Preemptive Strike

This year for my wife’s birthday, which was Aug. 18, I was going to be on top of my game and not wait until the last minute to prepare. While she shrugs off her birthday these days, our kids and I still want to make a big deal out of it since she does so much for our family. While I place a high importance on her birthday, I seem to always forget one detail until the last minute, and then it’s a mad scramble.

Not this year. I decided that I would get all my ducks in a row ahead of time so that I wouldn’t be stressing out. At the beginning of the month, I wrote clearly on our refrigerator calendar whiteboard that August 18 was her birthday. That would be my daily reminder to get things done.

I immediately ordered flowers to be delivered to her at work. No detail of that was too small I painstakingly looked at numerous arrangements to make sure I chose the right flower combination. I crafted a nice birthday message and gave exact delivery orders so that they would arrive without fail. I went to a stationery store and pored over all the birthday cards in order to select the right one. Wasn’t sure if I should go with humorous or romantic, but ended up with romantic as there’s less chance of that blowing up in my face. I then went out and purchased her a gift that she had been talking about and wanting but denied herself because of the expense: an iPad 2.

I ordered a specialty cake in her favorite flavor of “chocoholic.” I was pretty proud of myself because two weeks in advance of her birthday, I had taken care of everything. Then, two days before her birthday, I heard my wife calling me “on the carpet.” She questioned me, “Ron, when is my birthday?” I thought I was being set up for a trick question, “August 18,” I replied. “Then why did you write my birthday on Wednesday, August 17, on the kitchen calendar?” Sure enough, I had written it on the wrong day! That was tantamount to calling her by another woman’s name and nearly negated all my hard work.

Before I could explain, she offered up a compromise. “OK, just for that you have to take back five years.”