Sunday, July 17, 2005

Thirty-three years and one day

Sorry for the silence 'round here. Last week I was hit by a triple whammy at work: the return from vacation, the time I had to invest in interviewing candidates for a position we have open and the need to devote most of Friday to a meeting in Massachusetts (especially fun since it began at 9 am). Oh, and then we had unexpected houseguests Thursday night.

So it was no surprise that both my chiropractor and my husband felt the need to give me little lectures about work-life balance during the week. I don't disagree with them; I know I work more than perhaps I need to, and that I thrive on having too much to do. But last week was such an aberration... I felt as though I was being judged a bit harshly.

And, in any case, I've certainly made up for it this weekend. I did about 45 minutes worth of work this afternoon (with at least two additional hours worth of other stuff that I could have done) and that's it. Kaput. In part, the sloth-like behavior (for me, anyway) was a natural outgrowth of my hellacious week, in which I'm guessing I worked somewhere between 55 and 60 hours... I just didn't have it in me to spend more time toiling.

And then there was the fact that yesterday was my birthday. As a summer birthday kid, I always was able to do pretty much exactly what I wanted on my birthday... there was never any school to interfere. And my mom didn't work until I was in middle school, so she was pretty willing to do whatever I wanted. We never had big, extravagant parties or anything; it was just clear that you got to pick what you wanted to do for the day, as well as what you wanted to have for dinner and dessert. It more than made up for not getting to have a birthday party at school during the year.

So even later on, when I had summer jobs, I'd take the day off and go to the beach. (I'm curious if other summer b-day people experience this sense of entitlement about doing exactly what you want on your day... Any thoughts out there?)

By necessity, I've had to lose that insistence on acting like Queen of the World just because it's my birthday. But last year I was on vacation and had the best birthday ever -- we were down on the Jersey Shore, having a family reunion at a rented beach house. I spent the morning at the beach, then had an excellent sub like they only make them in NJ. In the afternoon, we went to the gloriously cheesy boardwalk in Seaside; my cousin bought me a big lemonade, Darren subsidized me for several rounds of skeeball and my dad took me on a Ferris wheel ride. Back at the house, we had shrimp cocktail and oysters on the half shell, followed by excellent thin-crust pizza and an ice cream cake. I was in heaven... and I later realized that what made me so happy was exactly the same sequence of events I would have enjoyed when I was 10.

We couldn't reproduce that exactly this year, but we came awfully close. I spent yesterday morning at the beach with Darren, catching up on Entertainment Weekly and then digging into Fourth of July, Asbury Park, a very interesting book that my sister gave me (along with a very silly Disco Queen clock, a grow-your-own French poodle kit and a stuffed orangutan). Later I had a very pleasant nap on our front porch (interrupted by the arrival of my in-laws with my present, a signed copy of the new Linda Greenlaw book... a very nice gift, except for the fact that I had taken off my bathing suit and thrown on a very skimpy little nightgown, figuring that I'd wait until after I showered to put on real clothes... made for an awkward few moments, but oh well.).

Then, the piece de resistance: Dinner at Cinque Terre, a fantastic northern Italian restaurant. We had many, many courses, including the most amazing pasta dish that I think I've ever eaten, not to mention many fine beverages. After that extravagant three-hour affair, we waddled across to Street & Company, another fantastic restaurant where our friends know the bartender, so we sat for another few hours, quaffed several delicious limoncellos and gossiped about the snooty tourists who'd been tormenting the staff all night. I came home with a full belly and a slightly achey head... it was a good night.