Thursday, March 27, 2008

Older...wiser..and well rested.

So, I took yesterday off from blogging, not because I was being lazy, but because it was my birthday. After a full day of indulging, I got home so late, all I could do was collapse in bed. It was an awesome day from start to end, and for that I have to credit my husband, Monkey Sr. A lot of people pitched in and made this a super special birthday for me, but Monkey Sr. orchestrated the day knowing full well what my idea of fun is.

To put it in some perspective, allow me to relate the back story.

It began the night before my birthday. It had been a rough afternoon. I'm always complaining about the "witching hour." For those of you without kids, this is the time of the evening when all hell breaks loose, dinner needs to be made, the kids need to be fed, the dog needs to be fed, the kids bathed, kept entertained, read to, medicated, the disaster you've created in the kitchen needs to be dealt with, the kids put to sleep, etc. In our house, 5:00 - 8:00 pm is the final leg of the marathon. If I don't answer the phone, it's because you've called during these three hours and I am up to my eyeballs in muck and guck and don't have another hand to pick up that annoying ringing thing called the phone. Rest assured knowing that I am throwing looks of death at the phone the entire time.

So, despite the fun we enjoyed earlier, the monkeys were in full blown meltdown, tantrum, mess-making, and food-refusing mode. They were both still recovering from colds, so that didn't help. After I put them to bed, eventually, I just collapsed. I felt like crying because I was full of self-pity at the thought that my birthday was the next day, and I was old, and tired, and beat down by the combined efforts of two kids that barely reached my thigh in height. Right, full on pity party.

Enter Monkey Sr. He took one look at me, and gave me my birthday present early. It was in a little bag. It was a collection of gift cards - to be used by me, on my birthday. There were specific instructions that I was to take the day off and enjoy myself. I was not to spend a dime on anyone other than myself. Monkey Sr., unasked, had taken the day off from work to care for the kids while I shopped away in NYC to my heart's content.

Naturally, I burst into tears. It wasn't the prospect of a shopping marathon that threw me into such was the idea that he took the day off. As hard as he works, he took the day off to work even harder and take care of the monkeys while I spent the day spending that hard-earned money.

Every time I think he's the most considerate husband in the world, he goes off and raises the bar another level. Thanks Monkey. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday... or a better man to spend the rest of my life with.

So, enough gushing. On to the shopping! Bright and early, I jumped on the NJ transit bus and hit the big Apple for some hard core, child-free shopping. First stop - Herald Square.

Macy's was having its annual flower show. The first floor was awash in colors, but the windows were truly amazing. In my typical burst of carefully planned bag packing, I remembered to bring my camera - but forgot to put the memory chip back in after downloading pictures from the night before. Argh. Thank goodness for the talent of others on Flickr.

photocredit: varanaus

Inside, I savored the thrill of leisurely walking from floor to floor, idly browsing through dresses, makeup, shoes! Oh the shoes!! No one was tugging on my hand, no one was trying to break free and run in the opposite direction, no one was demanding yet another animal cracker as payment for silence.

photocredit: ciboulette

After exhausting myself in that store, I hit the Sephora nearby and treated myself to a lovely blush by Nars. I got it in Portofino.

Then I did what I used to love to do in Manhattan - walk. I took the train down to Chambers street, got out, and walked up the length of Broadway through Soho. NYC is a walking town. There's no better way to appreciate the magnitude of the sensory experience. Along the way, I stopped in at a teeny cafe called Hampton Chutney - famous for its mile long Dosas.

photocredit: Gralee

Eventually, I hopped on the bus and returned home. There, I was greeted by even more surprises -

spa gift certificates! (Thank you Nataliya!!! You are coming with me!), gift bags filled with my favorite bath products!! (Thanks Helene and Michael!), and even birthday cards with cash! ( and dad...thank!) Seriously, could this day get any better?

It did. After getting dressed to go out to dinner with Monkey sr., the little guy saw me, and did the kiddy-equivalent of a double take. He doesn't see me made up too often, so I guess it threw him. But he smiled, and said:

"mommy..." all soft and sweet and just about crushed me with his gentle baby voice.

Monkey Sr. and I posed for a picture, but Jordan insisted on being in it. Mina probably would have too, except she was in bed already.

Spicy duck meatballs with quail egg. photcredit: jeffrey_allen

An adult dinner, with adult conversation, great food, and even better company. This was just about the most perfect birthday ever. Feeling pretty darn lucky right about now. Life is good.

I told Mina all about it at snack time today. She was awed.
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