Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Shall Call Her Etienne

Birthdays were always such a big deal in my family. Thanks to my mother, presents mysteriously appeared on the piano weeks before a birthday, taunting the birthday girls with their ornate bows, promise of something wonderful inside. My mom, as I've mentioned before, has a unique ability to always buy the perfect present and she gets just as excited as the receiver. Some years it's a Boxcar Children book, other years a set of luggage to explore Europe. Always something amazing. There was premium cake, too. In my case, I loved cream cheese/chocolate cupcakes and strawberry cake equally and generally took them to school for the whole world to love. So after 20 or so years of this sort of birthday treatment, it's been rough transitioning to life with Corey. Usually, the best part of my birthday is the stream of phone calls from my family back home, singing Happy Birthday in four-part harmony or even my mother calling in the wee hours to pretend she feels labor pains again.

Until this year! He made me a special birthday weekend! The birthday extravaganza all started with a Pirates game shared with our new neighbors. We bought peanuts outside the stadium, which you are evidently allowed to take in and avoid being raped at the concession stand. Shannon taught us where we could get cheap shrimp poppers for dinner and the Pirates actually won. Not even beer prices could thwart our fun. Corey came back from a beer errand in the 6th inning to tell me: "I just saw the parrot rolling past me on a razor scooter and I burped at it." I thought I would die of happiness right there in the grandstand.

In the morning I received this:

(The orange one in the middle with blue handlebars--the Bianchi and the other orange bike are Corey's)

Her name is St. Etienne, and she is hand built by my true love. He actually made a special trip to State College to build her while I was playing rugby in Baltimore. Note the Sturmey Archer internally geared hub:

These were pretty popular in the 70s I guess and Corey and his fellow bike shop owners scour the earth for original hubs. What it means to me is no dérailleur when I change gears, so no slipped chain, no external moving parts, and nothing greasy to mess up my pant legs. So I now rock a unique, vintage bike that is super cool and I have a bike part my husband does not, yet covets. See also how he included a blue, glittery chain because I'm pretty and need a pretty chain.

We broke in Etienne with a 22 mile ride from Ohiopyle, PA to Confluence, PA and today when I got back, Corey baked me this delicious-looking cake.

I feel 12 years old again, so excited about my birthday that I ran outside in the rain to show my new bike to 6 year old Anthony blasting past on his lame green bike. All I need is a bell and my St. Etienne will truly be the world's best princess bike. Corey says he pulled so many tricks because it is a special month, what with graduation and my birthday and our anniversary approaching. I stopped listening when he let me lick the bowl.


ninny said...

that is the most beautiful cake i've ever seen!

pghrugbyangel said...

Katy!!! Happy Happy Birthday! We did miss you yesterday for the game, but I am SOOOOOOOOOOO happy you had a GREAT birthday weekend!! yay! :-)

Emily said...

cory is the Best Husband Ever. How cute is he? Seriously. A blue chain!? I am in love for you! :)

Jane said...

All that and licking the bowl, too. You are one lucky lady, Lev.

PeaceLoveMath said...

Is it a fixed-gear? Did you really ride 22 miles with no gear shifting?? i didn't see multiple gears in the picture. Hopefully I will visit you soonish while the weather is still nice and I can see it.

Any chance of bike pedals while you're home for Betsy's graduation party? I need new motivation to ride my own bike!


PeaceLoveMath said...

obviously my reading comprehension skills weren't up to snuff last night, as I now see you mention changing gears. But I am now wondering how this "internally geared" thing works...? It looks like there's only one gear! I'm intrigued for sure.

Snacky D said...

Sweet ride, Miss Katy... happy birthday!

Chris Mayhew said...

I love your blog.