Sometimes I think that I should make clear I write these pieces in advance. I don’t know why I think that. None of you are under the impression that I am now writing the words you are reading.

That epiphany came to me as I was (am) writing a piece about my 50th birthday, which is today as you are reading this, but which has not yet taken place as I write from the distant past.

I am told my birthday celebrations will include pastries from Brocato’s, which makes me very happy. I have plans for lunch and dinner, and my youngest child asked my wife in front of me whether I knew about “the surprise,” so I suspect something else is planned. I hope it is a pleasant surprise, because if it’s something unpleasant – a beating, say – I’m going to be upset enough that almond crescents, cannoli, cream puffs and slices of ricotta tort and raspberry frangipane tart will just barely make it ok.

I have already received a gift from my wife, who bought me a replacement for the 10” chef’s knife I broke because I am a dumbass sometimes. It is the second such knife I’ve broken in the last 20 years. The lesson is that carbon steel holds a great edge, but it does not tolerate dumbassery. I have high hopes I will graduate to mere assery going forward and will not ruin another blade.

I have the knife already because my wife bought it a good ways back, and when it came last month she realized there was a 1 week return policy. She said she wanted to be sure I could send it back if I wanted the stainless model. That’s her story, but I think she just wanted to make me happy, which is what you want if you’re me.

But last night in the distant past I cooked dinner. My son expressed an interest in making sushi a few days ago, and so I planned to make some rolls with him last night. That plan did not include screwing up the sushi rice very badly, but that is what happened. I salvaged about half of it, but by that point we were long past the “rolling sushi” phase and well into “salvaging things.” Fortunately, the salmon I bought was really good, and I improvised a little. Very thin slices of preserved lemon pair well with raw salmon, as it turns out, as do serrano chile, apple, cucumber and pickled ginger. I was pretty satisfied with things for dinner last night, is what I’m saying as I write this from the distant past.

For the anniversary of my birth the helpmeet and I are going to dinner where we have for the last couple. A very awesome friend is going to mind the girls, so we’ll have a bit of peace. Having just endured consecutive daughters suffering from the flu over the last ten days or so, a bit of peace will be nide.

It is possible, of course, that tonight the odds will finally catch up with us, and my wife and I will be bedridden tomorrow. Worse, only one of us could be bedridden. But as I write, all of us are hale, and that’s just about the best birthday present one could want apart from a new 10” Sabatier.