At 6:41 a.m., the alarm on my wife's clock-radio - which she had forgotten to turn off before she went in to take a shower - blared loud enough to wake the dead.
Or at least the bald.
And so began Mike's Fiftieth Birthday Extravaganza.
Before the day ended, I:
-- Got a telephone call from a prospective employer giving me hope that they might yet be a future employer.
-- Marked my official eligibility for the Senior Tour (or Champions Tour or Fogies Tour or AARP Tour whatever they're calling it now) by parring my first two holes but still managing to shoot another effin' 95.
-- Drove around a couple of suburban Charlotte neighborhoods my wife and I are considering for our future residence. There are so many nice homes on the market for so little money (compared to similar homes in Chicago, anyway), that it's one of those pleasant problems that won't be easily solved.
-- Learned that yet another car was broken into at the condo complex where we currently rent. If my scoreboard is correct, that's 5 in 2 weeks. Our car has not yet been victimized, but we very well might be on deck.
-- Got birthday-wish calls from my loving son, my loving daughter and my loving brother.
-- Received an e-mail from the brother of a longtime friend telling me that my friend, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, is in the hospital in critical condition.
-- Got a birthday e-mail from my Chicago buddy, SouthtownStar sports editor Phil Arvia, who also was born on Oct. 13. He's exactly two years younger than I am. And one year younger than my fellow Marquette alum Doc Rivers. And three years younger than Marie Osmond. And five years older than Trevor Hoffman. And the exact same age as Jerry Rice. Seems Oct. 13 was a fine day to be born. A good day to hit home runs, too. Bill Mazeroski's famous shot against the Yankees in the 1960 World Series came just a few hours after I entered the world.
-- Received a desperately needed gray Marquette sweatshirt from my wife to replace the old one that is now destined for the rag bin. She then took me out to a great restaurant, where I had some delicious pan-fried chicken, cornbread, red peas, biscuits and collared greens. These ol' southern boys know how to whip up great grub.
-- Enjoyed my wife's famous family-recipe cheesecake for dessert. That old Chicago girl knows how to whip up great grub.
-- Watched last Sunday's Mad Men, which we had recorded. We didn't start watching, however, until we had discussed our housing situation for, oh, the 803rd time.
So, as you can see, my birthday included a little of everything. Some interesting, some routine. Some surprising, some expected. Some not so great, but most pretty damn good.
Sounds kind of like life. For lucky ones like me, anyway.