Above all other birthday hopes and dreams, I wanted Gabe to open his birthday box and find a cake. Like a real "ooh--ahhh" birthday cake. Sending a fully-assembled birthday cake wasn't an option--a good cake with frosting wouldn't stand up to the two week delay or the sticky temps that it would face in the middle east. But, I wasn't compromising on this. So, I schemed a bit and decided to send a drier cake, with frosting and sprinkles on the side, cheerfully compartmentalized in a faux tiered birthday cake. Yeah...I went there. I made a cake, and then I made a faux cake to hold the real unassembled cake. That's how badly I wanted this moment.
According to my research a brownie cake sans butter and frosting holds up well for overseas shipping. I opted for that approach, wrapped the cake very tightly and placed it in the bottom tier of the faux cake. Then, in the other smaller tiers I placed sealed frosting and sprinkles. I covered the gift boxes with a funky textured paper to give it that homemade frosting feel...and used ribbon around the top of each tier like piped frosting. Hot glue a few faux birthday candles and craft a lil' cake topper...and...
BAM. Ship-Friendly-Oooh-Aaah-Birthday-Cake-Moment with enclosed decorate it yourself birthday cake...and virtually no fears of smooshed, rotten cake arriving to greet my loved one!
We both set aside our Saturday for an extended Skype date...which was so very much fun. It started with me honking on a birthday noisemaker for about five minutes, yelling, "Happybirthdayhappybirthday!!!" , then progressed to both of us donning goofy party hats....my singing the most ridiculous Happy Birthday rendition and lighting a mini-cake on fire with about 20 candles, while Gabe assembled the brownie cake on his side.
Then we got to the good part: the birthday gift. It's something that's always felt funny to me, buying your spouse or fiancee a spendy gift with their money. So, I quietly worked at my old office a few days a week this summer, tucking away my earnings into a "Birthday Bank" that eventually grew into....
...the iPad2. Gabe gifted me an iPad2 this summer, complete with sentimental engraving. The best thing I could do was put us in an equally nerdy boat, complete with sentimental engraving:
To the one I travel the world with,
And the one who is my world**
He loved it. Later we snuggled in to watch Bridesmaids while Skyping...we laughed our rears off. Then we chatted for a few hours before we were too exhausted to try to make any more conversation.
All told it was nearly a five hour birthday Skype affair. For being 6,000 miles apart...it wasn't a shabby birthday at all. Gabe says it was his best b-day yet. I know that's not smoke because he said it in his choked-up, "trying not to cry to maintain my masculine tough-guy image" voice .
And that voice never lies. :)
**English sticklers, I am sorry. I'm certain there's something off in that first line. But given Apple's engraving space limitations, you're gonna have to deal with the fact that I soiled the English language on my fiancee's iPad. Forever.