“I’m cursed,” Brent said when he got off the phone at 6:30 yesterday morning.
“It’s okay,” I said, laughing, guessing correctly that his big surprise had been canceled. The forecast was calling for yet another rainy day in the Philadelphia area, this one to be punctuated by strong storms. “We went to DC that one year,” I reminded him.
“Yeah,” he sighed. “And then we got married, and your birthdays have been downhill ever since. Maybe we should have just been domestic partners.”
The phone call had come from a boating company in New Jersey. We were supposed to head to the shore for the day, to learn to sea kayak. But the skies had not cooperated.
We thought about driving downtown to visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, but that wasn’t so appealing, given the golfball-sized hail they were predicting. Instead, we headed to the neighborhood diner to come up with a plan for the day.
The Trolley Car
has a birthday club that I must have signed up for a few years ago. Now, every June, I get a coupon for a free meal. All I have to do is bring in the email they send me, and my birthday breakfast is on the house. I went upstairs to print out my booty, only to learn that the machine was out of ink. Foiled again!
“God must be really
pissed at you,” Brent said. “Maybe it was all that talk of online dating
while I was at the conference last week.”
It was time to get creative. I grabbed my digital camera, took a picture of the coupon on the computer screen, and threw it in my bag. I would have my free omelet, come hell or high water.
When we showed the waitress the image, she laughed. I got points for creativity, and my meal was on the house.
We ended up spending the day at the Camden Adventure Aquarium, keeping company with sharks, seals, loggerhead turtles, and 5,000 other people looking to avoid the rain. I hadn’t been there since they first opened more than a decade ago, and they’ve beefed up their exhibits considerably since then.
After negotiating our way through the halls amongst the thousands of screaming children (we came away with lots of tips on how not to parent), we headed home to check out a new wine bar that opened in our neighborhood this past week. The Wine Thief Bistro
is less than a mile from our front door, and looks out onto the street through oak-framed transom windows. The decor is simple and clean, the wine list is growing (they had just gotten their liquor license the day before), and the menu is filled with reasonably priced appetizers, entrees, and sandwiches, all seemingly prepared with an eye for detail and a knack for unique flavor combinations.
I could never be a food critic – I have neither the sophisticated palate nor the language to describe the subtleties of a meal necessary to don such a title – but I can say that after sampling the grilled asparagus salad, the vegetarian french onion soup, the house-made veggie burger with belgian-cut fries, and the hangar steak with jicama-lime salad and plantain fritters, both Brent and I agreed that this was our favorite new restaurant in the city.
So, no sea kayaking, and a slightly demoralized husband, but a great birthday celebration nonetheless. Tonight is a bbq with a couple dozen friends (indoors, it seems, if the weather predictions hold true).
And saving the best for last, tomorrow – my actual birthday – following a day of Dissertation Bootcamp, I get to pick the movies!