Thursday, February 1, 2007

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams

Every year on February 1, I start referring to myself as being a year older. If someone asks my age, I tell them the next number up. When I was little, it was out of excitement. Now I find that it usually lessens the blow.

This year, in another 19 days, I will be 29. The last and final year in my twenties. And I'm surprisingly okay with that. Frankly, I think turning 26 was traumatic enough for both of them. I was all: "Oh GOD! I'm entering the downward slope of my twenties. ... I can't even say MID-twenties anymore! Now I'm just OLD!" And I spent most of the day being a complete ass and crying in a bathroom. Well, that and my boyfriend at the time was entirely self-absorbed and couldn't see that I obviously needed to him to get in the trenches with me, make me laugh, then take me out for dinner. Jer would know to do that.

But 29? Bring it. I'm probably pretty close to where I thought I'd be at 29. Well, if I had thought ahead that far. I stopped knowing for sure after college graduation. That's where it sort of gets a little blurry. There isn't any societal norm after all that education. You're sort of given a diploma and a gentle shove out the door cushioned with an emotional graduation speech that makes you feel like if you grab life by the balls, you'll end up feeling fulfilled and wealthy beyond your wildest imagination.

Then you realize you're broke, don't have a job and are forced to move back in with your parents. And stumbling around from 22 to 26 can be a bit of an adventure.

I've come a long way since those years. Not financially or in terms of maturity, but certainly in sense of self. I know who I am and, at the risk of sounding like a complete freak by switching to the third-person, I like her. And maybe I'm okay with 29 because I'm interested to see how this new number suits me. I have a feeling it will be a good fit.

Another tradition at the beginning of February is that everyone starts asking me what I want for my birthday. And unlike Christmas, where I'm so busy trying to determine what everyone else wants that I don't have time to figure out what I want, I can dedicate ample thought to possible presents. And who doesn't like thinking about presents?

This year, my list is long and all-encompassing. Homeownership will do that. So I have to get brutal and figure out if I should ask for something I want or something I need.

Well, that didn't take long. Birthdays are for splurging and indulgence. Birthdays are for wants.

But just out of curiosity, part of me wants to compile a disgustingly expensive list detailing the projects and things I have floating around in my head. I know the final price tally would be staggering. Don't get me wrong, I could get absolutely nothing for my birthday and be entirely content with what I have. I know the only things I really need in life are the two other breathing beings under this roof, my family and friends ... and maybe my computer because I love it so.

I guess what got me thinking about the cost of my wants was a recent poll I read about. Opinion Research Corp. asked homeowners how they would spend a $10,000 windfall. And I couldn't believe it, but that dollar amount, which at one point would've seemed staggering, now feels like a drop in the bucket. My house could eat $10,000 for breakfast.

So, just for fun, here is my champagne-wishes-and-caviar-dreams birthday wish list along with ball-park figures, rounded down to the reality of what I would actually be able to afford if I were actually to get any of these things:
  • New gutters (flashy, I know): $2,500
  • Dishwasher: $300
  • Refrigerator: $400
  • New kitchen countertop: $800
  • Paying contractors to lay tile in the kitchen: $500
  • Paint for the guestroom: $20
  • New bedding for the guestroom: $100
  • New curtains for the guestroom and master bedroom: $200
  • Paint for the office: $20
  • Furniture for the office: $500
  • Backyard patio or deck: $1,500
  • Removing a tree in the backyard: $800
  • New lighting fixtures: $200
  • New ceiling fans: $200
  • 6' x 9' rug for the living room: $150
  • 6' x 9' rug for the dining room: $150
  • Refinishing the hardwood floors: $500

And the grand total is ... envelope please ... (opening): $8,820!

Huh. Well, hell, I guess I have to aim higher and upgrade to stainless appliances, granite countertop and fans made of pure gold melted down from rappers' teeth. No worries. Toss in a couple pairs of shoes, a professional camera with an exterior light source, a laptop, a Vista upgrade for my Dell, the video camera I want, Lasik eye surgery, professional teeth-whitening and a few new couture wardrobe pieces to replace everything I'm selling on eBay, and I'd have that $10,000 spent before my breakfast. If my house couldn't eat it entirely, I certainly could.

So, in summation, I'm ready for 29. And I hope it comes with a big fat shiny envelope filled with $10 grand.


Janice said...

Aww well, Happy early Birthday and I hope you get everything on your list! heehee. :) February is a bit of a strange month for me, full of bills to pay and hockey games to attend.

Anonymous said...

Happy early Birthday to you and me. I'll be 26 on the 20th of Feb. Woo-hoo!! LOL!! Have a great day!

Mitzi said...

I was pretty apprehensive about turning 25.

I don't know why.

Maybe it was the ominous sound of "a quarter century old."

Other than that, the only time I felt weird towards a birthday was when I turned 20.

But only because I was working an overnight job locked in a Wal-Mart. It was about 2 hours before Midnight before I realized I was working my last hours as a teenager! :)

Kristin said...

I'm going to be 26 in 5 months and I'm freaked out. I hope I'm as calm as you are when 29 is around the corner.

You can sign me up for paint in the office :)

jsi said...

It is easier to think of a birthday gift than a Christmas gift, hands down.
And I have a big birthday this year as well.
I do look forward to when you post, your writing has a captivating story each time.
Enjoy your day

ajandmac said...

birthdays are so weird.

we always like to keep track of things. how many years have we been friends with someone? how many years have we been married?

how many times have we been to disneyworld, or seen Bon Jovi in concert? how many calories did we eat today?

why do we do that? why do we count things? especially birthdays? for fun?

is it because we know we have a limited number of them? because we expect these things to end someday? because we like to think we have control or knowledge over some part of our lives? because it's a chance to slow down and look at our life in years passed?

im not sure. but i wish we counted other things. like how many times we stood in awe of a sunset. or how many times we danced in the rain. i guess counting birthdays will have to do until i learn to slow down even more.

im glad im not the only one who sometimes gets weird about birthdays. and im really glad you're embracing this one.

Tiffany said...

Wouldn't that envelope be amazing!? :)

The Older Than 29 Plainsman said...

I like how you start a bit early on "reporting" your new age...I am always bugged by hearing news stories or reading obits that note a person died at 99, one day short of 100.

Damn it, they were 100! Who is quibbling about a few hours over a lifetime. Those are the same people who would deny that a person was a millionaire if he or she was short two dollars. Or even two cents.

And for my two cents, your understanding of, and comfort in being Kelly at 29 is something of note and worthy of celebration in itself. Hey, how about a celebration of..., of...., your birthday!

BTW, you've done well with your imagined windfall, even room for a few upgrades. I said a few! I'll look on the sidewalk for some of those "gold rapper's teeth" the next time I'm in the city and send them to you to for the gold plated fans!

wissh said...

Happy birthday month, Kelly! I honestly can't remember 29, which probably doesn't represent almost 50 too well.
Having just had an entire kitchen redone, your guestimates made me smile. Have you actually seen a fridge for that price?

Ray said...

Ha, I'm only nineteen so this coming from a young voice: "I always dread the idea of becoming thirty". But then there are days or events that happen. Whether it be a song or a television show, it makes me think that my early 30's will kick-ass, and my 40's can be too. It's all in the attitude I guess. Or my ability to hope. But I hope when your birthday does come that it'll be a great "29th".

Hehe, oh and when you said you cried for your "26th" birthday it reminded me of the movie "When Harry Met Sally".

Well take care, Kelly.

*Marilynmonroe4u2nv from Xanga.*

Glenna said...

That's funny because I always had more trouble with the 5's and 6's than the 9's and 0's too. 25/26 were also very traumatic for me but not 29/30. 35/36 but not 40. This year, 42 (just turned last Wednesday) was a little more daunting just because you suddenly think "Holy Cow! I'm in my 40's! Not getting ready to be 40, solidly in my 40's! I'm my mother!" Hang in there. It won't be bad. Promise