June 7, 2009


Posted in Happy (Insert Holiday Here) tagged at 3:53 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

So…yesterday was my 30th birthday. I never really dreaded turning 30, although everyone seems to assume that I did. It doesn’t feel any different, doesn’t change anything. It’s just that I have to remember for the next year…that I’m THIRTY.

It was a nice day – my husband snatched Milly out of bed first thing and took her downstairs with him, which meant that I got to roll over and pull the covers up under my chin for a little while. This may not sound like a treat to most people, but just being able to pull the covers waaaaay up is al ittle luxury when you usually sleep with a toddler and have to keep them pushed down far enough so as not to cover her little face. Anyway, they were back in a little while with breakfast in bed, and several homemade cards and gifts from Rachael. I loved the little gift – crudely wrapped in wrinkled Christmas paper that she’s been wrapping gifts for her Barbies in for the past six months, and well taped. Inside was an artificial pink rose that came off a bunch of roses in her dress-up drawer. She told me that it was perfect because it would never die and I could keep it forever. Awwww!

The “eh” part of my day came when I had to go to the DMV to renew my driver’s license…which expires on your 30th birthday. Oops. Rachael came along with me and wanted very badly to take her own vision test, but the lady behind the counter had already flipped out over another kid touching the testing machine, so naturally I didn’t let her. I did point to a sign and ask her to read it, and loved watching the lady’s mouth drop open when my five-year-old started reading about saving five dollars by renewing your vehicle registration online… *snickers*

Then we were off to visit with my mom for the evening. We met for dinner at Ruby Tuesday…my first margarita in a looooong time, and it was nowhere near as good as the frozen margaritas at a little Mexican restaurant closer to home. Then we went to the movies and saw “Up” in 3D – I knew that Rachael was dying to see it, and the previews did look good. And it was good, I guess, except for several spots that will make any woman tear up…don’t know why Pixar has to do that to us. But Rachael loved it and, if you want to get absolutely technical about it, I actually turned 30 during the movie, at 8:37 p.m.

As good as Friday was, things really got interesting on Saturday…

Gene had been telling me for two weeks to not plan anything on Saturday. Nothing. At all. So when a friend called on Friday evening to ask me to go out geocaching with her on Saturday morning, to double-check her coordinates on some new caches she was placing, I wasn’t so sure. Gene told me to go ahead though, and just be sure to be home by 2, which was when we needed to leave. Tonya was coming to pick me up at noon, so I made sure that I was dressed to go out before leaving, and I had the girls ready to go as well.

Backing up just a bit…I’ll admit that I was having some minor anxiety issues on Friday night, and demanded that Gene ‘fess up if he was planning anything big. He swore that he wasn’t, and reminded me that I already knew I’d be seeing my dad and stepmom on Saturday. So, I was pretty sure we were going out to dinner with them. And I assumed that it would be somewhere out of town (most nicer restaurants are out of town, for us) since we were leaving at 2…

Well, Tonya and I passed by the street where our church is located and, out of habit, I glanced over at it. And there in the parking lot was my mom’s car. And a motorcycle that looked suspiciously like my uncle’s. Hmmm. Okay, I thought. So maybe we were having a family thing and eating in the church fellowship hall, the way that we did for my mom’s 50th birthday this past February. No big deal, I thought. I made a comment about this to Tonya, and she was confused – she thought we went to a church closer to home. As it turned out, the caches that she had hidden were all at churches. She arranged it as a multi-cache, one where you find coordinates at the first stop that lead you to the next, coordinates at the second stop that lead you to the next, and so on. She had deliberately chosen smaller, lesser known churches in the area…and one of them was ours! How funny! Our church was the fourth stop, though, so we visited the others first, checked the coordinates, and then pulled into our church’s parking lot.

We crossed the street toward the fellowship hall, my thinking all the time that I really hoped my mom didn’t look out the window. She wouldn’t know that I was out caching this morning with Tonya, that there just so happened to be a cache here. I was hoping we could check the coordinates quickly and be on the way…even if I knew that I was meeting Mom here later, SHE didn’t have to know that the surprise had inadvertently been ruined, right? So Tonya took me around the side of the building to the power meter and pointed out the tiny magnetic nano cache that she had stuck behind it. Just as I leaned toward the building to see the tiny nano…LOTS of people leaned out from the side of the building and yelled “SURPRISE!!!”  Needless to say, I nearly had a heart attack then and there. It took several seconds to fully register what was going on…that Tonya was in on the whole thing…that our errands were nothing more than a means to get me in the right place at the right time!

So I headed up to greet everyone. Gene and the girls had left right behind us to get there ahead of us. My mom was there, with her husband and his kids. Our friend Junior. My stepbrother Mark and Uncle Buddy. My friend Michelle and her husband with our godson. My friend Robin and her kids, Kate and her kids, Chandres and her family. Seeing Chandres was a shock as she was supposedly on vacation in Tennessee through late Saturday or early Sunday – but she had come home a little earlier than she’d led me to believe, so they’d be there for the party. It was awesome to have them all in one place…even if I was the center of attention, which I generally hate.

We went inside and Chandres promptly presented me with a big, sparkly party hat that says “All Hail the Birthday Princess”. They had decorated the hall with streamers and balloons, and tables flanked the room that were decorated to reflect the stages of my life. My friends and Gene had worked together to plan this thing, and he had sneaked my box of old photos out of the house without my realizing it…and my friends used these as the biggest part of the decorations. The first area was “childhood” – pictures of me as a little girl, surrounded with toys on loan from Tonya’s daughters. Very handy that a lot of my childhood favorites are making a comeback, as there were Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Cabbage Patch Kids… There were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches nestled among the kiddie things, a crock pot full of Tonya’s mac and cheese, and pitchers of juice and Kool-Aid. Next up were pictures of my teen years – including an 8×10 of my and Gene’s prom picture.  🙂  He had also stolen my high school yearbooks, which were spread out on the table. Pizza and soft drinks were the ‘teen food’. Then there was the 20’s section – wedding pictures flanked by flower petals and champagne flutes, newborn Rachael pictures, Rachael as a toddler. Kate had cooked two of my favorites as the ‘adult food’ – her baked ziti and bruschetta, and Robin made punch. And lastly, the “now” section – a printout of our Geocaching.com profile page (only natural as Chandres, Tonya and Robin are geocachers as well) and a stack of birthday gifts and cards.

We all sat down to eat and talk…Milly had her first ever PB&J and (of course) absolutely loved it. While we talked, Chandres explained to me what I had *really* seen that morning.

Yes, Tonya had hidden the caches. But the name of the multi-cache wasn’t really “Wild Goose Chase” as she had told me. And she didn’t really need me to help her double-check the coordinates – Chandres had already done that. In fact…they hid the whole thing in honor of my birthday! The name of the first stop was “Kristin’s Surprise #1 – She’s 3030”. Although I had stood right in front of the church with the 911 address large as life on the front door, I had failed to notice that the address was (quite appropriately) 3030. At the next stop, the cache was hidden at the base of a speed limit sign – it never registered to me here that the sign read 30 mph. And at the final stop – our church – there was a code on the power meter with -30 at the end. I can’t believe how much thought they put into planning this cache! Even better, it had already been entered and approved in the geocaching website, but won’t be published until Monday – so I signed the log at our church first, claiming the coveted FTF (first to find) for my birthday.

After it was all over, Gene explained to me how he had contacted my friends several weeks ago through Facebook to ask for ideas for my birthday. Chandres emailed him right back with several ideas, and then started planning like crazy. She pulled the other girls in, and they put most everything together. I learned that they had been emailing/Facebooking for weeks, that Gene had been talking to them on the phone during his lunch break and on his way home from work, which are the only times it’s guaranteed that I’m not around. That he had given them his key to the fellowship hall so they could get in when they needed to, that they were all there decorating last night while Rachael and I were out with my mom. They all put so much thought and so much energy into this, and I appreciate it so, so much. Definitely so much more than I ever expected.

So yes, I’m 30. And it’s been one of the best birthdays ever. ❤