I could get used to this business of leaving the house in the evenings. It gives me a kind of mystique, I think. Now people (i.e., the Boss) can't count on me to be home all day every day and all night every night. This was at least the third time this week that I've been "unavailable," and today I had da noive to leave at 4:30 pm.
And by the way, I have no mystique at all, of any kind.
Besides that, there were zero messages on my answering machine when I got home at 9:00 pm, so nobody missed me. You can't really build up a reputation for doing something if nobody knows (or cares) that you're doing it. So what if I left early today? The only thing I can say is that I got away with it.
And that I'll more than make up for any lost time, because that's the way things happen. I'll get trapped into working Saturday, or skipping lunch, or something equally bizarre and appalling. Just wait and see.
Anyway, I did have a reason for leaving early today. I didn't just take off on a whim. I have only a little more whimsy in me than I do mystique, and I rarely act on it.
This was John's actual birthday, and we celebrated with a family dinner. You might remember that we gave him a surprise party Sunday. That was actually my first night out this week, although I was home fairly early. Tonight was no surprise. I doubt we'll ever be able to surprise him again. It was just a friendly get-together with the people who matter the most.
David is working ten-plus hour days, so he was tired. Tammy is the pregnant mother of two small boys, so she was tired. (Who wouldn't be?) Eric is immersed in school, work, and looking for an apartment, among other things. We all have such crowded lives that it's almost miraculous that we get to see each other at all, let alone three nights in one week.
The kids were a little tired, too, at least at first. They warmed up pretty quickly, though. D.J. was funny, as always, although probably not quite as funny as he thought he was. Still, that's pretty funny. And Dakota was sweet and charming without even making an effort. He even sang "Happy Birthday" to his Grandpa John. It's the first time I've heard him sing, except for the alphabet (which somehow comes out "O! P! O! P!" in his version).
The rest of the folks who were there — John, Suzanne, Mom and I — are all over fifty, and if we're tired that might have some little something to do with it. (John just joined the Fifty Club today.) We kept up pretty well, I think, despite our advanced age. In fact, it sometimes seems that the next generation is slowing down to our speed, at least by that time of the evening. I've always loved sitting around the table talking after dinner. Now I'm no longer the only one.