It starts Thursday, when I learn I have 16 cavities and $5000 worth of work that needs to be done on my teeth. That’s what 12 years of no dental appointments will do to a girl. No cavities at all growing up, and then BAM! I learn I also need a root canal. I am depressed and panicked and in need of a dental plan, stat! And that root canal – can I get it done before Zane Grey? I am in so much pain! I research dental plans and come up with some possibilities to mull over the weekend. I am bummed to start my birthday this way, but I know I will find a way to pay less than the original quote and I will take care of myself from now on.
The celebration starts Friday afternoon, at work. An American Idol happy hour kicks off the festivities at 4 pm in the conference room: bread, fruit, cheese, beer, wine and a karaoke machine. The conference room door is adorned with the American Idol logo along with photos of me: Halloween as leftovers, Halloween as an ice dancer, Christmas portrait looking coyly over a shoulder, a random candid photo of my head thrown back and my mouth frozen, open with laughter. We laugh and giggle and dance and sing YMCA, Dancing Queen, Friends in Low Places.
I leave the laughter and song behind to join Chris and his nieces at his soccer game, where I spend joyful quality time with a friend's infant in a little bear outfit, holding him, snuggling him, walking him, quieting him, helping him fall asleep while both his parents run to their hearts content during the game. My friends Barb, Daniel and Mary stop by to check out the game and meet the team; Mary is contemplating joining. I return Little Bear to his parents, and head to Trader Joe's with Barb, Daniel and Mary to pick up wine, frozen pizza, cheese and crackers. At Mary and Daniel's house, we dissect the beauty queens on display at the Miss USA pageant and decide that Miss New Jersey should have won, but not just because Jersey is Barb’s “homeland,” although that is part of it. Chris joins us after the team’s post-soccer dinner and we play Cranium, try to find "Cops" on TV for Barb and try our hand at Wii before finally, at 1:30 am, heading home.
I sleep in Saturday morning, and enjoy the luxurious space of time to myself for the entire day: I read, I paint, I clean, I cook, I read some more, I shop. I can’t remember the last time I had such a long time period of me and only me to think about. I am relaxed.
At night, we join Chris's nieces, mom and dad at a posh restaurant to celebrate his dad's birthday. Us girls make sure to dress up. After dinner, we wander through the nearby outdoor upscale mall, Chris’s younger niece pretending to stalk us, his dad running the wrong way down the escalator and trying to convince me and Chris's older niece to do the same, salivating over Tiffany & Co. and BCBG Max Azria.
Sunday morning dawns windy. I am thirty, for real. All the lead up, all the anticipation, comes to bear. This is it. I am no longer in my twenties. I open my eyes to Chris singing me happy birthday softly. I am excited and ready for this new decade.
I’m also excited and ready for my birthday run. Barb and Daniel pick me and we head to Sabino Canyon. The road up Sabino - part of my favorite, Phoneline Loop - is closed till June, so we travel over to Bear Canyon and Seven Falls. The four miles out are warm and fun and full of laughter and joy.
I chase Daniel down to the base of Seven Falls, yelling that I’m going to get him! Unlike previous training runs to the Falls, I decide to take my time at the turnaround. I strip my shoes and socks off to wade in the water. Barb gingerly makes her way down to the base of the falls, choosing her way carefully, making sure to avoid tripping, falling, hurting herself on the trail. We'll make a trail runner of her yet!
She joins in me in the water, then starts wandering down the slick rock. I open my mouth to warn her about just how slippery the rock gets when mixed with water when she walks into a pool and her legs slide out from under her. She splashes down, landing on her left wrist and her bum.
It takes us awhile to realize just how badly she is hurt. I tell her to keep the wrist in the snowmelt-fed water, to "ice" it and keep the swelling down. After a few moments, she pulls it out of the water, and a huge bump has formed. A fellow hiker at the falls introduces herself as a pediatrician; she pronounces the wrist broken. The doctor finds a stick, wraps it in medical tape and tapes the splint to Barb's broken wrist. The doctor also provides ibuprofen. After a few nervous moments of a gray-faced Barb whispering that she is going to throw up (she doesn’t), Daniel and I tie her shoes back on her feet, pack up our stuff and slowly start making our way out.
Once on the move, Barb feels much better. We walk about a mile before she declares herself ready to run. We take it easy and slowly speed up as we make our way down-canyon. She keeps the broken wrist protected, held close to her heart.
Three hours after our start, we arrive back at the car. Barb insists on our coffee ritual after the run, and the woman behind the counter at Ike’s is shocked to hear that we are stopping there with an injured runner and have not taken her to the ER yet. She is also shocked to hear that I am thirty. You don’t look thirty, she says with a furrow in her forehead. Why, thank you!
Barb drops me off at Chris's before heading to get donuts at Mary and Daniel's. She takes her time showering before heading to the ER with Mary.
After making me blueberry pancakes, Chris takes me to see "Juno,” which I love. Ash comes back that afternoon from his weekend field trip, and the three of us head to Fuddrucker's for my birthday dinner, where Barb, Daniel and Mary join us after Barb gets out of the ER, bringing me donuts from the morning. After dinner, Ash and I take Chris home before heading to our place. Ash crashes, he is exhausted, and I finalize the dental plan I need. If I’m understanding the plan correctly, I will end up paying only $1500-$2000 for what is needed. I am relieved.
It was definitely an awesome weekend, even with the broken bone and dental woes, and I am happy to be where I am in my life.