Okay, I haven't had the time to write a blog in ages and I have a ton of stuff to write about, but this one will focus on my birthday.
First - my birthday itself, this past Thursday ALMOST sucked. Aside from the bright spots of waking up to find my bedroom doorway decked out in colorful streamers (courtesy of my wife and kids) and my car filled with about 6 dozen balloons (courtesy of Leigh), I spent the majority of the day dealing with the nut-jobs at work and prepping my house for the party on Friday.
About 10pm-ish I decided I was going to have some fun - damnit! I called up my good friend, Jason, and we met up at Gusoline Alley in Royal Oak for a drink or 2. After altering my mood slightly by having a good time drinking a couple beers and catching up and talking about life, kids, wives, getting old, and other adult-type stuff for about an hour, Sonya calls me to suggest I get home soon and drink there much cheaper.
A bit annoyed, but unable to deny the logic behind the argument, we headed back to my place and I pull up to find my front lawn COVERED in tacky pink flamingos, a "Happy Birthday" sign and another sign announcing that I had been "flocked" by the Ferndale High Marching Band! I laughed more sincerely than I had in a long time! A lawn full of flamingos was cute, but having it arranged by my wife and our friend Leigh, and implemented by a marching band booster organization was the perfect touch! It was a clever fund-raiser and ideal given my professional background! It really turned around my impression of my day as a whole. We spent the remainder of the night in my living room talking and laughing.
The day of my party didn't start out much better than the previous day. Hassles at work were compounded by the fact that my plans for movies in the back yard were not in keeping with the weather's plans. After leaving work early and spending 3 hours trying to figure out which of 4 different canopies at my disposal (thanks Val!) were complete and would work, through no fault of her own, Sonya had work-related things to deal with while I had to try and finish the clean-up and chores with 2 bored children around. I felt bad not being able to play with them more and appreciate my time with my children, but there was shit to do.
Leigh and my brother-in-law Jeremy came over early and were of IMMENSE help keeping the kids occupied and fed while I got things ready - doing dishes, vacuuming, setting up seating, etc. The hope was for Sonya to be by with the PC projector about 9ish and my mother-in-law to be by about the same time to take the kids. Both showed up about 10, which would have really annoyed me, but the kids were behaving fairly well and everyone was having a good time.
I usually invite about 15 people, with a usual "cast of characters" of about 7 or so showing up on a good year. Since I had planned on using the back yard as well, I decided to invite...well...everyone I knew this year. This became a bit of a worry when 'ol mother nature decided to throw me a mid-May curveball and send us 50 degree temps and rain. Even assuming a 40% attendance, 20 people in my 750 sq. ft. house was going to be REAL tight party.
We, indeed, had about 20 or so people throughout the night. One of the highlights for me was my barbershop quartet all being there and we were able to sing through a few tunes for the guests before the old fogeys turned into pumpkins. We started "Team America: World Police" about 11pm, after the kids left, but were unable to do my most anticipated film, "Rocky Horror", since it seemed that someone had hidden it or I had misplaced it. Oh well - being fairly sloshed at that point, I wasn't heart-broken.
All ended about 2am or so and the house was in fairly good shape. One of the benefits of getting older is that clean-up after a party is minimal. There's dishes to do and floors to mop. But on the whole, by now, people have figured out the purpose of trash cans, don't use the arms of furniture for napkins, and mostly wipe their feet when coming in from the rain. Best of all, most simply put on a nice tone with real beer and wine as opposed to keg-stands and beer bongs of Natural Light and Boone's Farm. Therefor, no puke-stains to scrub out of the carpet!
I would like to personally thank everyone who showed up to celebrate my birthday: Leigh McLaughlin, Jeremy Ferris, Val Keiser, Deb Ferris, Ryan Parmenter, Jason & Jenn Everett, Meghan & Chris Wing, Jen & Kirk Wicker, Andy Ura, Caroline Ezop & Todd, Cresta Currie & Bob Young, Lou Coviak & Cathy, Floyd McDaniel, Mike Holland, my kids Liam & Courtney and of course, my wonderful wife, Sonya, without whose help this NEVER would have been HALF the success it was! If there's anyone I forgot, I beg your forgiveness. You all made my birthday party a wonderful time for me, and I hope it was for you as well!
Next: I'm Too Old for Road Trips...
PS. KIRK! MY DIRECTOR'S CHAIR! ARRGH! Just kidding. It's lasted me 10 years, owes me little, and is likely repairable anyway. No worries. You'll be getting a metal folding chair from now on, though. ;)