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How I Ruined My Wife’s Birthday

I’m a man, and as such, struggle when it comes to being thoughtful. I think I’m thoughtful (after all, my mind is always full of thoughts), but then my wife has a birthday and I realize I’ve completely failed her as a husband.

Today is her birthday, and since I am stuck at work all day (this is me, at work, during my lunch break), we decided that this entire weekend would hold all her birthday celebrations!

So, on Friday, we went and saw Macbeth. It was her Christmas present to me. Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare play, and this performance did not disappoint. So, instead of doing something awesome for my wife, she did something for me. First mark against me (although, to be fair, it was her fault for getting me those tickets to begin with…).

Saturday morning we were going to go to the pool with the kids, because my wife loves swimming and we never have a chance to go anymore (two kids under the age of 2 makes it rather difficult). Instead, we had a tax appointment that morning. To be fair once more, she was the one that set the appointment. However, I felt super bad about it, considering everyone hates taxes, even if we have someone else do it for us. Well, the tax people were an hour late getting us in (that’s what happens when you use a free service at the university). By that time, it was getting late and we still needed to go shopping and I had scouts later that afternoon. So, I left her there. By herself. To do taxes.

And I went shopping with the kids.

An hour later I was done shopping, and she was done with the taxes. Apparently we’re getting back more than we paid because we have two kids and are apparently poor (news to me). But, we’ll take what they give us! No complaints here.

Then we rushed home, hurried to eat, and I put the toddler to bed while the infant slept. My wife then went to her hair appointment (she loves getting her hair done, so she thought her birthday would be a good time to do that. I agreed, of course.). Fortunately, our scout meeting was at my home, so I could stay there with the wee ones instead of packing them around while my wife had her hair done.

Well, at least she got to do something she enjoyed.

Later that night we were supposed to do something fun and exciting because birthday, but (bless her soul), my wife agreed to watch her cousin’s kid that evening. So we had a 21-month-old running around with our 20-month-old, having a grand ol’ time destroying our home. It was certainly fun for our little guy to have his first cousin once removed over to play with, especially since this they never get to see each other. But, again, so much for birthday joys.

Well, at least Sunday would turn out well. I remembered to get all the ingredients for the lemon chicken my wife wanted me to make for her (it’s absolutely delicious, by the way. She loves lemon flavored foods.). And, for her birthday treat, we were to deep fry cookie dough in egg roll wrappers. Mmmmm…can’t wait!

After church, I got to work prepping the chicken. It took me longer than anticipated to cut three chicken breasts into thin strips, but hey, the recipe says it should only take about 35 minutes to cook, so we should be ready to eat by 5:30 (half an hour later than originally planned but hey, not too bad). Welllllll turns out our deep fryer can only cook so many little strips at a time. We didn’t eat until 6:30.

Unfortunately, the food I served was most certainly not the lemon chicken recipe my wife wanted. In fact, it tasted more like soy sauce and honey than anything. Which, to be fair, wasn’t too terrible. But it certainly wasn’t what she wanted. I upped the lemon flavor by dumping in a lot more lemon juice, but it could only do so much. It was enough to make it somewhat enjoyable, so I’ll count it as a semi-victory.

My wife (bless her heart), said it was really good, but I know a lie when I hear one. Even on her birthday dinner (which, admittedly, was a day early), she was trying to help me not feel bad about my massive (and I mean massive) failure. But that’s not the worst of it.

After dinner got cleaned up and the off-the-walls child put to bed, we made cookie dough. I brought out the wrappers to put the cookie dough in so we could wrap them and fry them, and that’s when I realized my fatal error…I bought rice paper, not egg roll wrappers.

Ug. Worst husband ever.

Flash back to the day before when I went shopping with the kids. The grocery store didn’t have any egg roll wrappers (shocking, I know), so I went to the Asian market, which I needed to go to anyway for my prized banana sauce that I can’t live without. I have made plenty of Filipino and Thai food before, but never had I made egg rolls, so I asked where to find the wrappers. The nice man pointed the spot on the shelves out to me, and I looked them over, trying to see which ones we needed.

Remember: I’m with a 4-month-old in a car seat (shopping carts in this market are far too small for said seat, so I’m holding it), and my 20-month-old child (also holding him because he will run around and make sure I buy everything he breaks). The wrappers were also on the bottom shelf, so I had to squat down to get a good view. Unfortunately, this was quite uncomfortable while holding two bags of bricks kids. So I had to put one down to pick up the wrappers. Of course, I put down the squirmy one. He took off to all the other food lying around, finding the only glass jars at his level to play with. So I quickly picked up what looked right and snatched the kid back into my arms.

Then I picked up some adobo flavored cracker nuts because they’re delicious.

OK, back to Sunday. At this point, I just realized I bought rice paper. Not what we wanted. But, hoping for the best, we loaded two up with cookie dough, wrapped them up, and lowered them into insanely hot oil. The bad news was the rice paper just kind of got even soggier. The good news is the cookie dough melted. The bad news is my wife’s treat completely failed. But, on the bright side, we had melted cookie dough.

My wife stabbed the soggy rice paper cookie dough thing with a candle, lit it, and I sang to her in what was probably the most depressing scene since birthdays were invented.

Then we ate plain vanilla ice cream to drown away our sorrows.

By that time it was time for bed. Things had not gone well this night, which was awful, because it was supposed to be her birthday night (since I’m working all day today). I had failed her in pretty much every way possible. However, I did realize that her birthday had not yet officially happened. Perhaps there was something I could do to make up for it…

After about three hours of sleep last night (partly in thanks to a crying baby but more to do with I just can’t sleep when I plan on waking up early), I got up just before 5:00. I put on shorts, sandles, a hoodie, and a hat (because that’s what I like to wear at 5 in the morning when it’s below freezing) and quietly slipped out of the house. I drove five minutes to the grocery store (that I had just been to on Saturday). I needed lemon squares. Or, rather, I needed a baking mix for lemon squares. I went to the baking isle but found nothing. Not a single lemon square box. But, since I was there, I decided to grab some sausages for my wife’s breakfast. I was making breakfast for her anyway, and nobody ever said no to some good ol’ sausage with their french toast and eggs.

After returning to the baking goods section, I still couldn’t find what I wanted, so I drove another 5 minutes to another grocery store. Thank goodness there are so many stores open 24 hours around here! Unfortunately, after I parked and walked to the automatic doors of this next store, I found it to be closed. Since they’re closed Sunday, they don’t open until 6:00 on Monday morning. It was only 5:30. There was no way I was waiting a half an hour.

So, I went to the CVS across the street because hey, maybe they have lemon bars? I guess? Turns out they did have some cake mixes, but I WANTED LEMON BARS! So I went to 7-11 across the street and they were less than helpful (hey, it was worth a shot). So I returned to the first grocery store I was at to try again. They HAD to have it. My life depended on it.

More importantly, my wife’s happiness was on the line.

I stalked back to the baking isle, determined to find what I came for. I looked at every box on the shelves. There was even a gap between boxes (because restocking had yet to happen) and I peered down into the dark depths beyond. Nothing. I kept looking. I came to another gap where a product was missing, and looked to the back. There, hiding in the shadows, was a lone box of lemon square mix. Success! I paid for it and hurried home.

I got home at 5:45 and quickly got everything mixed and ready. Then, while it baked for 26 minutes (and not a minute longer), I went out for a run. 6:00 in the morning is pretty chilly, but that didn’t stop me from going without a jacket or long pants. Shorts and t-shirt was just fine. I about froze to death before I reach my turnaround spot.

But at least I hatched an egg on my Pokemon Go.

I got back to the house with four minutes to spare. I took the lemon bars out of the oven and then proceeded to make breakfast, since my wife would be getting up soon. Now, if there’s one thing I can do without fail, it’s breakfast. I whipped up some french toast with extra cinnamon, scrambled some eggs with her favorite Cajun seasoning, and cooked up some maple sausages. Once it was all done I carried a very full plate (and a glass of juice) upstairs.

She said it was very delicious and thanked me very much.

When I showed her the lemon bars, she also smiled. Then, in shocked horror, asked if I went to the store this morning.


She’s no dummy, and obviously knew we had no such lemon mixes in the house. Then she asked if I still went running.

“Yup. Pretty near froze my fingers off, too!”

Needless to say, she was impressed (as was I) at all I was able to accomplish this morning.

Hopefully I was able to counteract some of the failures that took place over the weekend. I always want my wife to have what she wants, and that is especially true for her birthday. I felt pretty bad that nothing was working out, so I did what I could to make it better. She texted me later that morning saying that she did have a good morning. I sincerely hope she’s not just trying to make me feel better. This is her day, after all, and she deserves everything to be perfect!

Well, after work we’re going out to eat, so at least if the food does get messed up, it won’t be my fault this time. Then we’re going to a Fire and Ice event at an outdoor mall (I can only assume there will be both fire and ice at this location). Then, a free dessert pizza from Malawi’s, because birthday.

Next up: Valentine’s Day.



Click the image below to read the short story, A Drink for Death:

A Drink for Death with New Title  300x225 How I Ruined My Wifes Birthday


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One Comment

  1. Jill K. Jill K.

    You sound like a very thoughtful husband

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