Starting a week before, I tried to figure out what I wanted to do on my birthday. “Something special,” I said. After all, I had spent every day of the past year fighting for it. I should feel special on my birthday.
The timing makes some things difficult. We’ve just returned from a trip to see family at Christmastime; it would be too hectic to go on another trip so soon. Discretionary spending money is also low after playing Santa, so a day at the spa or a bed and breakfast overnight really isn’t practical, either.
I did do a couple things, though. A few days prior to my birthday, one of my friends arranged an after-work happy hour. Something like that rarely happens because so many people are out of town, busy, or just exhausted between Christmas and New Year’s. But a half dozen of my friends made the time for me. It made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
On the day of my birthday, Seth and I woke at a decent hour and headed to a little bistro for a sandwich I absolutely love. With bellies full of yummy goodness, we headed to the QVC mother ship in West Chester, PA.
I started watching QVC when I was six years old. One of these days I will share with you why I have such an affinity for the network. Even though I’m such a fan, I had never been to the company headquarters. I’ve lived no more than 40 minutes away for thirteen years! My birthday seemed like the perfect day to visit the retail holy land.
Once we entered via the main driveway there were clear signs to guide us to the dedicated Studio Tour entrance. The lobby was very impressive. It made me wonder how many thousands of visitors they must have annually to justify the construction of this facade. We purchased our tour tickets ($7.50 each) and browsed the store until it was tour time.
The retail store was very disappointing. Most of the products displayed (maybe 60%) were cosmetics. The items we like – gadgets, decor, etc. – were displayed in a lackluster manner in one corner of the store. With this being one of the few opportunities they have to display their wares (in person), I expected a much more professional and extensive setup.
The one hour tour was educational and entertaining. We saw the expansive studio floor from many different angles. We also got inside views of Quality Assurance labs and the warehouse where two of every single item is housed. It was also very interesting to see how they categorize and store the thousands of props used throughout the year. The tour was nicely done, but Seth and I both wished for a Q&A opportunity at the end.
We left QVC at 1:30pm; I still had a lot of birthday ahead of me. After such an eventful morning I needed a nap. After all, my body didn’t know it was my birthday. A couple hours later I woke rested and ready to plan dinner.
We drove around for quite some time before I decided I wanted to dine at Carrabba’s. Seth told the waitress it was my birthday, and I started to plan my birthday wish. A man at a nearby table was celebrating too; the staff sang in Italian and probably offered him some sort of after dinner goodie.
We were finishing our dinners when we realized no one had come around. I cared less about the singing and more about a birthday candle with which I could make my wish. When we saw the waitress I asked for my meal to be boxed, and she promptly returned with the food and our check. There was no offer of dessert and no special birthday wishes. After a yummy dinner we left with a proverbial bad taste in our mouths.
But Seth and I are far too stubborn to be stymied by a forgetful waitress. On the way home we stopped at a grocery store where I picked out two perfectly iced yellow cupcakes and a pack of candles.
By the time we arrived home, though, I was exhausted and too full to eat a cupcake. I turned on my heated mattress pad and crawled into bed.
A few minutes later Seth emerged from the kitchen with two twisty candles lit atop one cupcake. He sang to me and waited patiently while I made my wish. With one puff I extinguished the candles. Seth returned the cupcake to its package for enjoyment another day.
Maybe i didn’t do anything overly special for my birthday: no surprise weekend getaway or adventure of a lifetime. I realize now that when you have someone in your life who makes you feel special every day, a birthday may not stand out too much. But I got my candles and made my wish. And tomorrow I get to feel special all over again.