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Age computed, thanks to the wonders of math
From the valley
HAIR CARE hasn’t been high on Em’s list of good reasons to leave the safety of her home lately. Fortunately, the birthday girl was able to take matters into her own hands to revitalize her luxuriant locks with a home remedy approach.

RISING SUN - Last Wednesday, after the newspaper was all put to bed and my obligations for the week could slow down a hair, I woke up a newly 32 year old. 

The night before as Chasca and I readied dinner, we were talking about how old we are. Briefly, between January 27 and May 20, we are the same age. He jokingly asked “How old are you?” to which I stood there, drawing a blank. It seems like the farther away I’ve gotten from milestone birthdays like 18, 21 and even my golden 27, I’ve had a harder time instantly recalling my age. (This is I’m sure giving a laugh to some of you older folks.) But, luckily  thanks to the wonders of simple math, I was able to conclude that I was born in 1989, and this is the year 2021, so I or rather we, must be 32. 

I haven’t had much of a wild birthday since my early 20s, so the ever-looming and now long-dragging-on pandemic didn’t dampen my plans much. 

When I woke up Wednesday, I just went about my usual business. The party animal of the house, Thatcher however did not let me forget for a second that today was a special day. 

Crawling in bed he woke me with a lovely, mono-toned rendition of Happy Birthday, while Waylon waved his arms like a conductor and made grunts and squeals which sounded like his attempts at saying Happy and Yay! And offered generous applause at the end. 

For their part, both boys were quite cooperative throughout the morning. Thatcher engaging easily in his virtual/homeschooling regimen and Waylon happily doodling around the house, sans the screaming and squealing and fighting they usually enjoy engaging in. Even the cats and dogs didn’t try to fight each other–a good sign. 

Thatcher began growing a little anxious as the day went on, as he knew the yearly tradition of dinner at his grandparents’ house was going to commence that evening once his dad got home. 

Too excited to even nap, Thatcher blasted through two days of schooling quick and easy and sat down to relax and watch ‘My Neighbor Totoro,’ while his brother slept. 

My dad also gave me a quick call during this time and I told him my story of how I forgot how old I was. He sounded proud when he exclaimed he has a secret weapon for never forgetting my age. As it turns out, he is exactly 30 years older than me. So when I turned 30, he turned 60 and so on, making it easier for him to remember. 

Unfortunately though, I had to get off the phone before he could once again give me his rendition of my birth. His story, in short, is always the same and always comical. It involves lots of doctors and nurses hurriedly dressing him in scrubs and rushing him into the operating room where my mom is having an emergency c-section. Just as he feels like he might pass out from nerves, out I come “Like a little popcorn, there you were!” peeking over the blue sheet ready to face the world at a mere five pounds and 18 inches. 

Finally, his Thatcher’s dad made it home and we were off. Making a quick side stop to pick up a cake and lovely little gift from Ericka Stubbs, the Driftless Edibles Cake Shoppe owner extraordinaire. 

The pecan spiced carrot cake with caramel vanilla flavored buttercream and fancy gold sprinkles was just as mouthwatering as its title suggests, and weighed a ton! 

We settled in for a visit before our dinner of Korean barbecue venison, Egg Drop Soup, and bacon wrapped water chestnuts. Thatcher was excited to show us all the wonders of Grandma School and Waylon was just happy to do what he always does, doddle around and chase cats. 

After dinner, I was able to open gifts and settle in a bit more before we left for home. 

Sitting there, sipping a glass of water I was struck by a horrific smell. Immediately, I blamed it on their poor unsuspecting dog Pongo. In an effort to spare Pongo from such embarrassment, I didn’t say anything. 

It wasn’t until I looked down to place one of my gifts back in my bag did I see what was causing such an offensive odor. At the same time, Waylon took off waddling toward the bathroom shrieking “POOP!” The combination of too many glasses of raw apple cider and gorging himself on homemade pickles didn’t really seem to settle well in his stomach, resulting in a diaper of volcanic proportions. His gift to me it seemed as I took the job of stripping him down and wiping him up. 

Luckily for all of us, they have a tile floor and a nice big bathtub so cleaning up was a breeze and Waylon felt like the star of the show, splashing around at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I have to admit, I didn’t expect an explosive diaper to be the most wild thing to happen to me on my birthday, but I suppose that kind of thing happens when you turn 32.