So I forgot to do my little dinky birthday post cat meme thing last week. First time I’ve missed it in years. Whoops!
Well, I was a bit busy that day.
Starting when Lydia turned five, Steven and I began a tradition: we would take the birthday kid out all day on their actual birthday, just the three of us. It didn’t matter if it was a weekday, weekend, or National Doughnut Day, we would go out and do whatever that particular birthday kid wanted. Chuck E Cheese? Sure! McWane Center? You bet!
I love this tradition. It’s up there with Pumpkin and backyard bonfires.
But it never occurred to us that we could have it for ourselves, too. Part of the problem is Steven’s birthday: his day is completely sidelined by Lydia’s. My birthday is part of The Gauntlet. So we get overlooked.
Until this year. For me, at least.
This year my birthday was on a Wednesday, and Steven takes me out for the entire day. So that’s why there wasn’t a birthday post. I was indisposed.
Early that morning after dropping the kids off we go to the new TopGolf place in downtown Birmingham. It’s like bowling, but golf! The aim is to hit golf balls way out in this green space that’s littered with targets to hit. You’re positioned in a big awning space open to the outside, and while you’re golfing you can also order up food and drinks.
Now, I’ve never swung a golf club outside of putt putt before, and I am feeling completely ridiculous with the first few — or twenty! — swings. Half the time I completely miss the ball! Once I get more used to it I don’t feel quite so silly and I’m able to hit some targets. In between shots, we feast on chicken and waffles along with some mimosas. Steven gets ridiculously good by the end, consistently hitting the farthest target. I like the kind of golf where you don’t have to walk around all the time!
After TopGolf it is nearing lunch, so we head to the Avondale Common House. I’ve eaten there many times before but it is a first for Steven. I’ve been wanting to take him for a while. I enjoy my salmon poke bowl and Steven is also pleased with his Rueben sandwich. If you ever go there, look up at the ceiling. It’s my favorite part!
Next it is time for the most outlandish event of the day: zip-lining. Now, I am neither outdoorsy nor a big fan of heights, but this was actually my idea. I’m not sure why I was willing to sign up for this . . . perhaps I’m trying to prove I’m not too old yet.
So, at 2:30 p.m. on May 2nd, 2018, I am perched on the edge of an 80 foot high tower connected to a hundred foot long cable, gussied up in all sorts of heavy climbing gear, cursing my earlier self using all the best drumline language I know.
Steven has already flown down. I was supposed to go on the line parallel to him, but my brain, despite all the safety harnesses and double-triple backups that I knew were in place, won’t let me shove myself off the platform. So here I crouch.
“You can do this!” Steven hollers from the ground. “It’s great!”
“It’s fine,” Paul Rudd #1 assures me. We had three Official Park Zip-lining People with us, and two of them looked like Paul Rudd à la Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The third guy looks like the tall skinny dude from In the Loop (though most of y’all know him from Silicon Valley or The Office). “People get nervous all the time. You can go when you’re ready.”
Paul Rudd #2 and the In the Loop dude are at the other ends of the line. “Woooooo! You can do it!” screams Paul Rudd #2 over the radio.
And here I crouch. While I am sitting there, I know, I KNOW, that I will eventually jump. I know I will do it. But knowing I would jump versus actually jumping are two different things.
Overriding that part of your brain that is solely intent on keeping you from spectacularly killing yourself is really difficult. Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.
“Jump, Carrie,” I think to myself. “Do it. Jump. Jump. Jump.” And each time I think, “jump,” I fully intend to do so. “Jump. Jump. Jump, fool!”
And I jump.
I’m falling, I’m flying, and hey, I’m not dead! The trees blur past me on either side, and streams of drumline language pour out of my mouth as I race down.
“Wooooooooo!” scream everybody from below.
“$&@#%€¥ $& @£%#!!!” I holler back.
On my next jump (we get to go twice each), I don’t hesitate, so Steven and I are able to fly down together.
I am also able to hold back on the language the second go-around.
After hearing our tales from the day, Lydia is super jealous about the zip-lining part. Unfortunately for her, she needs to gain about 15 pounds and four inches before she can have her own little freakout experience.
Sam is content to keep his two feet on the ground.
Thankfully, neither of them know much drumline language yet.