Another Birthday

Today I turned 33.

I wasn’t quite sure how the day was going to turn out. I did have the day off of work, which I needed and appreciated. I woke up to my beautiful wife and presents from her and the kids. A new pair of Birkenstocks (my last pair was pretty much toast after a can of paint fell out the back of the Jeep and spilled everywhere) and a handmade ceramic skull decorated in El Dia de los Muertos style. There was recently roasted/freshly ground coffee from Caffe Calabria and a trip to Legoland in the works.

We were originally planning to go to Disneyland to take advantage of the free admission on your birthday deal, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Two years ago, a co-worker gave me free tickets to Legoland and we decided to use them. A stop at the donut shop for breakfast and a quick ride up to Carlsbad and we were inside.

Legoland is nothing compared to Disneyland. But we had free tickets (only paid for one child’s admission), the drive was half as much, it was most likely far less crowded and the kids loved it. One of the biggest drawbacks is that except for two rides we found, every other ride has a minimum height restriction preventing the baby from going on many rides. But there were some definite strong points including the hands-on Lego building exhibits, great food for any amusement park and a monstrous play area for the kids to run around in/out/around. By far my favorite feature was a take on a classic European tradition.

I was only eight when I went to Europe but I was profoundly impacted. One odd discovery was that almost every town, especially the larger ones, had a park featuring miniaturized models of popular cities and attractions in various parts of the world. That and giant chess boards — but I digress. Legoland continues this tradition with models of several US cities and attractions from all over the world. Of course, all built out of Legos. The kids got a kick out of Las Vegas – I’ve been there several times in the last year for construction defect investigations and am going back on Sunday. New York was astonishing and according to one of the model citizens (employees), it took 6.5 millions pieces to build. New Orleans was great too and featured a depiction of a Jazz Funeral and bead throwing at Mardi Gras.

We were there for about 6 hours and nobody complained when it was time to go. We picked up sushi on the way home and I enjoyed a glass or two of some decent port.

This was indeed an ideal birthday: I got to spend time with my favorite people and a good time was had by all.

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