Rich's birthday was June 21st, the Summer Solstice. Unlike his wife, he does not want a fuss made over his birthday. He prefers that no one even notices. What's up with that? He didn't want to go out to eat but cooked for us at home. Should I feel bad that I didn't even try to come up with a satisfactory birthday dinner for him? We are well established in our roles and I am totally out of practice these days. I was never an outstanding cook in the first place, but after almost 9 years of living in the same household, I am not sure if I would know where to begin any more. Besides making sandwiches for myself and warming up leftovers, I think all I've made for the two of us comes down to this: guacamole, taco salad, one birthday cake several years ago, a short run of pies and pastries, occasional holiday baking, and a few desserts for community events.
His coworkers did better than I did! I stopped by the hotel at lunch time to check our mail and say hi when the kitchen crew brought out a card and a birthday cake for the chef. Happy 59th!
He also doesn't want presents, or so he says. I wracked my brain to see if I could dream up something clever he'd appreciate, but came up short. Once in awhile I will get creative, like the photo slide show I made him a couple of years ago (which didn't work out great, but, hey, I tried). He doesn't really like public displays but I decided I would write this short list of
The Top Ten Things I Love About Richard Bye:
(In no particular order)
10. He's super-duper smart. Like, over-my-head smart sometimes. He reads constantly and can hold his own in a conversation on just about any topic. Keeps me on my toes.
9. He's a genuinely nice person. He would never purposely hurt anyone's feelings and is a very kind-hearted soul. Even our stand-offish little cat loves him the best.
8. He's witty, clever, and funny. He cracks me up regularly. Smart and funny are a winning combination!
7. He's a talented guy. It goes without saying that he is a fabulous cook. He also takes beautiful photos, writes well, plays guitar (and I have a soft spot for a guy with a guitar in hand), and even knows how to juggle. :)
6. Although he has no biological kids, he has good relationships with his stepkids and grandkids from his first marriage, and with my kids and grandkids. He is Grandpa Rich to all the little ones and who would know they're not related by blood? I think it says a lot for a man if he can still have a nice relationship with his ex wife AND her mom. It's so pleasant not to have any drama!
5. He doesn't think he owns me or that I need his permission for anything. His actions say that he believes we are equals. He's the least controlling, suspicious, jealous person I know.
4. When I say, "I want to go to Texas and see the kids" or "I think I'm gonna go visit my mom," he doesn't ask why, get all pouty, complain about money, or act as if he's annoyed. He always just says, "I think you should!" with a smile on his face.
3. Even though I am flabby, saggy, and my hair is thinning more every day, he tells me I am beautiful. He thinks I am smart and funny. I always feel like he's my biggest fan. That goes such a long way. :)
2. He's still a left wing hippie rock 'n roll anti-establishment boy at heart. I love it that he has not sold out and changed his values, become conservative or curmudgeonly, a Republican (oh, my!) or a Tea Party Patriot, bought some ammo and joined the NRA, decided to be a judgmental evangelical, or thrown in his lot with "the man."
1. We are best friends and partners in this big ole adventure called life, whether living the day to day in the Aleutians or traipsing here, there and everywhere. I wouldn't want to travel this path with anyone else and I am so glad we're on the journey together--I couldn't ask for a better person to have by my side.