The Unexpected Present, Part Two

You see how he works, distracting with the simple gift (see previous post). Now witness the sneaky majesty that is my husband's brain.

Two days ago, he asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told him, a new GPS unit. He asked, reluctantly, if there were anything else I wanted.

"Nope. Just a new GPS unit. One with a USB cable (unlike my present unit, whose cable was lost years ago, forcing me to type in every single geocache I've ever found, by hand), preferably some kind of Garmin."

He hemmed. He hawed. I knew I wasn't going to get my GPS unit for my birthday. I might not get it before our vacation back east next month either, and that would be a real pain, since we're planning to cache in thirteen different states. I told him I could use a nice sturdy nail file instead.

Yesterday evening, I caught him standing by the front door in the dark. "Whatcha doin'?" I asked.

"There's something going on outside," he replied. "I'm going to to check it out."

Envisioning a fight between my husband and the crazed level 3 sex offender who just got let loose into our community, I said,  "Don't forget your bat!" while casually strolling toward the spot where I keep my sword.

He came back in, unscathed, and asked me a couple questions about making waymarks on my old Magellan GPS unit. I showed him how (he mostly goes caching as a social event, rather than for the joy of logging finds), and then I thought nothing more of the incident until lunchtime today

He delayed coming home in order to swing by and pick up a cake, which he and the kids stuck sparkly candles into. After I blew them out and sliced cake for everyone, my husband handed me a birthday card, which read, "Forever is so limiting. Let's be in love way past that." Ha! It was awesome. And inside, instead of the usual sentiments, he'd left a clue.

A clue.

In my birthday card.

Being the geocaching puzzle fiend that I am (all my geocaching hides are either puzzles or Earthcaches), that moment suddenly got far more interesting.

It directed me to check with Mr. Flix and my Uncle George for further details. I had already spotted, in the mail he brought in, the happy red envelope of my next Netflix delivery, containing the movie I wanted to watch on my birthday: Red. But I also saw that my new driver's license had arrived, so I tore that one open first. Turns out, that was pure luck: Uncle George was a hint for Washington (State Driver's License). And inside the envelope, my husband had slipped a strip of paper containing the following clues:

The digits of your age reversed, plus one
Number of seconds you've been alive (first three digits only, round up) plus one
Second and third digits of the number of hours you've been alive

Now, I'm no Charlie Eppes, but I do enjoy math puzzles, so I whipped out the calculator and went at it. It took a few minutes, and I scribbled numbers all over the envelope that the birthday card had come in. When I had all the answers, I sat there, trying to figure out what they meant.

I'd forgotten about Mr. Flix.

I peeked inside the happy red envelope and slid out another strip of paper. This one read:

Difference in our age in years as of the coming winter solstice (I'm a science fan)
Days we've been married
Fundamental number of calculus times 111

More math on the envelope! Now, I did say I'm no Charlie Eppes, but my husband was a Math major for awhile. He has math jokes, some of which I actually get. So although I've never taken a calculus class, hanging out with him has made me learn the awesomeness that is the number four.

Once I had all six answers in front of me, I realized what they had to mean, due to the inclusion of the numbers 118 and 46.

My husband had hidden me a geocache for my birthday.

Oh, even better than what you're thinking of, trust me. He hadn't made an official geocache on geocaching.com, no. He'd hidden something special just for me to find, somewhere outside the house. (Good thing it wasn't far, with the ankle I've got) I snapped up my Magellan and began turning it on so I could enter (by hand, yes) the coordinates. My husband said, "Now, a smarter man would have known how to delete waypoints..."

Ha! The closest generic waypoint in the unit had the coordinates he'd used for the puzzle. Bonus! So off I went, hobbling around in the grass. We'll skip the part where all the satellites in the sky were conspiring against him last night. I eventually found the cache container, a UPS package, unopened.

That brought the kids over. "Mom, what's in it? Can I help you open it?" Such helpful children I have. We had a long, involved opening ceremony, including the passing around of giant bubble wrap which gave off an unsatifsying piff when popped.When we finally got that out of the way, I got my first glimpse of the actual present that my husband had gone through all this trouble to hide for me.

It was a Garmin box.

I'm now the proud owner of a nice touch-screen Garmin Dakota 10. I'm still the proud wife of the best husband in the universe. And I am never, ever throwing that envelope away.

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