Today is my 33rd birthday. In past years, I’ve always enjoyed a sort of countdown to the October 20 day, but like my mother said last night over red wine, spaghetti squash, and meatballs: “It’s best not to rush the calendar.” I promise you all I’m not sitting in a cubicle drawing x’s on a free Clifford calendar, but when I look back on this last year -- a winter that led Michael and I down the carpeted stairs into my parents’ basement, removing our boots and sharing childhood bedsheets on a too-small bed; a spring that spiraled us up a staircase for a two-month sublet, across the street from Gowanus construction in a bachelor pad’s bigger bed that would shake us awake at dawn crack; a summer that saw us beelining for maid’s quarters at my in-law’s, crossing Michael like a street to get into another too-small bed, but one that had us front and center for the night-time crickets of Carroll Gardens -- all I can remember is one, long countdown. The countdown to cooking in my own kitchen was a biggie. As was the countdown to real-ass privacy. But the bed thing, having my bed again, sleeping comfortably in a queen with pillows I bought and blankets I love, stretching out stomach-down to write, that’s what I call a birthday gift.