Off My Game
Happy New Year!
How were your Christmas and New Year holidays?
Low: This week, my low was the exercising-so-hard-I feel-like-I’ll-die feeling when Brian decided to rev up the pace on our Saturday morning walk. There are no pictures, but I was definitely hot pink, sweaty, and out of breath when we finished shaving a whole minute off our usual minutes-per-mile pace!
High: We celebrated Fathers’ Day with my family and I taught Eli how to use his new sand toys. He may have also learned a “fun game” from Aunt Abby that involves using the scoop to catapult dirt and sticks across the grass… he was going to put them in his mouth, though!
Low: My grandpa has been in the hospital for over a week with what seems to be a COPD flare-up. On Saturday, my grandma felt ill and then passed out in the shower that night, breaking her leg right above the knee. She had a surgical repair on Sunday and the doctor discovered some irregularities with her heartbeat. On Monday, she got a pacemaker and seems to be doing better.
What were your lows and highs from the past week?
Brian’s fortieth birthday was last week so I wanted a fun and memorable way to celebrate him. Even though we live 250 miles apart, we planned to meet at his parents’ house for his birthday dinner on his actual birthday (and other engagement festivities during the weekend).
Out of Nowhere
Brian knew something was up when he was setting up for college Bible study the night before his birthday. A few students were already in the room when one of the girls stuck her head in and motioned them to come outside. When he walked through the hall a few minutes later, the students immediately stopped talking. Near the beginning of Bible study, the ringleader gave him an envelope that contained a decorated plastic zipper bag and a note from me. He was about halfway through the letter when the students began throwing ping-pong balls at him! On each ping-pong ball, I had written a milestone from his life and a note from me.
The last part of the letter explained:
To honor and celebrate you on your milestone birthday, I have prepared an unconventional highlight reel of a few of the experiences, achievements, and blessings of your life so far. Enjoy!
The next morning, on his birthday, Brian stood chatting with colleagues who share the same office area and told them about the students’ ambush from the night before. He went to his morning class and was trying to call the office secretary when she and the rest of his colleagues came “charging in and throwing ping-pong balls.” Brian was so surprised that he gaped at them, still holding the phone until it went to voicemail. He was not, however, as shocked as the student who was caught in the crossfire next to him!
Flashback: The Setup
Over a week before Brian’s birthday, I secretly recruited my co-conspirators via email and Facebook and then mailed them each a box of decorated ping-pong balls. They may have thought it was a weird request but both cheerfully agreed to help and to enlist others.
Back to the Birthday
After birthday dinner with his family and some relatives, Brian opened his gifts and wisely (or cautiously?) saved mine for last. The first package held a large jar and I asked if he knew what it was for.
“I have an idea.”
“You’re probably right. Where is that bag I suggested you keep handy?”
“In my car.”
“You should really go get it.”
“Oh, really?” He grinned as he started out of the room slowly and looked behind him. When he saw me going to get something, he began moving quickly in the direction of the car. I called after him, “Take your time!” but he didn’t listen and was back in the living room before we finished passing around the ping-pong balls. Brian sat there smiling and laughing while we all threw our projectiles at him and even his grandma joined in the fun!
Side note: The jar I liked and purchased to hold the ping-pong balls did not come with a lid, so my dad made a custom lid out of walnut.
People ask how ping-pong balls became a symbol of our relationship. The short answer is that I have a vivid imagination and Brian listened and then added his own romantic spin. It has escalated from there.
Low: I woke with a splitting headache on Saturday and, though it subsided to a dull ache, it lasted all day. Nevertheless, I enjoyed talking through some of the discussion questions for premarital counseling, watching Les Miserables, and going to a local talent show that day.
Highs: While I was visiting for the weekend, Brian and I took the opportunity to have fun with hospitality. We baked cookies (really I baked while he made dinner) for game night with college students and then taught them how to play Sequence. We also had friends over for taco salads after church on Sunday.
What were your lows and highs from the past week?
I like my coffee nice and hot, so I set my mug on a warming plate when I’m at work. Occasionally someone visiting my office will notice and say, “You put your coffee on your candle warmer? That is such a good idea!” Am I the only one who remembers when these were marketed as mug warmers in the 90s?
Recently, my family congregated for my cousin’s wedding dinner. The weekend before, I heard my mom tell my youngest brother, “Now, just because the dinner will be outside doesn’t mean it is casual. Dress for a wedding.” This photo tells you two things about Ben: First, he listened to his mom. Second, he cleans up well.
At the wedding dinner, I wanted a photo with my grandparents but Grandma hates having her picture taken. As someone across the table told us to smile, she protested, “Oh, no, no!” shaking her head vigorously. I turned to her and smiled firmly, “Grandma, I want a picture with my grandparents.”
“Well, OK then.” This is as close as she gets to smiling in photos.
It is time for InstaFriday again!
Our weekly game night included several amusing rounds of Game of Things. The board in the photo shows our answers for the prompt, “Things that are wild.” I wrote “bed head.”
My department had a snack day this week in honor of our summer intern returning to school and a supervisor transferring to another location. I made my family’s favorite chocolate chip cookies and substituted dark chocolate for the usual semi-sweet. I had a very large snickerdoodle.
Shadow got some attention from Mom.
A couple days ago, a friend texted me, “Help!!!” There was a hungry-looking, stray black cat at her back door and she wanted to feed it but was afraid of it and wanted it to go away. I warned her not to feed the cat or it would not leave. Amused, I wondered if she was afraid of all cats or just black ones… then she sent me a photo.
Yikes! Everyone I have shown agrees this looks like one scary cat!