Extortion on My Birthday

***Edited to Add: Holy cow. After howling with laughter over some of the lovely and thoughtful presents you guys have received over the years, I have now learned to appreciate a good can of albacore tuna. Thanks for sharing with me. The competition was too damn tight to declare a winner. But there were some personal favourites. Heh. Here's hoping everyone gets a badass wonderful gift on their next birthday like I did.***

I've never been a big birthday lover. I'm the mom who dreads the time of year when her children inevitably turn another year older. Not that I mind them growing up. What's not to love being one year closer to parental freedom and not having to be responsible for feeding the seemingly bottomless pits known as children?

No, I hate the responsibilities birthdays involve. Parties, cake, gift bag, other people's snotty children. Those things. I dread having to throw a birthday party because around these parts "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" has a whole other meaning.

Still, I power through it like the good mother I pretend to be. I don't like it, but I do it. Not well, not every year and certainly never with a smile on my face, but I have been known to throw a damn children's birthday party just so my children can feel the magical delight of having the world revolve around them for one small moment in time.

That said, I wish my birthday would just all together drop off the calendar. I don't need another reminder of my own mortality. I have wrinkles, sagging boobs and dimples on my arse as a permanent reminder to my fleeting youth.

I planned on ringing in the latest annual reminder of my cougar status by simply hiding at home, ignoring the phone and surfing the vast interweb where I am just one more anonymous lurker looking for something vapid and amusing and perhaps slightly pornographic while the day slowly ticked past and my birthday came and went quietly like a mouse hiding in the pantry.

But like most well-laid plans, it didn't quite happen that way. While I adored the fact my children attempted to kill me by feeding me runny eggs and burnt toast, I could have lived without ever having discovered a certain friend mocked my vanity and insecurities by aging me publicly on his blog.

I have since put a pox on his head.

Still, I thought my birthday excitement had come and gone early before the midday sun shone upon the golden trees in my yard. I had no reason to think any differently. Birthdays have always been a low key affair. No. MY birthday has always been a low key affair.

My darling and beloved husband hasn't always rose to the occasion and proved his love on the date of my birth. While he tends to outshine himself at gift giving during the Christmas season, he tends to walk around with his head planted firmly up his arse whenever Sept. 27 rolls around.

I knew this about my husband before we married and still I chose to overlook it when I accepted his proposal for marriage. I was young and naive and believed that the power of our love could change him and morph him into the very best, the most thoughtful gift giver ever.

Excuse me while I die laughing at my youthful stupidity.

My husband, bless his cotton socks, is a stubborn man. With a will of unbendable steel. He just couldn't understand why a cork screw and a set of cheap steak knives was not a viable birthday present. After all, I like wine and I like steak. In his mind it was the perfect gift.

He hastily realized his faux-pas as I started hurling the bloody knives at his head while calling him a doofus.

I didn't think his birthday buying skills could get any worse after that year. I was wrong. The very next year he bought me a chocolate bar and a can of tuna. That's it. He spent less than two freaking dollars on the woman who regularly played with his penis and spent more than 30 months gestating his spawn.

He did include a thoughtful and loving note about how we were strapped for cash (we were indeed, in dire financial straits) but he wanted to make me smile on my special day.

I could have thought of a dozen different ways he could have made me smile without spending any money, but none of them involved albacore tuna packed in salt water and a squished chocolate bar. Apparently, I am not near as creative as my husband is.

Then there was the year of my 27 birthday and I spent the entire night alone in the hospital as my precious Bug fought off a blood infection threatening to take his life. I had hoped my Boo would drop by the hospital and bring flowers or even coffee as I flipped through an endless pile of magazines and fretted over my child.

He decided to race home to our other two children while munching on fresh pizza and the donuts he picked up to celebrate his wife's birthday. Without saving any for his actual wife.

I wasn't bitter. NOT AT ALL.

It's not that Boo hasn't tried on my birthday. He's just failed miserably time and time again. I can forgive him for this because he buys me fancy wash machines, diamond earrings, and lap top computers for seemingly no reason other than I am very bendy in the bedroom.

He's a wonderful husband even if his gift giving technique is as sharp as a rusty butter knife.

Knowing this, I was determined not to expect anything but maybe a hammer so we could pound nails in our fence line together as a happy romantic couple. He may not be learning but I'm starting to understand how the man thinks.

So when he told me to get dressed so we could pick up my birthday present, I wasn't expecting much. But I'm a good wife so I played along and did what he asked.

I'm obedient like that.


Turns out, all these years of ducking flying steak knives and the man finally learned.

Picture my face when we pulled into the car dealership and he handed me the keys to a shiny new SUV.

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Such a pretty Chevy Equinox. I named her Lolita.

"I'm sorry honey, I wanted to have it home for you in our driveway but it turns out I can't drive two cars at once. I needed you to be able to drive it home," he laughed excitedly at my shocked face.

"I figure this should make up for 13 years or more of bad birthday gifts," he said as he leaned over and kissed me.

After finally reviving from the shock of receiving a real (yet wildly extravagant and completely too expensive) birthday present, I hopped out and checked out my new wheels. Apparently, my fondness for driving into ditches in the middle of our Canadian winters is a tad worrisome for my husband when he works away from home.

He's hoping my new shiny SUV will keep my ass from freezing to death in a snowbank. And keep our children safe as their slow-reflexed mother taxis them around on icy roads.

I did mention my husband is the cat's ass, right?

Driving home that afternoon, while he drove in front of me in my older, banged up and very abused car, I called him to tell him how much I loved him and the new wheels.

"I can't get over this Boo! I love you! You are the best husband ever!" I gushed to him.

I could see him puff up his manly chest and polish his fingers against his chest as he laughed in the phone. "I'm glad you like it love. You deserve it."

I admit, I melted a bit at his sweetness. Then suddenly, a thought occurred to me.

"Oh DAMN IT!" I cried.

"What? Is something wrong with the vehicle?" he asked very concerned.

"No, it's fine. I just realized there is no FREAKING way I'm ever going to be able to top this ever in our entire marriage unless I spit out a set of septuplets on your birthday! I'm screwed forever!" I moaned.

Boo snorted and agreed. He's very agreeable apparently.

"Damn you Boo with your thoughtful and well timed vehicle purchases," I wailed.

"Well, there is one thing you can give me on my birthday that would top my present to you," he hinted. (I could totally see the lurid waggling of eyebrows as he spoke.)

"Really?" I asked eagerly and stupidly. "What's that?" (Nothing like setting yourself up for failure, Tanis. Way to go.)

"You could give me a blow job every birthday, and not just one of your 'there, I looked at it, good enough,' blowjobs. A real blow job. One in the morning and one at night. Enthusiastic blow jobs. While you wear a smile on your face."

(Clearly the man has never given head before otherwise he's realize the physical impossibility of such a statement.)

Silence. The mental image of me having to give him head when we're 70 and my teeth are sitting in a cup on the bedside table next to the lamp flashed before my eyes.

Why bother lying? He has as much chance of getting happy head every birthday for the rest of his life as I have of sprouting wings and flying south tomorrow.

"Sigh. Face it Boo. I'm screwed. I'm never going to be able to top this birthday present."

Not even a new zippy SUV on my birthday can make me promise to shut up and swallow.

Turns out I'm not that obedient.

*What was the worst birthday present you ever received. The person who can top a can of tuna and a chocolate bar wins a prize. Maybe a pot holder or a used sock. Or maybe just my eternal gratefulness at knowing I'm not the only one in the world who has received dorky presents. Misery loves company and all...*