This year my birthday fell on a Friday. Sabbath birthdays are never any fun (and doubly not so when I am alone for the pre- and post-church madhouse), and so Brandon and I celebrated early. The only benefit to my January birthday is Martin Luther King Day (or whatever it is being called right now). The two are always around each other and every so often I have a holiday for my birthday.
When I was in school, this meant a day free from school. Now that I'm a mother, my responsibilities aren't shrugged off so easily, but a holiday does mean a day free from work for Brandon which is better than nothing.
Since Monday is Sunday and Sunday is Friday but Saturday is always Saturday (unless you live in Saudi or Israel), we had Sunday off last week. Rere comes on Sunday, so for my birthday I got to leave my children with Rere for the day while Brandon and I went shopping.
Egypt has many many things that I like to mock, but one thing they do very well is handicrafts, and I particularly enjoy the intricate, detailed, geometric handicrafts of this part of the world. We haven't bought much yet, always postponing the commitment until later. But with six months left, later is now. And so away we went to the Khan al Khalili.
After much discussion on many occasions, we had decided to purchase a mashrabiya screen and silk carpet. When I asked Brandon about price ceilings for the rug, he looked at me and calmly said "five thousands dollars." I blanched. Brandon never spends money, and cares nothing for possessions. "Well," he continued, "if you're going to get a rug, you might as well get a rug."
And so fortified with avarice and a wild, heady determination for spendthrift-ness that I'd never had before in my life, we set off to make our credit cards melt with fervent heat.
The taxi dropped us off at the Khan, and we plunged in ready to play out the bargaining scenarios we'd acted out the previous night. At first all was well when we strolled down the main tourist avenue. But when we turned to corner, we met the blank stares of closed storefronts. Another corner, and more storefronts with their steel doors pulled down. We wound through alley after alley looking for somewhere, anywhere to spend the money burning a whole in our pockets.
Several hours later and thirteen dollars poorer, we left in defeat for an early dinner. Where I ordered soup, main course, and dessert in retaliation. It wasn't five thousand dollars, and it wouldn't look nice in our living room, but at least it had chocolate.