…And In Another 32.5 Years, The Feds Will Let Me Retire!

I turned 30 this weekend, a fact that has prompted my wife to note that I am now able to be classified as Officially Old. I’ve already received my solicitation from the AARP, so in order to complete my bid for old coot status, I need to acquire:

  1. A house with a lawn to yell at the durn kids to get off of
  2. Cyclone fencing to pop stray neighborhood balls upon
  3. A mechanical push mower
  4. Sunglasses that fit over my regular glasses
  5. A Pocket Wizard
  6. A bowling league to join

I did get a copy of Super Mario Galaxy from my in-laws, a gift which has seen considerable playtime to date, as well as a copy of The Big Lebowski and I’m A Lebowski, You’re A Lebowski from the wife. So, you know, 30 isn’t starting off too badly.

I’m Too Young To Feel This Old

I turned the ripe old age of 29 today, meaning that in a little less than 366 days, I will officially be 30, a fact that makes me Officially Old, the import of which my blushing bride has reminded me of several times throughout the course of the day.
That’s not what makes me feel the oldest, though. I found out today that one of the kids placed in my charge while I was a counselor at Camp Brookwoods just got back from a tour of duty in Iraq. He joined the service and ended up in the Rangers and was finishing up his first tour a couple of weeks ago. According to second-hand information, on the second-to-last day of his tour, his convoy was hit by an IED. He was first on the scene to the Hummer struck by the blast and thus was first to see that he had lost three of his buddies to the explosion.
I can’t even comprehend what that does to a person; nearest I can figure it, to see comrades and friends die must age one significantly in a mere instant. My heart goes out to the families of those three brave soldiers. And Stu, if you ever read this, know that I’m about as proud a counselor as any could ever possibly be. You’re a certified hero and there’s no way for those of us that remain Stateside to truly signify our thanks.

You Get The Good With The Bad

Lest I leave you with the wrong impression, Will spends 99.9% of his time not being a poo-flinging imp. He’s the sweetest, most cuddly and wonderful little 1-year-old that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. And, he’s cute, to boot (must get it from his mother…).
He is so well-behaved most of the time that incidents like this morning’s really stand out; for instance, my parents threw him a birthday party this past Saturday. My father’s three sisters, my brother and sister-in-law, my sister and her fiancee, and my youngest brother were all in attendance, as well as Andy (a friend from church), his 11 month old son A.J. and Aron, Heather and Gabe. We adults shared in cake, snacks, ice cream and other celebratory “adult” fare, while Will and Andy feasted upon lower-sugar cookies my wife made especially for the occasion. Will enjoyed himself and, though he was the recipient of many wonderful gifts, persisted in finding the helium-filled Mylar balloons to be the single most intriguing inventions in recent history. While the adults traded stories of their best and worst birthdays, favorite TV shows and all manner of entertaining conversation, Will went without a nap (far too stimulated, poor lad). We stayed around for dinner and ended up keeping Will out well past 10:00 PM (his normal bedtime is somewhere between 7:15 and 8:00) and heard not a peep in protest from him. He stayed energetic, happy (practically ebullient) and interactive the whole time, ensuring that he made fast friends of each and every aunt, uncle and great aunt alike.
I’m sure we’ll play this “parental karma” game throughout his life, but on balance, I’d challenge anyone to make the claim that he’s not worth it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to check on the sofa slipcover he spilled Earl Grey all over – I think its wash cycle is almost over.

A Very Merry Un-Birthday, To Me? To Me!

Well, it’s time to celebrate your birthday, it happens every year
We’ll eat a lot of broccoli and drink a lot of beer
You should be good and happy that there’s something you can eat
A million people every day are starving in the street
Your daddy’s in the gutter with the wretched and the poor
Your mama’s in the kitchen with a can of Cycle Four
There’s garbage in the water
There’s poison in the sky
I guess it won’t be long before we’re all gonna die
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
-Weird Al Yankovic, “Happy Birthday”

I turned a grand old 28 today. I don’t feel that old, but it’s creepy to think that in a mere two years, I’ll be 30; odd how these things creep up on one.
I celebrated it in a non-standard fashion this year, as I’ve been in TX for my birthday for the past five years or so: my grandparents were in town, and since they hadn’t yet seen Will, they accompanied my mother in a trip to our house. This was the first time for Will to meet one of his namesakes, his great-grandfather William (Bill). My wife, knowing that my grandparents are life-long Pittsburgh Steelers fans, dressed Will in his Steelers outfit which apparently went over like gangbusters with the great-grandparents. My grandfather was content simply to hold Will, which aggravated my granmother as Bill The Elder kept obscuring the Steelers logo and “ruining” the photos my wife was snapping.*grin*
We supped on meatball sandwiches and spinach salad that my mother brought over and then finished the meal with apple spice cake (complete with “Happy Birthday” candles) and coffee, after which my wife and I presented the great- and regular-grandparents with their Christmas gifts (framed pictures of Will, for those out there keeping score).
Then, I was presented with two gifts that would warm any decent sci-fi fan’s hardened heart: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi from my parents and the Firefly boxed set from my lovely wife.
Maybe turning 28 isn’t such a terrible thing after all…