But here's the story of how his birthday day went. Because basically it was really one of the best days ever. And in hindsight it's not gonna sound like amazingness in a conveniently sized bottle for you to haul around but just take my word for it. We had the time of our lives. (Also I planned all of it so I'm pretty proud.)
Mark had the day off from work and we slept in as long as we wanted. Yeah except just kidding. That's every other day because he doesn't start work until 1 pm. We woke up at 6:50. I haven't been awake before 8 all summer long. Holy anticipation much. We were awake and I wished him happy birthday and...activities commenced but then we just kinda rested and in-and-out slept until 9. We showered and then finally I couldn't wait any longer (ironic? yes) and pronounced it "present tiiiiiime!!"
I had woken up around 1:30 am and needed to pee. While I was up and Mark was deep in slumber, I went stumbling through our dark apartment and gathered together all the gifts I had wrapped and hidden in my art room closet and brought them in the bedroom as you see above. It was a very stressful time in my life, considering I'm clumsy and noisy enough in broad daylight with my awake brain on. But I was successful. In fact, I moved a candle off the shelves by Mark's side where he keeps his phone for the night because I needed to flip his phone over since it was blinking and wouldn't let me sleep but there wasn't room on the shelf. In the morning Mark thought he had moved it in his sleep and was quite confused.
Yeah. His eyes are closed.
He's still the cutest, no?
And that ribbon was a great idea on my part,
Who doesn't love those little parasols?
Yaaaay pants that won't fit.
Mark is annoying in that he's very particular about his pants and the size thereof but he WILL NOT go with me to the store to TRY THEM ON so we KNOW THEY'LL FIT. Gr.
But it's ok because I kept the receipts.
So we went out to Denny's for breakfast. Woot free grand slams! I got the caramel banana french toast skillet and OM NOM NOM it was delicious. Ooh! When we first walked in and were waiting to be seated, a guy and his wife were paying for their meal (erm, she was paying and he was wandering about). He happened to glimpse Mark's ribbon and he totally scoffed at it! Audibly! Rolled his eyes and strolled over to the crane machine like he's too classy for "birthday boy" ribbons and such frivolity. Whatever Mr. Scroogeface.
With our tummies full, we headed back home to put our take-home food in the fridge and then grab the two pairs of pants and one pair of shorts that I'd improperly sized to return/exchange them at Khols. We found some better size and fit jeans and he picked out a style of shorts he liked better and we took them back to customer service. I was extremely nervous because I'd never returned OR exchanged merchandise in my life. But holy cow it was the easiest thing ever. Took literally less than a minute and the lady was quite polite, too. Wonderful job, khols. Now just lower your prices a tad, please, so I can enjoy you more fully.
We came back home and had a little time to spare before the next planned activity so I told him to play a couple games of LoL (League of Legends).
Luckily, Mark enjoys driving so directing him all over town wasn't so bad for either of us. Next we headed over to Paletas Betty, an authentic Mexican ice cream place, for a nifty birthday deal there as well.
I had the watermelon mint (I had tried to get a pecan, nutty-creamy one but they were out) and Mark had their key-lime pie flavor. There's actual graham cracker crust on the other side of it. He's making that face because it's cold and pretty tart. I'm making that face because that's what my face does.
We scurried on over to the Pollack Tempe Cinemas to catch the 2:15 showing of The Hunger Games.
Yes, this was finally our first chance to see the movie and we both enjoyed it quite fully. I'd read the book and wanted to see how they did with it. Mark just wanted to get in on the phenomenon. I want us both to read the whole series. We'll see when we ever get around to that.
(We take turns choosing a series to read together. It's his turn next and he wants to do a Shannara series. I want to read more Brandon Sanderson after that. So we'll see when Suzanne Collins makes it up higher on the priority scale).
So the show started at 2:15, it's listed as 2 hours and 20 minutes and that puts it ending at 4:35 right? Well, we had dinner reservations at 5:00 and thus, basically for the last half of the movie I was freaking the beep OUT. I kept the entire day a secret from Mark so I couldn't just spill to him my worries and let him assume his usual job of calming me down with logic and words. When the movie ended I hustled him out real quick.
We got to the restaurant despite construction work and confused phone GPS plenty early for our reservation. But turns out they close their doors from 2:30 to 5:00...o_O Whatevs.
So we waited outside on the benches as more and more people gathered, including a gaggle of elderly folk who were quite hilarious. Funny and friendly.
I'd only been to Benihana's once before in my life, when I was a young teen staying with my sister and her family in California. Mark had never been but he's quite the japanese enthusiast and loves all things oriental. So a traditional japanese hibachi steakhouse seemed like the proper place to celebrate his birthday. Plus they have a $30 birthday certificate available. Which is super nice for our wallets.
But here's where it gets interesting.
They sat us at a table along with an older couple (probably upper 40's) and two young mom's with the one lady's two kids (4 and 2 years old) (a great idea when there's a hot grill the size of their entire bodies not even a foot away from their reach). The couple sitting opposite from us were very friendly and the wife noticed Mark's ribbon. They talked to us quite a bit and joked around. They admired our "young love" aura, praising the fact that we are "married and everything". When our server came around (speaking barely half engrish), she asked if there were any special occasions and I excitedly pointed out that it was my husband's birthday. She inquired if we had the $30 certificate so I pulled out my phone to show her the email. But apparently the restaurant requires it to be printed out. Which I was not aware of. The communication between the server and I was so terrible that I panicked and didn't make a big deal out of it and just accepted her decline.
But I could see the faces of the couple sitting across the table from us and knew something was up on their end. I tried not to make eye contact and just murmered with Mark about how we could splurge, I guess. The husband left the table and I was getting quite nervous. The server took our drink orders and we were left to ourselves. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the wife gazing at us with compassion on her face and I couldn't help but feel a little nervous and embarrassed but curious as to what they were up to.
Turns out the husband went to speak with a manager and they came back to our table, the manager offering to have me email the certificate to him and he would print it out so we could still use it.
Faith in humanity; RESTORED.
It was honestly one of the kindest and sweetest things a stranger has ever done for me/us and it truly made our night.
Ironically enough, our chef was a guy I knew quite well in high school and I tried to say hi to him but he definitely did not recognize me. Whoops.
We had great fun watching the food be prepared, and watching the younger kids watch the food being prepared. The 2 year old girl stood up in chair and giggled every time the chef mixed anything on the grill but even as she laughed there was an absolutely terrified look on her face. Like she was afraid for her life but if she laughed she'd be ok with it. So sometimes her laughter sounded like sobbing. The mix was terribly amusing.
The entree's we picked came with ice cream so after we were all done eating I ordered the strawberry Haagen-Dazs and he got the rainbow sherbet. Suddenly, from behind our backs we heard a few employees singing their version of the "happy birthday" song and Mark groaned,
They brought out our ice cream (as well as the other kids') and Mark's had whipped cream on top, one of those chocolate cracker stick things and a blue candle. They lit it and our group sang "Happy Bursday". He was a good sport and laughed, blew out his candle and they took a picture of us.
It was a good end to the day's plan.
And I'm just super glad the plan actually went well! I was nervous and freaking out but nothing failed or completely crashed and burned. We went home and I "gave" him his last present, we did some great work on our puzzle and we watched HIMYM until it was time to go to sleep.
I love birthday's :)