33 Candles: Picture Yourself at Jessica’s Birthday Weekend with Tommy (2-5 July 2022)

Ah, last minute birthday weekend plans were a success. Last weekend, Tommy and I decided on Atlantic City, then plans changed a bit and by last Tuesday, we decided to stay in Philadelphia on Saturday night to be closer to the train that we took to Atlantic City. We booked the Budgetel Inn in Absecon, NJ (15 minutes away from Atlantic City) for July 3-5. We were excited and planned different things throughout the week last week. This was going to be his first time celebrating my birthday with me. (His birthday was April 11, and I made a bit of a big deal about his birthday since it was my first time celebrating his birthday with him – it seems like firsts are always big deals.)

On Saturday we met up, and headed to our accomodation in Hunting Park. On our way to Queen’s Hotel, a bed and breakfast of sorts, Tommy and I learned some Polish. He’s interested in learning it and installed Duo Lingo. I am too; I believe Polish is one language Daniel spoke and Ms. Irene at the library spoke it. I know a little. I had fun playing along and caught on quickly. Some of it is similar to German. Anyway,  Queen’s Hotel was okay; it was a place to rest our heads. We had a TV in our room that had a hookup for a video game console. Tommy brought his wii switch.  Tommy asked if I wanted my birthday gift at that moment and I told him, “no. I want to wait two more days.”

Saturday was a hot and humid day. We didn’t see the skateboarding competition like originally planned, especially since heavy rain was in the forecast. Instead, I wanted to pick up a sun hat at Philly AIDS; Tommy and I hopped onto the Broad Street Line at Hunting Park and headed to Lombard South since Philly AIDS is on South Street (5th). As soon as we made it to South Street, it started to pour. We hung out at CVS before continuing onto Philly AIDS.

Tommy loved Philly AIDS. I found my sun hat and a cute Halloween teddy bear. Tommy found a boogie board, Star Wars drone, and Logitech headphones. We did take some photos; I loved the Christmas snowman and Tommy loved the kayaks. 

Before we headed back to Hunting Park, we hung out near City Hall and Tommy flew his Star Wars drone. I wanted to try on my sunhat. We made it back to Hunting Park by 7:30, we wanted to be back before dark. Tommy hooked up his Wii switch and we had an evening of video games. I loved Cup Head, the game is reminiscent of a 30’s/40’s style game. We also played Minecraft and Rollercoaster Tycoon. 

I slept well, but Tommy did not. He felt uneasy about the area and instead of sleeping, he made sure I was okay. He’s my protector. 

We left at 7:45 am and headed to 30th Street. We made it to 30th Street at 8:15 am and Tommy treated me to Dunkin Donuts. I can only eat potato hash browns there (the only thing that is gluten free) and I told him to get me a pack of 8. He came back, and I can only laugh; typical Aspie, he ordered me 8 bags of hash browns. I was able to eat five of those bags, but had to get rid of the rest. Tommy and I caught the train to Atlantic City at 8:52. 

We made it to our room in Absecon at noon on July 3. Budgetel Inn was nice. Since Tommy didn’t sleep on Saturday night, I recommended taking a nap before going to the beach. I am normally not a napper, but I’ve sort of become one since dating him. We both fell asleep for two hours – even though I was able to sleep in Hunting Park, it wasn’t a restful sleep and Absecon was more restful.

Tommy and I caught the bus and made it to the beach at 3:30. On the way to the beach, Tommy found an abandoned tent. He grabbed it and set it up. It was a great tent to have drinks and listen to music after some swimming. The water was freezing cold. We braved the water for an hour, then chilled and listened to Kim Petras (and other rap songs) for an hour and a half. The sea breeze was lovely.

Had a nice dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, then walked the beach. The beach was misty and we were able to watch the sun set. It was high tide and Tommy made sure we made it off the beach by then. Steel Pier was next on our list and we spent the rest of the evening there. Tommy tried the weights twice and the first time, he made it with 1 second left. He let go. I think they should have given it to him.  Tommy was determined to do it again and that time, face the crowd. Big mistake. He’s not one for a lot of attention and that made him nervous. He did worse the second time around. He did better when he turned away from the audience. I’m proud of him and next time we go back, he will try again.

Steel Pier was crowded. We were able to ride the swings and the Ferris wheel. We are both afraid of heights, but the cars were closed and had a safety door. For $15/each, it was safe, and we felt okay. When we were at the top, we held one another and kissed. Much better; cuddling and kissing really does ease height anxiety.

July 4. My 33rd birthday. We went to bed at 1am and before we fell asleep, he said, “Happy 33rd birthday, my love.” We both slept better; Absecon was quiet and the inn was comfortable. We could both rest easy, so much so that we both woke up at 9:30 am. 

We stretched and Tommy walked over to his luggage, then handed me a hot pink gift bag. “Happy birthday, sweetie. Sorry if it’s a little smooshed.” 

Of course, I opened the card first. That made me verklempt. However, the gifts inside really surprised me. Verklempt! So beautiful and thoughtful.

I gave him a big hug and kiss; thanked him and told him that I really do appreciate everything he does for me. He keeps me safe, he loves me, and has just been awesome in general. Our relationship isn’t always easy, but it’s real, and we both love and respect one another.

One of my co-workers from the County, sent me a text message to wish me a happy birthday. She’s from Albania and I love her fashion sense. I sent her this photo and asked her what colour top would best go with the necklace. She recommended yellow. After the beach, Tommy and I agreed to go to the Hamilton Mall so I could go to Torrid to buy an outfit for my birthday, which went with the jewelry he gave me.

Beach day! Tommy left the tent at the beach the day before and I’m glad he did. We couldn’t carry it back. We set up the beach blanket, smothered on the sun screen and I went swimming. Tommy decided to learn more Polish since the water might have been too cold for him. I had my wet suit on, so the water wasn’t as cold for me. I swam for a half an hour, then went back to sit with Tommy. I learned some more Polish and we went swimming together. Well, Tommy didn’t, it was cold for him, but he did get waist deep, went crabbing, found some shells, and watched me splash around. Before we had enough of the water, I asked him, “would you like to take photos of your model girlfriend?” He once told me that I should be a model, and he’s honoured that he has a model girlfriend. It’s our little joke. He did take some photos.

I brought dad’s film camera and had some older beach goers take some photos of us. I can’t wait to get those developed and I will share them once they are. 

We headed back to the blanket and Tommy called his grandma. His grandma said that she told his grandpa that we were in town. He invited us to miniature golf in Brigantine. I was able to meet his grandpa and he gave us three free games. What a warm man, and we had fun golfing. We didn’t keep score, we just had fun and shared a lot of laughter. It was a great few hours.

After, we went to the mall and I found a lovely marigold shirt at Torrid. I also found a white dress, ripped jean shorts, and a Nirvana t-shirt. The mall was empty and a lot of stores were closing at 5, instead of 6.

When we made it back to Absecon, we went to an old style Pizza Hut. At one point they had gluten-free pizza, but they removed it from the menu a few weeks ago. I ordered 12 wings and fries, and Tommy ordered a hand tossed pizza. Spongebob was on and we had fun watching that until our food came out.

A family came in and the little girl and boy noticed our skateboards after I complimented the little girl’s shirt. I wish I took photos of the kids on the skateboard; I let them ride mine. They were awesome and had fun skating around Pizza Hut. The little girl asked me where we were from, so I told her that we were from Philadelphia and in town for my birthday. The little girl and boy both wished me a happy birthday, then the little girl screamed out to her mom, who was ordering, that it was my birthday. Their mother wished me a happy birthday. It was a really friendly experience.

Out of Pizza Hut by 9 pm and made our way to Atlantic City. We watched the fireworks on the beach, then walked around for a bit after. I was nervous about riding the skateboard on the boardwalk, so I practiced and held on. Tommy did ride, while I continued to practice. 

It was a wonderful birthday weekend and birthday. I am grateful for Tommy, I am beyond blessed. 

Published by


Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “33 Candles: Picture Yourself at Jessica’s Birthday Weekend with Tommy (2-5 July 2022)”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Wow, what a wonderful holiday weekend you guys had, dear friend, and, once again, happy birthday to you… “born on the 4th of July!” Remember, you’re not getting older… you’re getting badder (better). Thanks for letting me tag along every step of the way as you and your boo Tommy made your way from Philly to the hotel within easy reach of the coast and finally over to Atlantic City. It was chivalrous of Tommy to serve as your protector the first night when you stayed in a hotel in a sketchy part of Philadelphia. It reminded me of the time a few years ago when Mrs. Shady and I stayed at a hotel in Tallahassee. We were in town to attend our granddaughter’s graduation from FSU and post-graduation luncheon. We hardly got any sleep because a basketball team occupied the same wing that we were in and they partied all night long in the room right behind our bed board. The walls were paper thin and it was awful.

    The pictures you took are sensational, especially the ones at night among the rides and during the fireworks display. That bathed in red picture of Tommy with fireworks exploding above his head is a stunner – surreal, and suitable for framing. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The picture of you guys inside the tent at the beach is another great shot. It must have been so relaxing to hang out under there and listen to tunes, etc. For years in the 1960s, I regularly watched The Steel Pier Show, a TV music show hosted by Ed Hurst, a very popular radio and TV personality. The show featured teens dancing to the latest hit records and the diving horse going into the tank of water. Tommy was very kind to give you those handcraft pieces of jewelry on your special day. I am very happy knowing you both had such a great and memorable time.

    Let your hearts keep taking pictures
    That you’ll share as years go by
    These are happy, happy, happy
    Summer days

    Enjoy the rest of your b-day week, dear friend JM!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s