ca. 1971

Happy birthday, Leens!

I won’t bother trying to find the perfect gift.  You return most of my presents anyway.  Instead I’m giving you this blog post, plus a manicure and pedicure.

When you were a little girl in Manchester N.H., you used to comb the fringe of your family’s oriental rugs until it was perfectly straight.

You used to dump clean clothes down the laundry chute, so they would magically re-appear the next day, neatly folded.  I’m sure your mom loved that.folded

For fun, you used to go to your friend Sharon Rosen’s house to clean and organize her closet.  (Sharon’s mom probably did love that.)

I once found you in our kitchen staring at the carefully labeled, pastel-colored Pottery Barn organizer boxes above the computer.

“This is the only place in the house I feel safe,” you said.

You are a neatnik.

I am not.fringe

But you have been a good sport.

For years you have put up with my messy minivan, my dirty fingernails, my chipped, coffee-stained teeth; with me wearing outdoor clothes into bed; with me rarely attending your work dinners or movie premieres; with the dog digging in the garden and jumping in bed; with smelly hockey gear in our garage; with annual Troyer family vacations in the woods; with all the endless crappy hotels at youth hockey tournaments in Phoenix, San Jose, Vegas, Detroit and Chicago.

Not supposed to jump in the pool.  Or eat footballs.

Not supposed to jump in the pool. Or eat footballs.

Do you remember when I used to take the kids ‘splash walking’ in the rain?

They would go stomping and splashing through the biggest, deepest puddles they could find.

You were a good sport about that, too.

post-splashwalk lollipops

post-splashwalk lollipops

You have put up with the mess, the chaos and, above all, the nagging feeling — once you finally got home from work each night — that I had put all my energy into the kids and dog and was now just a tired, cranky, wrung-out dishcloth of a husband.


possibly raised on a farm

So today, for your birthday, I will finally get that manicure/pedicure you’ve been pestering me about for 15 years.

dirty nails

I can’t promise it will last for long.  My nails may look good for only a day or two.  But at least for today, I’m cleaning up my act.

Happy birthday, sweet Aleeno.

May you live a long time, and may you always have this same beautiful smile on your face.


About Kit Troyer

Kit Troyer lives in Los Angeles. He worked previously as a newspaper reporter and a criminal defense attorney. For the last 15 years, he has been a stay-at-home dad. But that gig is running out. Kids will soon be moving out and moving on.
This entry was posted in CHILD REARING, THE ARMENIAN IN-LAWS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. wbchisholm says:

    Nice work Kit. Happy birthday Aleen!!!

  2. Elaine Thomas says:

    You can take the dirt out of the man, but you can’t take the man out of the dirt. Ashes to ashes, dirt to dirt. Dirt is to Kit’s Shirt as Pristine is to Aleen. hee hee!! Well done, Kit! Laughing as always. E xx

  3. Nancy says:

    I love you kit. And I love clean Aleen.
    You are both crazy good folks.
    Happy birthday!

  4. kswann2013 says:

    Happy Birthday Aleen- Kit I will never look at you the same from the kitchen window as you pass by on your walks- nope- now it will be with even more respect. Enjoy your pamper!

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