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John's Birthday Scramble

So there's something you may already know about me . . . shocker . . .I'm a deadline girl!

Give me a deadline and I'll meet it - usually by the skin of my teeth, but I'll meet it.

Don't give me a deadline and I'll advance 50 levels in Candy Crush and watch a bunch of HGTV. 

One time I mentioned to John that it doesn't help my cause that I often produce my best work under crushing deadlines, thus giving me no penalty for my deplorable lack of time management skills. He replied that I may simply be unable to work ahead, that it is the deadline itself  that unlocks my creativity. 

Uh oh.

He may be right.

Wise beyond his years, that guy.

Or maybe wise FOR his years, since he's been getting pretty old of late.

His birthday was yesterday, a Wednesday, and I was right proud of myself for figuring out what to get him during our bike ride last Saturday, when his Fitbit watch was out of battery (AGAIN!) so he was unable to track his exercise. We got Karl an Apple Watch for his birthday last summer and at the time John mentioned that he might like one, too. He doesn't buy himself technology, though. He still has an iPhone 5, despite daily e-mails from Verizon begging and incentivizing him to upgrade. I considered upgrading his phone, but I wasn't sure what he would like, so instead I decided to get him the Apple Watch. I ordered it from Apple on Monday and with free 2-day shipping it was set to arrive on his birthday and all would be well.

Except . . . it was "out for delivery" ALL.FREAKING.DAY!!! And you have to sign for it, so there was no leaving the house to go pick up the cupcakes or drop off a package at the post office that HAD to go out yesterday.

Oh, and I had a deadline for work, too, so I had to finish that up before I could even think about making a birthday card.

I couldn't even take a shower until the kids arrived home from school, for fear that I would miss the doorbell. When the kids got home from school I was able to leave the front door attending to them and run the errands, but still the UPS truck didn't come.

John left work early and called me to say he was only a half hour away.

Emma and I looked at each other in horror, realizing that we had NOTHING for him. No card, no present. OK, yes, we had cupcakes, but nothing else.

So we sprang into action. We found some pieces and parts of pop-up Cake cards left from CHA Make 'n Takes and built the basic structure of the card. Emma colored the greeting and cut the decorator pieces for the cake. 

"Can you cut out a Liverpool bird for the top of the cake?" she asked me. Sheesh! Of course she would have that very sweet but time-consuming personalization idea.

So I found an image online, traced it SUPER QUICK, shrunk it and cut it out on my e-cutter. Whew! Inside of the card done.

For the front of the card I had an idea to make an Apple Watch for one of the Characters. I used the little apple from Props 7 and styled it like the Apple logo on a small piece of black cardstock. We found an assembled Jinks the monkey, stole a cupcake from an assembled Baker the Beaver, and Emma cut out a party hat from Props 2. 

Unfortunately John arrived home before we had quite finished the card, so we had to claim that we were working on Emma's Government homework in my office and needed absolute privacy.

"I think he's onto us" I said to Emma when we returned to my office.

"Because you're a terrible liar!" she replied.

We also had to admit to John that we couldn't go to dinner yet as we were waiting on the UPS truck and that it was now highly probable that it was not coming. He didn't mind.

But we spoke too soon, because I heard the truck just after 6 pm and was standing on the front stoop jumping and giggling when the driver walked up with the package.

Emma wrapped the present while I decorated an envelope and took some quick photos of the card. Despite the scramble, we somehow managed to leave for dinner NOT empty-handed!

Once again, saved by a crushing deadline!



John chose a local Italian restaurant, Hasta la Pasta, for his birthday meal.

I should note that it's been raining, non-stop, for two days now. And if you don't believe me, just check out the curly locks on these three! Emma says she's tired of trying to tame her hair and is just embracing the curls. 


I, on the other hand, as evidenced by this blurry selfie, have stick-straight hair that will not hold curl, even if I were to get a perm, as I tried many times in my teenage years. People say that Emma looks like John and that Karl looks like me, which I think is mostly true, but Karl definitely got John's curls!


I hid the gift in my purse because we knew that John would recognize the box shape, especially since he knew that it was delivered by UPS and that I had to sign for it. He's no dummy, despite his advanced age. Heh.

Sure enough, as soon as we gave it to him he said "Hey! I recognize this box from YOUR birthday, Karl!" He also commented that he and President Obama now have the same watch. (Which he knows from watching "Comedians in Cars getting Coffee", mind you!) 


Everyone was stuffed from dinner so we decided not to go for the cupcakes when we got home. Well, everyone except Karl, naturally.

"I'm just going to make mine into a cupcake sandwich and eat half of it" he declared.

"What's a cupcake sandwich?" asked John.

"It's when you cut the cake part in half and move the bottom to the top so the frosting's in the middle," answered Karl, while demonstrating. "Ymfou gmet frmosrming in emvery bite!" (You get frosting in every bite)


"Wow!" said John, laughing and impressed, "Did you invent that?"

"Nope. Life hacks." 

Ha! Good times.

Happy Birthday, John!