The best, four-day birthday weekend ever started Friday morning. I was at Wheaton College, giving a 45-minute presentation on local documents to NIDL (Northern Illinois Depository Libraries). They seemed to love my presentation, as did my boss who was there.
That evening, Megan, Tyler and I had our first non-family house guest since Megan arrived, my old friend Ronny. We fed him dinner, I ran them through two quick chapters of a classic Marvel Super Heroes module – M1, The Breeder Bombs -- with Megan playing Spider-Man, Tyler playing the Thing, and Ronny playing Nightcrawler. They did a great job -- I was particularly impressed with Tyler's job as the Thing – and a great time was had by all.
On Saturday morning, I took Megan and Tyler to Half Price Books and gave them some money to buy me a present. Then we went to downtown Bartlett, bought some candy at the candy store there, and walked around to visit the other shops. In time for lunch, we headed to downtown Elgin for Beef Villa, which sends me a birthday card redeemable for a free Italian beef every year, so that's the only time we ever go all the way to Beef Villa. All the food is great there and all the portions, except for the size of their hamburgers, is generous.
After that we went to Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin (Megan's first visit) and spent a wonderful hour and a half there going through their extensive comic book collection. We checked out a near-record 22 books, including things all three of us wanted to read like Top Shelf's Owly and Johnny Boo, and a videotape of Mystery Science Theatre 3000: the Movie. We were leaving just as this big event was starting at the library. The Jesse White Tumblers were arriving – including Jesse White himself who walked right past us. I wanted to stay longer, but Megan and Tyler had enough of the library.
Next we went to Mainstreet U.S.A., a skating rink in what passes for Streamwood's downtown that has been around since I was young. It cost more to get in than I thought it would -- $21 – but it was worth it because it was Tyler's first time ever on roller skates and he surprised everyone, including himself, by loving it. I was so proud to hear him say he was so proud of himself. He fell a lot, but always got right back up and tried again (which is not typically like Tyler). I was also pretty proud of myself for falling the least of the three of us.
We were surprisingly not too hungry at dinner time so we all ate light at home and then headed over to my mom's house where all four of us watched MST3K. Tyler and I loved it and laughed a lot. Afterward, we went home and, exhausted from our full day, coasted into bedtime.
On Sunday, I had to go into work. This was a last minute change of plan that had only sprung up the day before when my coworker Neda called in sick in advance. While I was at work, Megan watched Tyler. Six hours was their longest time alone together yet, but they got along great and had a good day.
After I had come home, had dinner, took them to Mom's house to walk her dog, and then drove Tyler to his mother, Megan and I went to see She's Outta My League at the Picture Show. I thought it was surprisingly good and gave it a B+. Then we came home and watched Chaplin on DVD, a movie I wanted to share with Megan because that was, what I consider, an A+ movie.
Monday, my actual birthday, had some disappointments. Due to some bad scheduling, Megan and I were stuck in a laundry mat for almost two hours. We were both excited about going to Wheaton College to see the C.S. Lewis collection there, but on that day – of all days! – the building was closed for a staff meeting. I’d been waiting until my birthday to show Megan one of my favorite movies, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, but she didn’t enjoy it. No one did particularly well at bowling that night and Tyler got his feelings hurt that he lost. Still, an unexpected highlight was our walk through downtown Wheaton instead of Wheaton College. We all had a good birthday dinner at Culver’s with my mom. It was great having the three of them sing happy birthday to me. Megan’s cake that she baked turned out great. I really like the copy of Essential Iron Man vol. 3 that was my birthday present. And after we dropped off Tyler, we went back to Mom’s house and finished watching Harvey there, a classic favorite of mine and Mom’s that Megan and I had started watching before my birthday weekend.
So, while it may have been too much to ask for everything to go perfect for four straight days, it was still a fantastic four-day birthday weekend extravaganza and deserves the title of best ever!
Man Thing by Jim Cheung
19 hours ago