March 20th is a significant date in our home – it marks my wife Jennifer’s birthday, and this year, she’s hitting the milestone of the big double nickel! However, over time, we’ve veered away from traditional gift-giving practices after I exchanged a craftsman socket set gift for a John Deere riding lawn mower. Our gift-giving has been… let’s say, unconventional. Therefore, there is always a story to find the perfect birthday present.

Amidst the chaos of life, Jennifer discovered I’d be in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on her birthday this year. Coincidentally, it was the same moment I realized that her birthday was that Wednesday. She joked about expecting a gift upon my return, a statement that set in motion a series of comedic mishaps.

Measuring cup without measurements

On Tuesday, it was our turn to bring snacks for a get-together. However, last time’s cheese, crackers, and fruit combo didn’t quite hit the mark. Instead, we’ve found that our group doesn’t touch healthy snacks, pushing us toward the sugary end of the snack spectrum. So, I thought, “Cookies, easy peasy, right?” Well, that thought quickly crumbled. First up, the mystery of our sizeless measuring cups—seriously, what’s up with that? How bad does a measuring cup have to be to not have a size on it.

The ingredients had their own battles. First, there was the great vanilla flood – something we’ve all done, I’m sure. I had previously lost the cap to our vanilla and rehoused it into the closest bottle I could find. Then, the butter, I discovered, has two states in the microwave: either rock-solid or wall paint. Moreover, the brown sugar had transformed into a solid rock. As I chipped away at it, I half-expected to uncover a prehistoric fossil hiding in the grains.

Vanilla stored in a water bottle

Yet, the crown jewel of kitchen calamities was the hand mixer, particularly its rebellious right beater that refused to stay put. Have you ever tried mixing cookie dough with one beater? It’s like trying to catch a chicken in a parking lot. However, as they say, when life gives you malfunctioning kitchen appliances, buy a new one from Walmart. Therefore, I thought a shiny new mixer would make for a splendid birthday surprise.

When Jennifer came home, I was immediately hit with the question, “Why do we need a new mixer?” That was when I discovered (or was educated) that mixers have a strategic pattern for inserting beaters. Who knew left and right mattered outside of shoes? Nevertheless, the debate on who should return the “gift” was brief.

Surprisingly, my trip to Fort Wayne ended early, and I was home by dinner, bearing not a present, but the promise of Mexican cuisine and a margarita. As it turns out, the best gifts aren’t always wrapped – instead, they’re served with salsa and a side of laughter. This proved Mom was right – the perfect present is just being present.”

Birthday gift for my wife- a brand new mixer


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