I am here to tell you that it’s true, Goddammit! Either that or he has something that he puts in his coffee and I need to get myself some of that.
It was my mother’s birthday today. Of course every birthday is special, but some are a little bit more special than others. I would say what made this one special, except my mother would then have to kill me and I don’t think inciting her to infanticide is much of a present.
Her birthday marks the last of the family’s – or the second last if you look at it as a calendar year, rather than a cluster which starts just after Xmas with one of my brother’s then mine in law March, then my other brother’s then my father’s in April and finally my mother’s in May. All the birthdays hit in a row like the rebel force trying to bring down the Death Star and are designed to make it seem like you will never financially recover from Xmas. Of course now I have a nephew whose birthday has bucked that trend as his falls much later in the year, but he can’t read yet so I feel safe (a) leaving him out and (b) destroying Santa.
I am the only child here for the birthday and my mother had already bought herself a present from me so there did not seem much to be done, other than to pick up the Chinese meal she had requested and deliver it.
But it was her birthday, so I wanted to do something nice – even though she did not want to go out, so I had found a shop that did custom cupcakes and ordered a box of six in different flavours to pick up this morning. I had also bought her a jumper she mentioned that she had seen but had also bought her another jumper before she mentioned the one she had seen and another jumper while I was picking up the one she had seen, Look, there were a lot of jumpers, OK? But we are in Australia and it is about to get colder so I was pretty sure at least one of them would get worn.
I have one brother who lives overseas and his main hobby is shopping. Or to be more accurate, browsing. I have never met anyone who is able to spend such a long time just looking at stuff and thinking about it. I have seen fruit whither and die while he is deciding whether to buy it, shop owners grow old and leave their business to their children while he is comparing the merits of one product over another. It is remarkable to witness. If it were useful as a superpower, I would be a lucky sister indeed, but it is not. I had not realised, though, that his talents extended to the internet and so when he mentioned nearly a week ago that he might order some flowers to send my mother on her birthday I assumed a day later that he had done it.
He had not done it.
He then discovered his credit card was out of date and so I had to help him track down his replacement one, which I did and sat back confident that he had ordered the flowers.
He had not.
A couple of days later he and I had a discussion about the various sites and florists (he was using interflora) and he was still mulling over the purchase.
Finally, yesterday afternoon he advised that he had placed the order, although he was worried that something might have gone wrong. He got a weird message: about a scrambled objection error, whatever that is, but it had been followed by an email that seemed to confirm the order.
Just in case, I thought that I might also buy a bunch of flowers, because a couple of bunches would not be bad anyway so after walking up and working out a couple of versions of ‘Happy birthday to you’ (which jokingly calculated my mother’s age in different ways without actually mentioning it) that I could put in the card, I walked the dogs and then drove home via a deli which sells nice bunches of flowers. I had to park a little way from the shop which was a pain because Lucy kept jumping around inside the car and setting the alarm off. Five times in total, from memory.
I dropped the dogs and the flowers at home and then drove off again to pick up the cupcakes. The shop is actually quite close to my parent’s house but the area does not have good parking and I needed to be able to leave my car without having to return to it every five minutes to shut off the alarm.
Flowers – check, cakes – check. I then wrapped all the presents and packed them and the other stuff in the car and ordered the Chinese food. It was 11.30 am and I already felt about 150 years old, ironically a whole lot older than my mother.
I got to my parents just after one brother had finished on Skype and gave my mother the flowers, presents and the cake. Then the doorbell rang and the florist delivery arrived – much posher flowers and a note from my brother that began, ‘They are charging me by the letter, so I will be brief…‘ Only my brother can make a birthday greeting sound like a note smuggled out of a prison.
He Skyped in just after they arrived from a hotel in Bangkok so was able to see what he had sent. Then we propped up my mother’s iPad so he could join us, like Max Headroom, for lunch.
We had a lovely lunch and some tea and cake afterwards. I set off late afternoon and walked the dogs in the park on the way home, but I am telling you that was only one birthday and I am knackered. Santa has to do every child in the world in one night and there is no way that is humanly possible – or at least if it is, it explains why we never see the bugger the other days of the year, because he will be sleeping it off, just like my dogs are right now – and they didn’t buy anyone flowers.