the celebration of 39 years for me

I’m 39. It feels the same as 26 (the year after my car insurance got cheaper) through 38. Wait. That whole 39 thing might explain why I had to refer back to Twitter to piece this whole post together.

On the 17th, the day prior to my non-monumental birthday, I had the day off from work thanks to an awesome new benefit we rolled out at my work last month. Everyone gets their birthday off and still gets paid. I felt so much like Oprah when I got to announce that to 500+ people, even if I about two seconds from peeing my pants out of straight up nervousness while on stage.

With daycare already covered for the day, Amelia and I had total freedom of the need to talk about farts and cookies, hearing about Mickey Mouse Roadsters Racers and not having to refrain from saying bad words. We opted for breakfast first, at a place that didn’t serve pancakes with a smile made out of Cool Whip. It was so quiet. I didn’t have to lie to anyone about my phone not being charged or prevent anyone from trying to shove their Crayon down their straw.

And then, because I effin’ love mini-golf, we went to Can Can Wonderland. IT. WAS. AMAZING. Go. Go now. We were there at 10:15am because we like to party and got in pretty quick without any waiting at all. It was 18 holes of amazing work by artists that cannot possibly be beat in any other mini golf course that I’ve ever seen in my life. They have a pretty awesome bar selection, but I couldn’t convince myself to drink a cocktail called “Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!” that included cream cheese frosting syrup, birthday cake vodka, milk, sprinklers, sparklers and poppers. But that’s just because it was before noon. (I have some great pictures and feel like I owe it a much better review.)

Our next stop was going to be IKEA, but that plan came to a halt when I happened to look at Instagram and noticed another credit union released their third clue to find a hidden hockey puck that’s worth $1000. We did what we could to figure out the third clue and spent about an hour hunting through A Place but we didn’t turn anything up. There was another clue that was released yesterday and I really want to go back, but I have a feeling Toddler McCrazyTown isn’t going to be very helpful in our search.

IKEA came next. We had no list of things to buy to fill up our large SUV. We wanted to walk around all three floors without being in any hurry at all. We could look at any MYSINGSÖ or CHOKLADKROKANT BREDBAR we wanted to. (Totally real product names by the way. The second one had an allergy recall due to undeclared hazelnuts, so watch out, you guys.)

We stopped by Sonic because we never go to Sonic.

And then we went to the St. Paul location of I Like You because I wanted really, really badly to buy an All Are Welcome Here sign for our front yard. Midway through browsing the whole store, we got a text from daycare that someone we’re responsible for had a 101 fever. Childless birthday celebration: over.

We went to pick the little guy up and he looked like he’d been hit by a Mack truck. His daycare provider thought he might be coming down with something when it was nap time and he didn’t try to roll his sleeping bag back up and put it on the closet. Pretty much confirmed it for her when he didn’t want to get up for snack the second she started making it. Apparently he’s the first to wake up and the first to get a seat at the snack table. (Not my kid. At all.)

Our daycare lady (WHO IS TRULY INCREDIBLE) said they just know when you’re out doing something fun without them. Totally believe her.

Still one of the best birthdays I have ever had and I’m pretty excited that I get the opportunity to do something like this every year with this benefit.

I’d write about my actual birthday (the 18th), but it would include details like a trip to the Urgency Room with the aforementioned toddler’s 103 degree fever, projectile vomiting after chugging a juice box the nurse gave him, and ramming as many vinyl gloves as I could fit in my pocket. Life goals at 39, you guys, and I’m totally cool with them.

two semesters until my 20 year bachelor’s degree is complete

There only thing standing between me and a grubby little piece of paper saying I’ve received a Bachelor’s Degree is 20 credits. TWENTY. That’s five classes. I’m taking three of those this fall semester: Conflict Resolution, Organizational Behavior and (wait for it) The American Male. You like that third one, right?

I’m getting my degree from the College of Individualized Studies at Metro State University in St. Paul. What that means is I was able to go in and really customize my degree plan to things that I felt best fit into my area of concentration, which is Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Or I/O Psychology for those of you in the biz or those of you who just want to seem cool. My school offers a B.S. in Human Resource Management, but it required courses that caused me to break out in hives just by reading the titles: Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, College Algebra, Boring Spreadsheets III, How to Run Reports Nobody Will Care About, etc. I know how to do some of those and, for the rest, I just ask someone in another department to give me the answer. That’s how grown up jobs work, kids.

I’d originally selected a class called Psychological Testing. I wasn’t incredibly looking forward to it because it had proctored tests, which means actually going somewhere other than my couch to take a test and being super paranoid about the proctor standing over my should watching my every move. Or however that works.

Well, lo and behold, ONE WEEK before the semester was supposed to start, I happened to login to our Student Services portal to see that this Psychological Testing class has been dropped from my schedule. Did I mention it was one week before the semester was supposed to start? And did I mention that I have my next two semesters very specifically planned out? I know I definitely didn’t mention they didn’t notify me of this cancellation. That was my favorite part.

I emailed my advisor with a list of three options I felt would fit into my degree plan. He didn’t respond. The next day, I signed up for The American Male and emailed him to let him know that all the classes were filling up and there was no way in Hades I was going to push this out another semester. The third day, I emailed another person and left two voicemails, because HI, I MEAN BUSINESS. My advisor finally calls me back, says, “Wendy, you’re beating up on me today!” To which I respond with, “Here’s the thing, guy that reminds me from Stanley from The Office, we just need to wrap this up so I can graduate next semester. That’s all.” For some reason I’ll never quite understand and never really want to understand, he felt it appropriate to say, “Okay, okay, okay. You can spank me. I deserve it.”

Nope. Just nope. No, no, no. 

But I got over it pretty quick because he okayed the change on my very detailed degree plan and all was well in the world until I had to go pick up my books and explain to them I already had to return two of them because the class cancelled. That took over an hour and I’m pretty sure they marked the wrong ones as returned, but hey, whatever.

This semester wraps up mid-December. My last semester will include Statistics and my required Capstone class. If I don’t wind up curled up in the fetal position eating the Statistics book for a midnight snack, I’ll finally be finished in May of 1996. That’s exactly 20 years after I graduated from high school.

That’s the stuff Aesop’s fables are made from right there, you guys.

the things about november 4th

Besides the fact that it’s the day after this baby is about to be born, of course…

1. Civic Duty: Done. Amelia and I walked to our polling place when I got home from work and filled in our little bubbles. She was #654 and I was #655. I don’t know how many people are in our precinct, but since we’re in North Minneapolis and it’s just a mid-term election, I was pretty impressed that it was even that high. I get pretty proud of my neighborhood anytime I see people coming from different direction to get to the church. Getting out and walking to the polls is something that takes effort and I really do applaud that. It’s much easier to just skip it all, you know?

2. When I was in high school, this was always the time of year that basketball practice started. I only played high school basketball my freshman and junior years, because I felt like I had to just pick one thing to focus my talents on – basketball or band. I stuck with band and it’s gotten me really far in life. Wait. But still, I enjoyed it. And can still appreciate a really good (or really horrible) marching band halftime show.

3. It’s my friend Angie’s birthday. I have several friends named Angie, but this one here’s the one I’ve known since first grade and that’s gotta be right at 30 years. Holy shit. I don’t know how many trips to the McDonald’s drive thru we made when she had her driver’s license five whole months before me! I have many, many stories that I could share about Angie, but I think the best story of them all is the fact that I can still text her out of the blue and it’s like it hasn’t been months on end since we’ve talked. Those are the kind of friends you always need to have in your life, you know?

4. I’m pretty sure my parental leave started today. And, hey, let’s get rid of titles like maternity and paternity leave, can we? Because even the law doesn’t call it that anymore.

i don’t even know what happened over the last two months

Oh wait. I do. And it’s a lot.

  • We toured The Mother Baby Center just to see what it was like and we were greatly pleased. Free Wifi, Pizza Luce delivers, there’s an underground walkway to McDonald’s – what’s not to love about that?
  • The baby growing process moved into Trimester #3.
  • We celebrated that by taking a trip to New York with Jenni, Matt and Jumi, and we did A LOT OF THINGS.
  • Went to a couple of job fairs.
  • Had an awesome baby shower thrown by Shawn and Jenni.
  • Went to a few Lynx games and got sad when they didn’t beat Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals.
  • Ash, Jenny and I participated in Habitat for Humanity in North Minneapolis and helped some folks five minutes from our house build their home. It was amazing.
  • Went to the Minnesota State Fair with my wife while my kid went to see Paramore and Fall Out Boy
  • Went camping for a night with Matt and Jenni down in Albert Lea.
  • Volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. So humbling and yet so rewarding.
  • Went to go see Book of Mormon at the Orpheum! I laughed until I hurt and I don’t even care how inappropriate that might have been.
  • I ran a 5K! Well, I ran a good chunk of it anyway and I felt really good about it. It was the HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer, in memory and honor of our friend Kristin. I want to run another one soon!
  • We started and completed our childbirth classes! And truly, I’m so glad we did it. I feel much better now.
  • We had a 32 week ultrasound for the baby and he was measuring at 37 weeks, so he’s gonna be a big one. Save your money and don’t buy newborn clothes for Chunk, okay?
  • We got amazing gifts in the mail from our friends – Chele and Marshall sent us the most adorable Pack and Play and Robin sent us an absolutely beautiful stroller that we’re excited to use.
  • Ash took the ACT and got his score back already. His score will get him into any school he’s interested in regardless of his GPA, but we’re not telling him about that last part. He was so proud of himself and that made me happier than anything.
  • Amelia and I participated in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk to raise awareness for suicide. It was heartbreaking.
  • We test drove a ton of cars and ended up buying the very first one we test drove. We’re super happy with it and it’s so nice to be a two car household now.
  • We met with a couple of doulas and decided to hire one. The idea of someone else being able to deal with the stressful things while I do everything I can to make sure my wife has as much support as she needs is worth its weight in gold.
  • Ash and I paddled 14.6 miles down the Mississippi River during the Mightyssippi Adventure. I took many ibuprofen. It was really awesome and a lot slower than I expected actually!
  • And, you know, work, school, baby prep, etc.

The last two nights, I’ve gone home and done absolutely nothing, because that’s all I’ve had the energy to do. I’m hoping when I get home tonight, I’ll be feeling a little more motivated to hang some shelves or fold some baby clothes or something. There are things that need to be done and I’m just struggling. I’m stressed up to the very top of my skull in multiple things right now and I’m kind of disappointed in the way I’ve been handling it. I don’t expect to be a pro or anything, but there’s only so much Sims Freeplay I play before I start wearing sweatpants to work.

the last year has seriously flown

My desk on the last day at my last job.

Exactly one year ago today, I was at the Imperial Room with co-workers from my previous job, and I was in the process of getting absolutely obliterated on drinks that I couldn’t keep track of at all. Later, I would puke on the back porch. My wife would probably tell you more about that if you wanted the details. The hardest part for me was leaving some of my co-workers (the non-homophobic ones) and the CEO, who was an enormous catalyst in my professional growth over those five years. The easiest part for me was everything else. I won’t go into detail, but I’m sure you can read them in my future memoir and it will likely take up 43 chapters with very few pictures.

And since then… man. You know how they say you shouldn’t do ALL OF THE LIFE CHANGES at once? Well, screw that. In the past 365 days, we’ve done some things.

  • I started a new very awesome job.
  • We celebrated Minnesota legalizing gay marriage.
  • We went camping.
  • I started going back to school.
  • We went to Vegas.
  • We got married.
  • We saw Macklemore.
  • We went camping again.
  • I went to Missouri in October.
  • We went to Missouri for Christmas.
  • Amelia started going back to school.
  • We went up north for a cabin weekend.
  • The Kid switched schools.
  • We got pregnant.

I don’t necessarily know that the next year will slow down with things on the agenda like going to Montana, graduating with my AA in Liberal Arts, going to New York, buying a new car, starting my Bachelor’s program, and having a baby all on the agenda for the next six or seven months.

When I put it all into perspective, I can’t wait to come back and look at this post again in 365 days when we’ll have an almost six month old and a 17 year old a month away from graduating high school.

This is probably a gimme, but I’m pretty happy with this life of mine right now.