Last Thursday, it being not only my 70th birthday but also Pension Day, I opened my internet banking to do the usual paying of bills etc. – to see that First FosterSon and FF Daughter-in-Law had deposited a large sum of money. It was labelled “Christmas” by which I understood it to be for both of us, but I thought how clever of them to time it so perfectly to arrive on my birthday morning, not to mention just before the 16th wedding anniversary. Turned out they hadn’t had those events in mind, and didn’t know how long the money would take to arrive anyway; they just thought it was time to send us “a little something”. (Their idea of a little something is our idea of huge.)
How joyous and exciting to pay off some large debts which kind people had been letting us chip away at gradually. (Car repairs, chiropractor, phone/internet provider, pharmacy....) With childish pleasure I put petrol in the car and filled it right up, something I’ve longed to do. I stocked up on supplies for the birthday/anniversary party. And, having transferred the computer fund to Andrew for a “previous generation” MacBook, I suggested he phone his older son (my First Stepson) who was handy with likely links when I was looking for one. I had a quick look in JB Hi-Fi while I was up that way in the morning, but the laptops there were fearsomely expensive.
First Stepson said to his father, “Why do you need a laptop? Are you going somewhere?” and explained that with a laptop you pay extra for the miniaturisation and portability. “Go for an iMac,” he advised. There wasn’t much persuasion needed. He Googled Apple resellers for us and found two quite near, so off we went – to find one didn’t deal with Macs at all, despite the listing, and the other one didn’t even exist. It was getting late. We made a snap decision to go to JB HiFi, and there was a lovely NEW 21-and-a-half-inch iMac for $1589 (same price as the tiny 13-inch laptop). So we got it. Just like that. Gee it felt good! The salesman threw in surge protector, firewire cable and screen cleaner for free.
Dear people who generously made donations towards our computers, I hope you don’t feel that it constitutes false pretences if we now transfer them to the car fund. The present vehicle is starting to die, just as the antiquated computers were.
The birthday party was Saturday, and the new machines were proudly demonstrated to guests who were almost as thrilled and impressed as we are.
I had said on the invitation, “No presents”. People either brought flowers instead or ignored it altogether and gave me books and hand-made treasures (a crystal bracelet, a crochet bag for holding loose crystals). One friend insisted that I must have $70 on my 70th birthday, $1 for each year of my life. The good cooks brought Thai curry and jasmine rice, cupcakes with purple icing, and a luscious chocolate birthday cake. Three people contributed extra software we wanted for the new computers.
And my very best present of all came from a friend who phoned up on the actual day of my birthday and told me, in tears, how much my poetry moves her. What more could I ever ask?