This entry, that is. I have a good excuse.

Well, that’s it.

Today I fixed my car air conditioning.  And my brakes.  And I tried to fix the side view mirror.  What I’m basically saying is that this update is so damn late because I’ve just spent the past six hours in various car-fixing places.  Six hours.  So, I’m sweaty and gross but my car is running oh-so-much better.  That’s my Birthday Week gift to my car.  There may be a surprise weekend Birthday Week bonus entry concerning my day of grease and sweat, so stay tuned.

Fixing the car was also my Birthday Week gift to Eric, since he’s going to be in the car next week when we drive to Houston for the show, Astroworld, and Father’s Day.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  The car will be cool for the summer.  I hate the feeling of my back sweating.

In honor of birthday week, I thought I’d share a sad birthday story:

It was my eighth birthday party.  We had recently moved to Palm Springs, CA, and I had only just begun to make friends.  We were in a classroom that had both third and fourth graders in it, and the fourth graders really didn’t bond too much with the third graders unless they had been friends since the first grade.  When my birthday came up my mom told me I could throw a pool party in our backyard.  I was so excited.  What was even better was she said it could be a Slumber Party.  Not only could we swim all day, but we were going to stay up all night in a room all by ourselves!  I couldn’t wait.

We picked out all sorts of goodie bag gifts for everyone.  I was very aware of the recent trend in recess games:  chinese jumprope.  I must tell you now that I was the master at this game.  I was so good that I would make up levels and I saw other kids using them at recess.  If you aren’t familiar with the game, Chinese Jumprope involves a very large coated rubber band-type thing that two people put around their ankles and face each other, and then the other person stands in between them and jumps a complicated dance around the parallel lines of elastic without touching, falling, or missing the jumprope when necessary.  The dance went:

You start by straddling the elastic.

“IN!”:  You jump in the air and land with your feet inside the parallel lines of elastic, not touching the elastic or making it touch the ground.

“OUT!”:  You jump in the air and land with your feet outside the jumprope, just like your starting position.

“SIDE!”:  You jump in the air and land straddling one side of the elastic:  one of your feet is in the “out” position, the other is “in”.

“SIDE!”:  You jump to the other side of the jumprope with your feet straddling.

“ON!”:  Then you jump in the air and land with both of your feet on the elastic, having them under your feet.

“IN!”

“OUT!”

“SCISSORS!”:  This was where you would be leaving the jumprope, but you would drag one of your feet along the way so that it crosses and touches the other elastic.  It is the only time the two ropes touch.

“IN!  OUT!  SIDE!  SIDE!  ON!  IN!  OUT!  SCISSORS!”

After you complete that the people inside the ropes move the elastic up to their knees.  In out side side on in out scissors.  If you complete that they move the elastic up to their thighs.  In “thighsies” the tricky part was “on”, since you had to jump in the air and nail that rope under your feet on the way down.  In out side side on in out.  “Smallies” came next, where the two would put the rope back around their ankles, but would put their feet together so the “in” space was only a few inches (eight year olds have some tiny-ass feet).  If you survive “smallies” you move on to “widies”, where the two people would spread their legs as far apart as possible.  It made the “out” section particularly difficult.  There were other parts that involved how you jumped:  walksies, runsies, trotsies, skipsies… then there were some where one half would be wide and the other would be small so you had to make your feet land diagonally and such.  If you ever screwed up you took the place of one of the rope holders.

I was really good at Chinese Jumprope but no one in my class knew it.  Since I was the new kid I was playing with kids from other (read: younger) classrooms who would play with me.  I wanted to impress all of my classmates, so I practiced with my little sister and a chair in the playroom.  When we had to do widesies I would move the rope to an ottoman we had.  I did Chinese Jumprope and watched MTV all afternoon long.

I invited every girl in my class.

Mom ordered the cake.  On the big day my sister and I decorated around the pool.  Mom let us move the statue that came with the rented house of a little boy holding his penis threatening to pee into the pool.  Mom brought out my gifts and put them on the gift table.  I was wearing my new swimsuit.  All we were waiting on were the guests.

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

A new friend of mine, named Amy showed up.  At the time I wasn’t really close friends of Amy’s because I found her to be really bossy, but I was very happy to see her.  She sat down and played with the goodie bag.  “I’m pretty sure I’m the only one coming,” she said.  “Gina was having a birthday party too, didn’t you know?”

“No.”

“Anyway, everyone’s going to that one.  She’s got horses.”

“Horses?”

“Yeah.  Hey, can I have your bouncy ball?  This one is green and I like that red one.”

“Sure.”

“What is this?  Chinese Jumpropes?  Pam.  Everyone already has a Chinese Jumprope.  We don’t even like playing it anymore.  We just do because we’re bored.”

“Oh.”

“So what are we gonna do?”

“We could go swimming.”

“Hey, your little sister has some Barbies.  I think I’m gonna go play with her.”

And she did.  And there’s one picture from that birthday party and it’s of Amy sitting on the diving board with my sister, their heads together and smiling.  Amy’s arm is around my sister and they are kicking each other’s feet.

Amy didn’t even spend the night.

I’ve had parties since then, but it was always something that stuck in my head.  Sometimes someone else’s party ruins all of your fun.  I didn’t even know stupid Gina.  I was the only one in the class not invited to her party.  I think I try and make such a big deal out of birthdays now because when I was a kid the Pool Slumber Party that Wasn’t really stuck in my mind of what a birthday means to someone.  People try and blow it off like it’s no big deal, but I do think it is.  It’s the one day of the year where everyone is supposed to say, “I’m not celebrating anything or anyone else but you.  I like you.  I’m glad you’re in my life.”  Christmas and Thanksgiving and all that are for groups of people.  Birthdays are all about individual attention.

I’m glad you’re all here to celebrate Birthday Week with Squishy.  I’d hate to be here just jumping up and down with one end of an elastic around my computer chair and the other tied to Taylor’s feet.

Speaking of Taylor, he has some birthday words as well…(and I’m using my “cat voice” here, so don’t think I sound like a member of the Lollipop Guild, okay?)

I decided to keep the flash splash up for the weekend because I think it rocks (and so the weekend readers could see it).  I put a way out for you though, if you don’t want to sit through the whole thing again.

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