January 16, 2021 – A party to end all parties!

There is nothing quite like a surprise party to really make an individual feel really special on his or her birthday. My husband threw one for me nearly 4 years ago, when I turned 50, and it was a showstopper. If you ever watch ‘The Great British Baking Show’, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. A showstopper is the crème de la crème, the gold standard, the ‘best of the best’. In order to achieve it, one must ‘pull out all the stops’. As the days approached and I became more and more dispirited, which is typical of what happens when one of my birthday approaches, he was busily making arrangements (completely without detection) to ensure every last detail was attended to. He had so many people in on it and yet, I was clueless. Birthdays for me are just like Christmas, I always dread them. Why? Because despite how much I lower my expectations, I usually end up disappointed. In my opinion, the sooner they’re over, the better.

How he managed to pull it off is beyond me! The first ‘part’ involved arranging with my oldest son to fly out (along with his wife) a few days in advance. They showed up after I had already gone to bed and I was completely caught off guard! I was so overjoyed! My babies are very important to me. Had that been my only gift, I would have been totally satisfied. But, no, there was more! My best male friend from California also flew out and along with him, several other unexpected guests (including our neighbors) came out for the occasion. Even my mom and my brother, Clover and Dapper Dan, joined in on the fun! Oh! And my youngest son, too! My heart was so full, I cannot begin to describe it. And yet, there was more! In order to pull off the ‘surprise’, my husband had to find a way to get me out of the house. At that particular stage, the only people that had shown up were my son and daughter-in-law. I’m not exactly sure, but someone suggested that she and I treat ourselves to a pedicure. A pedicure? You don’t need to ask me twice!

After checking to see if there was availability, she and I made our way to the nail salon. It was delightful! There’s nothing quite like getting pampered every now and again. While we were sitting there, getting the ‘full and luxurious treatment’, I was putting plans together on how to spend the rest of the afternoon with my daughter-in-law because we rarely get a chance to spend time together. When we got done, I wanted to take her shopping and hang out some more but she insisted on going directly back to the house afterward. It really bummed me out. But I did as she asked and dejectedly drove back home. Once back at the house, she went one way and I went the other. And by ‘other’, I mean directly into the livingroom and onto the sofa (in order to sulk). Everyone was acting peculiar but I couldn’t understand it. I started to think something was amiss but then I’d dismiss it and chalk it up to my imagination getting the best of me.

As I was sitting and sulking, the doorbell rang. I got up to answer it and it was my friend from California! I couldn’t believe it!! “Come on, Honey,” he said after giving me a hug, “Why don’t we get out for a bit and maybe catch a movie.” Heck, yes! He is one of my dearest friends and like an uncle to my children. We have known each other since middle school! It doesn’t matter where we go, we always have a wonderful time. After checking in with my husband, we headed out the door. We drove around for a bit and once realizing there really weren’t any movies that either of us was interested in, we settled on a coffee shop where we could chat it up for as long as we’d like. But while we sat there, he kept checking his damn phone! It was really starting to upset me. Usually he is very attentive but it seemed like his mind was somewhere else. And then without warning, he said, “We probably should get back.” “Ok?” I responded, a little thrown by the suddenness of it.

I live in a very small town, so within minutes we arrived back at the house. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when we returned. It was still just my husband’s truck parked out front and everything was quiet. But then I walked through the front door. “SURPRISE!” was shouted gleefully as I entered. I was completely stunned as I took it all in. To the left and right as well as inside the entryway, stood all kinds of beautiful people that I so loved. My husband, my mom, my brothers and my boys along with so many others. The place was decorated to the nines. And knowing that I love to dance, they had even transformed our livingroom into a discotheque that included black lights, strobe lights and a disco ball. My oldest son served as the DJ and my youngest as the bartender. The first song that was played? My favorite, of course! ‘Bust a Move’ by Young MC. You can’t have a proper party without ‘Bust a Move’. And if that wasn’t enough, there was MORE! I know, my husband gets some serious props for pulling off that party!

Oh my goodness, I forgot to mention that it was an ’80s party’! Think Madonna, Michael Jackson, Deee-Lite, Cameo, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the like. I was actually more into hip-hop and R&B in the 80s but most of my guests were into The Pet Shop Boys, Wham, Tears for Fears, and Duran-Duran so the music selections were a bit wonky but we made it work. And because it was an 80s party, my husband had the most amazing cake made by a lady that won one of those cooking shows on TV. How she ended up in our small town is beyond me but the cake was spectacular! It had an edible boombox and a can of hairspray as well as a layered cake that was covered in all kinds of edible 80s memorabilia (cassette tape, underwear from ‘Sixteen Candles’, scrabble letters spelling out my name, and a Rubix Cube). The cake wasn’t all there was to eat, however. There was also a complete spread of everything you could possibly imagine! Fresh fruit on kebab sticks, all the fixings for a pulled pork sandwich and numerous sides. Honestly, there’s too much too mention.

It really was a showstopper. And you know what that birthday party did? Not only did it make up for all of the previous years of disappointing birthdays but it helped me see what a truly amazing guy I am married to! He pulled off an incredible feat! I still feel so much love from that event, even though it’s been several years since it took place. And despite the fact that I only have two photos (of the cake) as evidence of the party, I still hold vivid memories within my mind. It was a day I will never forget! And why am I telling you all of this? I actually was trying to lead in to another surprise party that I’d heard about that really was ‘a party to end all parties’, but somehow I got carried away when I started talking about mine. I still feel like it deserves some attention, so I’m going to try and summarize it as best I can. Believe me, it’s so worth it! Oh my goodness, where to begin? Ok, first of all, this is a true story. It occurred sometime in the last 15-20 years (to the best of my recollection).

Long story short? A woman that worked for a corporate office was going to have a birthday. She hadn’t scheduled anything, but her co-workers were aware of it and decided to throw her a party (unbeknownst to her). The key to pulling it off was a literal ‘key’. At some point in the past, she had made a spare key for a co-worker (in case she went on vacation and needed someone to check on things at her house from time to time). The co-workers devised a plan to ‘surprise’ her on her birthday in her own home. They had her housekey after all! Immediately after work, as she ran errands prior to returning home, all her co-workers left in a hurry and went directly to her house. When they arrived, they weren’t sure where to hide but after hasty deliberations, decided to assemble in the basement. I should mention that she also had a dog, so they had ‘Fido’ join them in the basement while they awaited her arrival. In just under an hour, they heard a car pull into the driveway, followed by the sound of someone entering through the front door, followed by footsteps that led to the back of the house.

Everyone remained still, awaiting the ‘perfect’ moment to surprise the birthday girl. Several minutes had passed since anyone had heard the footsteps, and then they resumed. But this time, along with the footsteps, they could hear someone whistling and calling out a name. The whistling continued and the dog (who was down in the basement) started getting excited. It started to pant heavily and rapidly wag its tail, eagerly awaiting being reunited with its owner. Apparently that was what all the whistling was about, the owner was trying to locate her dog. At long last, after not having any luck on the upper floor, she reached for the knob to the basement door and pulled it open. “SURPRISE!!!” her coworkers shouted gleefully, watching her from the bottom of the stairs. But the ‘glee’ quickly turned to ‘horror’ when they realized what they were witnessing. The dog’s owner/the owner of the home/their co-worker was completely naked and smothered in peanut butter from head to toe.

I’m not going to say anything more about this particular party. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. I’ll just say this, you’d better think twice about giving one of your co-workers a spare key. Let this story serve as a warning. Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading about the variety of things I talk about each day. I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share things about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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