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A Big Year for who?

January 11, 2011

“Did you read my blog post today?”

This is what Nate asked me after he wrote “A Big Year for a local birder.” “Wellllll….” he exclaims. “Wellllllll, what?” I question. And then he slowly says, “Soooo do you thinking it would be ok?” And all I could think was oh boy, here we go again.

You see, as most of you know, Nate tackled a Big Year a few years ago. More specifically, the year I was pregnant with Noah. For most fathers-to-be, their last “hurrah” before becoming tied down (oops, did I say tied down?) with a child might be to go bar hopping several weeks in a row or buy some sort of flashy car. But, no, for Nate it was tackling a Big Year. Boy, did I marry a nerd (oh, I’m sorry, I think he actually prefers the term “geek”. My bad.)

I remember the Big Year year fondly. Aside from experiencing morning sickness, wicked heartburn, and mega back pain from our dear, dear, Noah, I remember spending lots of time (including overnights) at home alone while Nate went off to tropical locales such as Cape Hatteras* and Manteo*. But who was I to stop him? Because really, I knew this was the only time for a very long time that he would be able to do this. That is, unless he wants to attempt it now with a 1.5 year old in tow with him. By all means, dear, I fully support that if you so choose. Because as Nate himself has so astutely pointed out lately, “Noah’s kind of been obsessed with tweet tweets lately.” Hmmm, shocker.

*may or may not actually be considered real tropical locales.

So when I read that Nate was proposing to do a local Big Year, I demanded one thing. A. Big. Fat. Diamond. Ok, that’s a lie. I’m not really a jewelry kind of person so that would actually be last on my list. But I am thinking I should get something in return for all of this, right? I’m open to suggestions folks. Because while I know my dear husband will do his best to plan his birding outings around Noah’s naps (note to dear husband: if you were not in fact planning this, you might want to think twice about this Big Year you speak of), there will also be many times when it will be just me at home chilling with a very awake, very energetic (albeit uber hilarious and fun) toddler.

I do have a tiny confession to make though. Aside from all of my noted complaining about Nate’s birding, I have found myself oddly excited about it at times. When Nate calls to tell me he’s on his way home from a twitch (aren’t you proud of me that I knew that term?), I excitedly scream into the phone, “Did you get the bird?!?!? Did you get the bird?!?!” Wow. I never thought I would turn into *that* birder’s wife.

In any case, here’s to wishing Nate many a birds on his local Bird Year and his wife many a good presents for putting put up with it.

  1. January 11, 2011 7:50 am

    Funny post, Danielle. I am myself in a very similar situation than your geeky husband (although my son is 18 month old, a bit younger than yours, if I remember), and don’t really enjoye all the car driving around, so a big year is not that appealing to me. I enjoy, though, planning for a green big day, which relieves me from my evil competitive birding instinct. At least for a while. It also forces me to work out quite a bit, so I can get ready for the 100 miles bike ride

    What should you ask in exchange? This is what my wife would ask :

    – one year membership in a fancy, beautifull gym, with a nice, clean day care attached (done already), so you can work out, or just relax in the steam room while your son is playing with his buddies

    – a trip to New York to meet her girlfriend (planned), and go shopping (potentially more expensive than a new scope..)

    – a fancy i+”something”. And he can’t dowload the ebird eye application on it.

    – a brand new pair or Leica (oops, very bad idea, I mixed up “my” wishes with hers)

    – every other thursday nights to go to the movies with her girl friends. No mattter the boreal/great gray owl that showed up the night before only 6 miles away

    – a family vacation in a place with no potential lifer around, for once, or even in a city (imagine that)

  2. January 11, 2011 7:59 am

    I got my wife a Kindle (affectionately referred to as her Ken Doll) for Christmas. She enjoys it so much and is reading so much, her sense have become dulled. I am dragging her and the kids around birding while she reads in blessed oblivion. Nate should have tried dulling your senses before he openly confessed his attempt at a regional Big Year. Too late now. He’s gonna have to pony up big time!

  3. January 11, 2011 8:36 am

    No no no no no!

    No gifts for a birding big year. Living with a (non-birding) lawyer has made me aware of the dangers of precedents and I must, for the good of all of us with non-birding significant others, demand that Nate get you nothing. Well, except for the pride of being with the man who is going to see 200 birds in the triangle region this year. And, after all, that is all the gift you can possibly want, isn’t it?

  4. January 11, 2011 10:07 am

    no, no, NOOO Corey, you are completely wrongheaded… except about setting a precedent… but the precedent must be to make such activities as pleasant… er, acceptable… er uhh, tolerable to the spouse as possible for the sake of any who attempt this in the future, lest one suffers the almighty ‘silent treatment.’ Personally, I think Nate should get her a completely-accessorized Black&Decker tabletop jigsaw with all tool-extras and a starter supply of treated wood included… or, whatever.

  5. Danielle permalink
    January 11, 2011 6:59 pm

    @laurent – thanks! love these ideas. especially your fancy i+ something idea that nate can’t download anything bird related on since he did “just so accidentally” happen to delete all of my indigo girls off of “our” ipod (oops, did i just rat him out on his own blog?)

    @robert – my mom actually got me a kindle for hanukkah. LOVE that thing but it does take it out of the running as a source of bribery that nate can use with me. now if the kindle could both provide me with entertaining reading AND watch my kid at the same time then nate might have something going for him…

    @corey – i’m pretty sure this ends our cyber friendship, effective today. adios amigo.

    @cyberthrush – by “completely accessorized black & decker tabletop with all tool-extras” do you mean a very large tool such as a hammer that i could hit him over the head with if he actually got that for me? : )

  6. January 12, 2011 4:18 am

    Isn’t it obvious what Nate should get you?

    1 – A boat trip out of Hatteras at the end of May, so you can relax on deck in the sun while Nate and Noah watch, you know, the waves and such.
    2- And of course a romantic week-end in May at a cottage somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can sit at the cottage porch and inhale the brisk and clean mountain air in peace while Nate takes Noah, you know, on a little drive.
    3- A lovely trip to wintery Massachusetts in February so you can play with Noah in the snow all day while Nate won’t be anywhere near you all day so as not to disturb the harmonic quality time.

    And maybe also a completely accessorized black & decker tabletop with all tool-extras, except a hammer.

  7. Danielle permalink
    January 12, 2011 8:53 am

    @jochen – wow, all of these ideas sound very, very familiar to ones that nate has proposed to me in the past! clearly there is a book out there for birder husbands with young children titled “how to dupe your wife into thinking she’s actually going on a vacation meant for her” : )

    • January 12, 2011 9:15 am

      Dang, busted! I hate Amazon’s search engine!


      • January 12, 2011 9:30 am

        well that was too obvious, Jochen.

        What’s about a romantic (at least SOME people find it romantic) trip to the niagara falls and toronto, in May, with maybe a little bit of spare time to visit a nice geographical feature, such as the most southern point of the continental Canada?

        That would sound a lot better. Of course it would be bad timing for Nate’s big year, but maybe he would not mind the sacrifice for just a few days

  8. Nate permalink*
    January 12, 2011 9:58 am

    @Laurent- It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

  9. January 12, 2011 8:18 pm

    How about he gets you a nice pair of Binoculars and join him? That’s what I did for my wife and I think we make a pretty good team. She spots them, I id them.

    Besides it can do wonders for you love life… who know listening to Peterson’s CD of Bird Songs could get you in the mood? 🙂

  10. January 24, 2011 7:35 am

    @Will: That is disturbing.

    @Danielle: I can’t believe you ended our cyber friendship… 😦

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