Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Things To Do With Cupcakes When You're Depressed

Ok, I cheated. We're not actually depressed. We obviously wish things had gone differently, but Tonya is home and on the mend, and a great deal of future uncertainty has been removed from our lives. What we're feeling is complex, but has a whole dollop of relief thrown in.

And it doesn't hurt that we have a much higher-than-normal quantity of chocolatey baked goods at home. You see, Monday was my 38th birthday, and Tonya had both picked up a devil's food cake to celebrate, and made a huge batch of chocolate cupcakes. She had then decided to decorate the cupcakes by spelling out the words "Happy Birthday Tim" on them in frosting--one letter per cupcake, so it only spells the phrase correctly if the cupcakes are properly arranged.

So the timing of events could be seen at least in part as one of those Mysterious Ways In Which God Moves--he timed things so that we would have the maximum amount of chocolate on hand when we needed it the most.

I know, it's a minor thing... but it's often the minor things that keep us rooted in the real world when all kinds of surreal, unreal events are swirling about us. My younger brother tells of the time he and his wife lost a child three years back, how he was resenting the fact that their eldest son, who was then two, wasn't staying depressed like Daddy was. He wanted to play! He wanted to run! He wanted to splash in the bathtub! --as was appropriate for an energetic then-two-year-old boy. And somewhere along the way something clicked in Daddy's brain--maybe my little boy is the one who has things right--whereupon Daddy climbed in the bathtub right along with his boy, and they started splashing together. Note that Daddy was still wearing most of his clothes at the time. And they splashed, and laughed, and tickled, and Daddy remained sane. To this day, he still refers to his now-five-year-old boy as his hero.

So here's the minor thing that's been going on over here. See, we've had grandparents over who like cupcakes. And we have kids who (obviously) like cupcakes too. So throughout the last few days, the various letters of "Happy Birthday Tim" have been vanishing, one after another. One of the y's went away, then one of the p's..., and--well, it looked like it needed a little cheering up.

So every time I noticed a letter missing, I'd try to rearrange the cupcakes into a complete phrase. And then someone would eat another one, and I'd have to rearrange them again. Or I'd pick the next cupcake to eat, by figuring out an anagram that uses all but one letter that I couldn't get to fit. Or after a while, I'd just start rearranging them every time I went into the kitchen, just because anagrams are that much fun.


And of course, there were a bunch of cool words that I never got to use because I couldn't figure out what to do with the rest of the letters. Thus, I wasn't able to deliver any wisdom on "Parthia". But for the most part, I think I did rather well.

Ew. Not a good thing to do to your harp.

We got a book of the Arabian Nights for next year's homeschooling, and read through some of it. Some of those stories are really funny.

Don't invite he.

I bet bartenders hear the "bar paid myth" quite a bit, actually....


And if anyone does business with the M.I.B., I'll bet it's DARPA.

These are known for tormenting garden gnomes.

Well, I had letters for it...

An' da wife she slap da me.

Good that someone did. Those bartenders have to make a living somehow.

So we've been having fun with this. And I think this newfound hobby of mine has actually been cutting down on our family's cupcake consumption, because everybody has been fearful of taking the wrong cupcakes and leaving me with an unusable collection of letters, like when you have a bunch of stuff on a scrabble letter rack that just doesn't spell anything. Truth be told, I'm afraid that someone will come along and eat all my vowels.

Though it actually got easier when someone came along and ate the y's...


Arby said...

This sounds perfectly sane to me!

Someone needs to bake and frost a new set of letters. May I suggest a good fudge frosting?

Happy birthday. 38 is a good number because

1) It's more than 37, which means you're still breathing

2) It isn't 40, although 40 really isn't all that bad

Roger Z said...

Happy 38th Tim! Everyone gets so worried about turning 40, here's some advice based on something I did a few years ago when I turned 29 (well, a "few" years ago is starting to stretch just a tad). When I turned 29, I just started saying I was 30. By the time 30 came around, it was no big deal. And you know what, I had a good long 30th year to enjoy!

So, if you start calling yourself 40 right now, by the time you get there you'll be thinking "man 40 rocks, it never ends!" Or maybe you'll just be in a funk for three years, who knows. ;)

Arby said...

The blogger you once described as having "an amused contempt of Bureaucracy" is at it again. Arby's Archives still rests in peace, but "Boarding in Bedlam" is up and running at

When you have recovered from your cupcake coma, your 38th birthday party, and the Adrenalin Junky's latest escapades, come on over for a visit.