luck. The truce has been shattered. As I was saying, it started on Thursday evening when I picked up Sheila in Portland. Sheila handed me a box of Paradise Bakery chocolate chip/coconut cookies (my favorite) and declared, "Happy Birthday, Honey. I bought your favorite cookies." "That was thoughtful Darling" I cheerfully replied. I am always thrilled to get pre-birthday gifts as part of my birthdayness. All was fine until Friday morning when she dropped the bomb, "Nick, I hope you don't overlook the cookies I brought you from Paradise Bakery for your birthday." "Say what?! I thought those cookies were for my birthday?" I screamed. As I thought about the rules relating to re-gifting I am pretty darn sure that you cannot re-gift a gift that does not belong to you. If the cookies were gifted to me as part of my birthday, what gives the She-wolf the right to re-gift my cookies to Nick?
Now I would like to say that this little faux pas by the She-wolf was the only bad thing to happen on my special day. Unfortunately, it was just the beginning. Nick suggested to everyone that instead of baking a cake, that we all go to a bakery and let me pick out a cake. Sounds great, right? No sireee! While I did in fact pick out a cake, so did everyone else--nothing special about that. Sheila then assigned me to go to the fly shop and REI and buy some nice gifts for Nick's birthday, while she and Sydney went shopping (For what else? Clothing for them!) All the while Nick and I were shopping for gifts FOR HIM on MY birthday, he keep referring to my special day as "the Eve of Jimmer's birthday."
After spending most of the day, shopping for gifts for Nick, Sheila suggested that we go watch Nick play in an intramural basketball game where we could root for him. Yeah, that's just what I want to do on my birthday! I thought. I was so busy shopping for Nick that I didn't get to the Oregon Running Store to buy the trail running shoes that I came to Oregon to buy. Instead, I went to Nick's game and enthusiastically rooted for Nick. Darcee showed up shortly after Nick's game and invited me to go running with her early Saturday morning. "Sorry, Darc, I don't have any shoes. I was so busy shopping for Nick on my special day that I didn't get to the store to buy the one thing I was hoping to get for my birthday." Instead of running this morning in my new trail shoes, I drowned my pity in several of Nick's special birthday cookies.
Now there are those who might read this and suspect that there is a tinge of hyperbole in this post. Not so--every word is true. However, what is also true is that I enjoyed a wonderful day shopping with Nick. I bought some things I really wanted (a GPS running watch, some luggage for travel with Sheila and some running tights. Most importantly, I enjoyed a fantastic birthday with all of my grand kids and special calls from my mom, Chelsea, Shea and Lil D. I am absolutely crazy about my kids (and even my sons-in-law). Nick and I had a lot of fun buying manly gifts for both of us. The grand kids were hilarious, of course.
Above is a picture of Nick stealing my cookies unable to hide his guilt.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh, Don't Worry.

My wife bought me a very nice wedding ring in May of 1979 with money she earned as a grocery bagger at Wray’s Grocery Store. I used to wear this ring with pride. It’s a beautiful ring really. Now back in the day when my waist size was a smaller number than my pant length, I apparently had thinner fingers. Circa 1979 I was wrestling in the 142lb. weight class. These days, I am happy when my weight is anything south of 2 bills. In-the-know readers of Darrell's Yakimania have commented that I have sausage fingers, whatever that means. An important point of this post is that I can no longer wear my wedding ring. I live a life style that often requires that I remove my wedding ring. Things such as, wrestling, rock climbing, lifting weights, etc. I have purchased a number of temporary rings to replace my wedding ring with the thought that I would eventually lose the weight and slip back into my real wedding ring.
Friends have suggested that I simply have the ring stretched. I consulted a jeweler, but he recommended against it because it would likely ruin the design of the ring. Because these temporary rings were just that—temporary—I have continued to lose them. Now I have mostly purchased cool CTR rings, and interesting rings from gas station jewelry display cases—you know the rings that in a week turn your finger green. The She-wolf commented that I don’t take care of my rings and continue to lose them because I know they are cheap rings and don’t value them. I suspect this is likely true.

For my birthday, I asked for a nicer ring; one that I would value and take care of—just like my original skinny ring that lies safely in the She-wolf’s jewelry drawer. While vacationing in Hawaii, the She-wolf found a beautiful Titanium and Koa wood ring—something perfect for a Wolverine, don’t you think?! However, I balked at the price of $195. I have become accustomed to spending nothing more that $19.99 on the temporary rings I have purchased over the years. Her response? “Oh don’t worry, that’s nothing compared to what you’re going to spend on the next ring you buy me!”
There was a very long pause. I gulped, laid down my plastic do-anything card and pulled the trigger on what is apparently a very inexpensive ring.

Little Boys

Anyone who has ever observed little children at play recognizes immediately the extreme difference in gender at even a very young age. This gender-based observation was on prominent display recently at a resort that Sheila and I were staying at in Hawaii. The Hilton Grand Waikoloa resort has a covered lanai with artwork, which runs the length of the resort—over a mile in length. While there is a train and aboat to transport guests to various locations on the resort, Sheila and I mostly walked the lanai. Every afternoon, we noticed that someone had strategically placed little stones at the rear end of the animal statuary to appear as dung. I was mildly amused and thought it funny. “Now what kind of person do you suppose would
do that?” I queried. “Well, you can be rest assured that it was not a female.” My wife replied. HmmmShe's probably right, I had to agree. As I thought about this further, I concluded that it was probably some young boys who recognized a prime opportunity at some quality humor. The resort staff would quickly remove the stones, but by afternoon, the dozens of statutes had all apparently defecated that morning’s breakfast. It’s embarrassing to admit that I found this whole scenario grossly amusing. I noticed grown men laughing when they observed the stone feces; their spouses on the other hand, exhibited obvious signs of disgust. The She-wolf, of course, was disappointed that I also found this all so entertaining; and was mortified when I wanted to document my keen gender-based observations for my blog with photographic evidence.
“What if someone thinks you are the culprit?” she asked.
I tried to reassure her, “I’m 55 years old, who’d suspect me?”
Her reply shocked me, "I know you and I think you're capable of exactly that!"
Wow was all I could muster.
While I can’t be certain the culprit(s) of these vulgar, random acts of humor was a young boy (Afterall, it could have been a grown man!), the She-wolf assures me that it was a not a female of any age.

An Little Indiscreet Dinner Table Revelation

The She-wolf and I recently celebrated a very romantic Valentine's Day in Hawaii. We went to
Kauai for several days for our annual firm retreat, after which we returned to the Big Island to the Hilton’s Grand Waikoloa resort. We had taken our kids to this resort about a decade ago and had a fabulous time. As a pre-Valentine Day gift my thoughtful wife gave me a totally awesome T-shirt that read: I Put the "Man" in Romance.

Enough said. If you buy yourself the shirt, you appear the desperate fool. It's absolutely meaningless. However, if your lover gifts you the shirt, YOU are the man! The fact that this shirt was gifted to me by my lover truly communicated something special to me. To say that I was thrilled, would be a mild understatement.

Now when it comes to the “Romance-O-Meter” I have always considered myself somewhere near the top. The Shirt simply confirmed what I already believed to be true. I planned on wearing The Shirt on Valentine’s Day—maybe even to a romantic dinner. Even though, a nice restaurant might frown at such casual attire, I reckoned that an exception would likely be countenanced for my wife’s romantic gesture.

Several days before Valentine’s Day, we were having dinner with our law partners at Roy's in Kauai, when Mistee Verhulp (one of my partners) asked the Sheila, “Do you have any special plans for Valentine’s Day?” My wife replied, “Not really. Although, we are trying to get reservations for The Beach House--a very nice restaurant that Darrell and I went to the night of our 20th Wedding anniversary.” I interjected, “I’m pretty sure we’re going to have one of the most romantic Valentine’s Day of our entire marriage! Sheila has already bought me a most amazing gift, haven't you Sheila?!” Sheila, was apparently a little embarrassed by my bragging and declared, “Oh, as a joke, I bought Darrell, a silly little shirt.” ...Total silence on my part… I was musing to myself: What do you mean a silly little shirt? That shirt says it all, doesn't it?! Totally unaware of the dumb-cow look on my face, Sheila, cruelly continued, “Yeah, as a joke, I bought Darrell a funny T-shirt, that reads, I Put the Man in Romance.” “Ha, Ha, Ha!” Everyone was laughing…everyone that is, but me! I was devastated. “You mean it was joke? I thought you meant it. Why else would you give me such a cool shirt?” The crushed look on my face said it all. When Sheila saw the wrecked pain in my face, she tried to recover and say something sweet about me. However, the truth was already firmly established—The Shirt was merely a joke!

I am not sure how to put all of this in perspective really. I know that my wife loves me. She thinks about me all the time and is constantly doing nice things for me. She builds me up and speaks words of passion and love all the time. Despite all of this, at some level, apparently she doesn’t take me all that seriously. Her indiscretion was a cruel and painful revelation for me. Now, the worldwide readership that is Darrell's Yakimania well know that the naked truth is sometimes best to be avoided—this is particularly true in marital relationships. Yes, we demand fidelity and trust, but the TRUTH? Most definitely not all of the time. There are times that we simply need to be contented with honor, commitment and a lifetime of loyalty. I think the truth of how she treats me every day speaks louder than a slogan on some silly T-shirt. So in the future if you catch me proudly wearing the very cool shirt my wife thoughtfully gifted me for Valentine’s Day, go ahead, eat your hearts out--she might have really meant it! Well, that’s my version of the truth regardless of her little indiscreet dinner table revelation.