better than I deserve, or so it seems

I turned 50 this last weekend and thanks to Rachel (my wife), I had one of the nicest birthdays of my life, maybe the nicest. First, she let me buy a new part for my bike, a compact carbon crank, but that wasn't one of the things that really make her such a great partner in life. But it was sure a step in the right direction. I'd be crazy to say otherwise.

But the really great things involved people. First, I guess, we had a party at my house. It wasn't big, but it was big enough, and friendly. I invited my favorite people from work and their spouses, partners, kids and the like. All of those I invited were able to come. I also invited the Bicycle Advisory Board, but only one of them made. That was a little disappointing but no big deal. It would have been nice, but what the heck. Rachel also invited all of my family, who are mostly 280 miles away in Seattle, plus a brother and his wife in the Sacramento area.

Well, most of my family didn't show due to their obligations. Rachel, however, used airline miles to fly my brother in from Sacramento. Phil and his wife Valerie hadn't been up here for nearly two years, and Rachel and Valerie, the only two women to marry into our family (I have two brothers and three sisters) have a special affinity for one another. In some ways, it was almost more of a present for Rachel to have Valerie come than it was for me to have Philip come. This, mind you, is not a complaint. This was also something of a surprise, but Rachel told me about it a couple weeks ago. I'm not sure why she didn't want to keep it a secret.

My parents also came, making the drive from Seattle. I'm the second of their children to turn 50. I'm not sure what sort of party my older sister might have had. If she had a party, she didn't invite us. It was nice to have my parents. Mostly we do birthdays in isolation, with regard to my parents and siblings. Every once in awhile we'll be in Seattle and we'll have a group birthday party. One brother-in-law has his birthday the day after mine and one of my brothers has his birthday five weeks later. So, my parents were there to celebrate and I'm happy for that.

The big surprise occurred when we went out for dinner the night before my birthday. I figured it would be just Rachel, Tobias (our nine-year old) and myself for a quiet meal and heading home afterwards. But as we were going over the menu, in something of a haze (I was stunned, I have to admit), my best man from our wedding, and one of my best friends for certain, through thick and thin, was suddenly there, pushing in beside me in our restaurant booth. It took me a minute to figure out what was happening. It was almost like a dream, and I was too stunned to say much of anything. Eric flew up from the Bay Area and ended up spending the weekend with us. Our house has just two bed rooms, and Phil and Valerie were given the second one, with Tobias sleeping on the couch in our bedroom. Eric slept on a mattress in the basement. Not the best accommodations, but he wouldn't complain.

I had some plans for the weekend, to sit around and read, ride my bike, that sort of thing, but Eric queered all that, and I'm glad he did. And like I said, it's a special thanks to Rachel who is way more considerate than I could ever be, for making it all happen. How lucky can a guy get?