Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Life List Accomplished: No. 21, Be Given a Surprise Party

Me & My Champagne. We don't suspect a thing!
So, this weekend, Roger proved that he is the greatest guy ever, and helped make one of my life list goals happen – he threw me a surprise party! Guys, this is something I’ve wanted for ages, and for my quadranscentennial birthday, which was yesterday, he made it reality, after weeks of planning behind my back. If you know how nosy I am, you know what skill he has that I never found out, or even suspected anything.

My sister & me.
On Friday evening, I went for a work happy hour in a building that was once New York City’s first brothel. I headed home early, and fell asleep nearly immediately, expecting Saturday evening to go similarly. When I woke up, I’d originally hoped to get my nails done, but ended up being compulsive about cleaning. Turns out, when you are not usually compulsive about cleaning and your vacuum is not a dyson, there are no limits to the dust streaks you can create. These dust streaks led to even further cleaning, which led to Roger and I watching HGTV for two hours before more cleaning. Then, right as I was getting dressed to go to fancy dinner with Roger and my parents, his coworker “called” and he had to go in to work. Another testament to how sneaky Roger is: it was his coworkers birthday, and I kept yelling “Tell her I say happy birthday! Tell her I say happy birthday!” while he was talking, and he was just as irritated as if she was actually on the phone. She wasn’t, because she waited too long to call, and Roger got nervous and made up the whole call. Then, she called 10 minutes later and left him a voicemail that said, “God, you can’t even pick up when you make me fake call you in to work?”

My parents.
So, too tired to really feel the full extent of my anger that Roger was skipping my birthday dinner to go to the museum, I got dressed and headed over to the Red Hat with my parents and sister. The restaurant is very nice, and I bet I’d really love their rooftop bar in the summer. The appetizers (pan-fried gnocchi with vegetables and butternut squash jus, and goat cheese cake with Yukon gold potatoes), the drinks (elderflower liquor with champagne and an orange peel), and the dessert (coconut milk bread pudding with mango sorbet) were better than my entrĂ©e (salmon with braised lentils and mashed potatoes), but everything was good. I’d definitely go back in the summer for drinks and nibbles.

We headed back home, and I was starting to feel both exhausted and angry at Roger for missing the great meal (it is one of the sad facts of our life that he misses lots of the good meals I’ve had). He’d texted my sister (my phone battery conveniently died that morning) to say that he was waiting at home, and so when I walked in to my darkened living room, I wasn’t terrified to find that I wasn’t alone. I was mostly just confused as to why there were so many faces staring at me from the dark. When they all jumped out and yelled “Surprise!” I sort of realized what was happening, although not really, which is the strange thing about surprises – they really are.

Once I saw everything around me, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing people in my life. Nearly all of the nearly 20 people in the room had come from over an hour away, and several had come from distances much further – friends from DC, Maine, Upstate New York, all well over 4 hours away, just to see me on my birthday. The only thing about the party that was less than perfect is that I couldn’t spend the entire time with each of them individually. Everything else was just ideal – fresh flowers, candles, catered food, a bartender (our awesome friend Katie), and time spent with the greatest people I know.

I love birthday cakes!
I don’t know if I can convey how happy it made me to see all these people from different parts of my life in one room. I’ve said so many times before that one of the great tragedies of adulthood is that all of your friends fan out around the world, and they’ll never all be in one spot again, they way they were in pre-school. Hometown friends move to their college towns, college friends move to their hometowns, and everyone separates. Sure, I still talk to my closest friends from Sarah Lawrence at least a few times a week, but I hadn’t seen Sarah since this summer. That’s a long time to go without seeing someone you lived with for five years. I honestly didn’t think I would see so many people I love in one room again for a long, long time, and although I know Roger was upset that I didn’t cry when I walked in, I did tear up a little when I hugged Sarah and Leah, and in front of 20 people, that’s basically being a bawling mess for an average person. The rest of the evening went really well, with much eating, drinking, and foozeball playing, and ended all too soon as most people went to their respective homes, most saying that I couldn’t be mad at Roger again for a long time. As though I am ever mad at Roger!

Magnolia cupcakes for the win!
The next morning, our overnight guests, minus my cousin Jennifer who had to leave early to teach a lesson, gathered at the Mohegan Diner for a goodbye brunch. I was glad to have the extra time with them, and brunch was perfect, because brunch is something I do a lot with all of the people who happened to stay over. Roger headed to the museum, and we headed back to my house to pack everyone up. While I was making doggie bags for Dave and Leah, Erica called and just threw the weekend over the moon. Monday, my actual birthday, was celebrated with Chinese food, cupcakes, and gift-opening. I can’t think of a more perfect weekend to ring in 25. Compared with how I was feeling this time last year, my life has come a million miles, and I really do know now how lucky I am. To everyone who has made this birthday, this year, incredible - every one of the dozens of people sending birthday wishes on facebook and twitter, all of the amazing friends who came to the party, and each of the wonderful people who put up with me on a daily basis - thank you.  It means so much more than you know.

Now, to start on my 25th birthday goals – learn to French braid my hair, wear high heels everyday for a week, start riding my bike more often, eat healthier.


  1. I think this is my first comment over here, just had to say AWW what a great birthday! I too love surprises of all kinds, the birthday party variety are the best.

    also, that green dress is AWESOME. I would like to steal it from you.

  2. isn't it nice to cross things off your list?:) Sounds like a wonderful time and you got to show off that crazy awesome dress we all love!

  3. Awww this is adorable! I've never had a surprise party and it looks like so much fun. That's so sweet that your friends came from out of town!

  4. aawww-- happy birthday! this looks like a fantastic one. and makes me want to put "get thrown a surprise party" on my list too! (it also makes me want to make a list in the first place... :) )

  5. Happy birthday! Sounds like an awesome time :) I had a surprise party once and was totally not expecting it- but it was a blast!
    It took my years to learn to french braid my hair and I still can't do it well! Better teach Roger to do it for you hahaha