We’re just days away from the Carpenter’s birthday and I’ve been thinking of creative gifts for him because, in an unprecedented move, this year my husband outdid himself on my birthday.

I say unprecedented because my spouse doesn’t really understand the fuss about birthdays, nor is he apt to participate in creating one. It’s an unspoken rule in our house that the adults’ birthdays pass without much fanfare. You know this is not my idea. You know I love birthdays. Love them. Everyone deserves a day all about them and presents. Who doesn’t love presents? The Carpenter, that’s who. He thinks birthdays are silly, attention-seeking events that remind him he is getting older and thus, not worthy of mention. And because he was born under the astrological sign of Leo, he believes we should all agree with him.

My birthday is almost a month before his, so I often tease him that his birthday gift will be dependent on the quality of his gift to me. This year he got me good. The Carpenter surprised me with a birthday gift that was not only thoughtful, but humorous and actually useful. It was a clever compilation of gifts inspired by one of my recent columns, “Supervisor,” where I joked about overseeing his backyard projects and suggested that deep down inside, he really loves it when I give him suggestions or opinions on his work. My birthday present was his response to that column.

The Carpenter got me everything I needed to be his labourer (which sounds way more official than assistant). I am now the proud owner of a pink tool box loaded with a pink hammer, pink measuring tape, a level, safety glasses and pink work gloves (because I have delicate hands and am prone to tears of agony over slivers, made worse by the Carpenter’s horrific methods of sliver extraction). But the best piece in all this gear is my brand new pink leather tool belt and shiny new pink hard hat. He even got me trade stickers to put on the hard hat so I can look the part. I already had work boots (never worn). I am now safely and properly equipped to assist with our home projects.

You cannot measure the joy that these gifts brought me. Finally, I was going to get to hit nails and measure stuff and jingle when I walk too. I was going to learn to sharpen a carpenter’s pencil with a knife and tuck it behind my ear (correction: I am not allowed to use sharp tools). Maybe I could learn to spit, too. Exciting.

Inside the tool box was a lottery ticket. He said that was for us to win the money to buy our dream rural property, where my new tools would come in handy. That right there was the heart of the gift: that our dreams remain the same. That our humour about not being quite where we hoped to be at this point in our lives together hasn’t distracted from us appreciating where we are right now. We’re still working on those dreams as a team. And now, we both have tool belts. That’s hot. We’re not going to get much work done (wink).

Update: the lottery ticket wasn’t a winner, but I still won. And he is going to love the bird house I will build him if he ever trusts me with actual nails. I bet he can’t wait.

WriteOut of Her Mind