January 11, 2017
Today is Jean's birthday. Jean's birthday is a really big deal to Jean, so by extension, it is to the rest of us. If she were President of the United States, her birthday would become a national holiday by executive decree. When she used to work at a facility with others, Jean would remind her colleagues on the 11th of every months how many months remained until her next birthday.
Three years ago, when Jean turned 50, her boyfriend, cousin and I collaborated on throwing a big surprise party for her. It was what she wanted more than anything. I asked her for a list of people to invite. She said no. "What? What do you mean, no?" She wanted everything about the party to be a surprise, including the guests. I didn't know any of Jean's work, college or graduate school friends, and I had only met a few of her neighbors, so I posted the party on FaceBook to inform our high school classmates, and Jean's cousin and boyfriend took care of inviting everyone else they could.
Her cousin, sister, sister-in-law and I took Jean to dinner on her birthday. I drove through a couple of fast food takeout windows announcing each as our destination before taking her to the real restaurant. I wanted Jean to wear a blindfold for the post-dinner ride so that the party’s destination would be a surprise, but she said that the blindfold would make her carsick. Alas, there was no surprise regarding the date of the surprise party or its venue, but Jean was thrilled nevertheless. During the evening, Jean's boyfriend, cousin and I told her we would never again throw another surprise party for her. She grinned. We weren't kidding.
I sent three small presents to Jean for her birthday today. This morning, I sent her a "Happy Birthday" text with a picture of Sammy Hagar. She asked when she could open her presents. I said she could open one then, but the rest would have to wait until I returned from stretching class and working out. I called her at eleven and eleven thirty, but she didn't answer. Jean called me at one and I asked her to call me when she got home. It's now six and she hasn't opened her other two presents. Hmm. Is she torturing herself or me?
I took the dogs for a spin around the block at lunchtime. A woman passing me on a bicycle asked if they are Rottweilers. I wish I had said yes. "Yes, they are albino Pygmy Rottweilers." Clearly the woman was having a brain fart of sorts, but I can't figure out what breed she really meant to say. And, if one only knew one breed of dog I would bet it wouldn't be Rottweilers: it would be Poodle or Dalmatian or Labrador. Addison is a Rottweiler at heart: an affectionate, potential killer.
My friend Mike posted on FaceBook a picture of his Airedale puppy Ollie in the snow. He wrote, "Ollie Hardy." I replied, "Don't let him rest on his Laurel." Mike countered with, "He doesn't underStan what it means to rest." My turn: "That doesn't Olliviate the need." We are very silly.
Mountain climbing is a sport that I am actually confident in. I know that I may not seem like a great guy when it comes to it, but that is what I want you to see. In my opinion, I am probably the best at it here in my town. I am not saying that everyone is weak, however, they are nothing compared to my greatness. I am the best mountain climber in the state, and I will prove it.
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Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.