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Graham: family

*shhhhh!!!*

Graham turns 40 tomorrow.

His big birthday present on the day of his birthday will be the completion of the fireplace rehab. That's right, we're going to IKEA to get the bookshelves and will spent the evening bickering about how to put them up.

I suspect that this will be ridiculously different than most of the other big birthdays he's had.

We are, of course, celebrating in a larger way later on in the week. We've organized a group purchase of tickets to the Houston Dynamo's game on Saturday, and will spend the evening hooting and hollering for minor/major league soccer with about 20 of our friends. And on Sunday, my family will do some sort of dinner for him.

My mom got him tickets to Anthony Bourdain's performance next Monday, so we'll also go to that.

A week of celebration for a person who doesn't celebrate his birthday that often.

He was a totally awesome boyfriend this weekend. One of my cousins got eloped a few months back, which meant that instead of one big party in one fell swoop, he's had dozens of smaller parties over the course of months. Ours--his mother's family--was the second to last. Most of the out-of-town family got into town on Friday, and we went over to one of my cousin's house for curry and gossip and all in all family celebration. My family is big group of loud people. Graham and I got there a little late, and we had to go through a gauntlet of hugs when we arrived. Step, step, hug. Step, step, hug. It took us ten minutes to get in the room. But once we got there, we had a great time. There are quite a number of awesome people in my family, and it's not too hard to get them talking.

We're just over three years into our relationship, and I think Graham's finally got a general idea of which cousin belongs to which aunt over the three generations that show up to these things. It'll still get a little complicated, but by and large, I think he generally has my family down. And of course, we're still growing. We got a new marriage into the family, and in a few months, there will be two new babies for that third generation. Which is cool if Graham and I start having kids in the next year. Cousins of the same general age are always fun. My 71 year old dad and his cousins are ridiculously close, so many decades later.

On Saturday, we had to get up earlish to make it to Johnathan's first birthday. We missed his brother Matthew's third a few weeks ago when we were in Taos, and his sister Vivian's fifth in July said "no presents". So we got all three of them Star Wars tee shirts from Target. They're terribly cute. Vivian, the rule enforcing leader of the bunch, got a Darth Vader shirt, Matthew got a shirt with the old school poster on the front, and Johnathan birthday boy got a Millenium Falcon AND a generic Star Wars tee shirt. The birthday party was a sports theme, so we played all sorts of games with the half dozen or so kids that were there (and their parents). Vivian and Matthew played soccer with Graham, and I demonstrated the football drill. Johnathan, of course, had the best goal of the day, with his dad assisting. We left as soon as cake was over because there was a party at my parents' house for my cousin.

I must have gotten a wrong time or every one else was ridiculously prompt, because when we got there, the house was full. We chatted and watched the kids play and otherwise did what we always do when we're together: eat, drink and poke fun at each other. Toasts were made for my new cousin-in-law and her family. Lots of bald jokes were made. People wondered if they'd recognize Graham without a hat on. It was a good time.

After brunch, we took a nap.

After our nap, we got ready for the main party of the weekend. Jose called when I was getting dressed to ask for a ride. No big deal. When we were about two thirds of the way there, with perfect timing, my parents called to summon us to their location. The belt on my dad's car went out and they were arranging for a tow. They still needed a ride. Only thirty seven minutes late, we arrived in time for salad.

Earlier in the week, I'd asked my dad if he was looking forward to Saturday night. "No." What!?! The man loves party. The man loves to party with his family even more. "It's at a restuarant. You can only talk to the people you're sitting next to. Our house will be more fun." You've never seen a man happier than my dad at that party. Flitting around from chair to chair, talking up a storm, demanding a good time from everyone. The ONLY way he would have been happier is if Liv had been there. The food was excellent. There was plenty of wine. He didn't have to drive home. My father can be silly sometimes.

We were of course the last to leave the restaurant, and Graham and I found ourselves at a bar after dropping our parents off. Of course, we ended up at the wrong bar, and later went to the correct bar. We could only stand that bar for a few minutes before having to flee my cousins, my siblings and the 200 other people at that bar. The nice quiet wine bar was more our speed. I suppose this turning 40 thing has all sorts of different side effects.

Yesterday, we went to the glorious, wonderful, canyoubelieveit!?! Texans game. I love this time of year.