This year was a little different.
A week or so ago crabmoon inquired what plans I had for my birthday. I gave her a very brief summary of common events in the above paragraph & she offered to join me & take me out to lunch. This would be the first time I'd have company on what had come to be a very personal occasion. I liked the idea & looked forward to the change, but allowed for the possibly of last-minute changes that could render me alone or divert me from the carefully lain ruts I had made & expected to follow once again. We finalized plans this Monday & I talked her into leaving an hour earlier than she really wanted so I could get more stops in. It wasn't too much later than planned when we were finally on the road.
First stop was Petsmart to get anti-fungal medication for Hydra who is sick again. It would have only taken me a minute but we had to look at the cute fuzzies before we left. At Video Game X-Change I found two new PS2 controllers. I'm looking forward to breaking
She suggested a movie; I suggested food. We decided to combine the two by getting food & then going to a movie. I'd only been to the Nitty Gritty once before for my father's birthday a few years ago but it helped tremendously in finding the place once again. It's known around here as the "birthday bar" & patrons who dine on said day get free drinks, a mug in which to contain them & a shot glass sundae. We ate well. I was full before I got to the sundae but enjoyed it anyway. During this meal we succeeded in our desperate, last-minute search for movie listings & time & once I mentioned Howl's Moving Castle the outburst from Lindsay decided the rest of our afternoon. But since we still had a half-hour on the meter after lunch we took a quick hike to State Street, stopping by a goth clothing shop along the way (whose name eludes me) to look at wigs & ended up at (say it with me) The Exclusive Company in search of Freezepop. I instead found DVD set of Pink Panther cartoons. 13 hours of Pink Panther cartoons. I couldn't resist.
There was still a little time before the movie started at Market Square so we stopped at Pegasus Games to partake of their 20% b-day discount. However, as much as I love the place the only thing I bought were two sets of chess pieces; one red, one blue. I don't know when I'll get back into RPG gaming again. It's been ages.
I knew Lindsay would enjoy the movie & I got even more out of it the second time. There are a number of subtle yet significant plot points that are easy to miss & we both vowed to find a subtitled version in the future.
It was getting into the evening & I thought we'd be able to make one more stop but she already had plans, citing reservations at Pedro's for seven o'clock. It was about ten 'till so we high-tailed it back across town through the sudden & heavy rain. While we were driving Lindsay performed some amazing acrobatics changing from jeans & blouse into her beautiful blue Chinese dress, something she promised to wear for me two months ago when I was unable to see her all dressed up for the big New Year's Eve party. We were only 20 minutes late to the restaurant & on the way there I was wondering if it would be just the two of us for dinner or someone else would be along like Colin or Monica. Since it was raining so hard I dropped her off at the entrance & went to park. When I went in I prepared myself for a big greeting but it was just Lindsay waiting for me with the hostess. So we'd be alone. I didn't mind.
I shook the rain from my hat & walked over. Lindsay smiled & said our reservations were still good. We followed the hostess to our table down the hall & around a corner. There were a couple large groups in this room, one in the back with kids & sombreros & balloons & such, & another in the front. Wait, that looks like... Caleb? Caleb is here? Colin?? TOM?! Is that Tom?? What the! Matt. Matt AND Sarah? I haven't seen Sarah in... Holy... Gemma too??! So around the table were phil_bond, My Tom, the_tick27, laviorli, crabmoon, matt_william, henrietta1, sacredpotato, koriandrkitten & one chair in the middle with balloons tied to the back. I was floored. I expected nothing of the sort. No one had ever done anything like this for me. Stunned, I made my way over & sat down.
I was especially surprised to see Tom as his full schedule makes it difficult to contact him unless it's on his terms. And Sarah, I can't remember the last time I saw her when it wasn't on a weekend or for something like B-fest.
I was deluged with emotions & too much was going on at once. I greeted everyone & people started handing me gifts. pennylane_81 & her boy Craig came a little later & handed me a gift bag as well. Caleb pointed out that the extra girth he was hiding under his coat was because he didn't have time to properly wrap my gift. I unwrapped him & found a PVC Morrigan statue from Darkstalkers. This one is version "C" & I see now I must try to find them all. Colin has given me CDs for two of my past three birthdays & has yet to disappoint. He was very generous this time around with not one, but two albums: Dark Side of the Moon A Capella, which I note is "Wizard of Oz compatible," & his own Agents of Destiny, a series of orchestral suites inspired by classic mythology. I remember him conceptualizing this as long as three years ago, as well as discussing ideas for album artwork & possible titles. I'm really happy to see this come to fruition, it was well worth the wait. Also, his timing couldn't have been better as I had planned to download the album on Friday.
Tick gave me a green gift bag stuffed with green tissue paper & tied with green ribbon. I've developed a great liking for the colour green lately for some reason & was understandably excited to open this one. Inside were the green sunglasses he had told me about months ago & that I had never taken the chance to seek out. They're battery powered & when you press a button the frames flash with bright green light, much like Mike Jittlov's. Caleb & I had fun attempting to give each other epileptic seizures.
Craig & Ahnika's pretty blue bag had rose-tinted glasses & SOCKS! Socks to replace the pair I loaned to Ahnika during the dead of winter one night whilst they were visiting my 68 degree house. Monica's card promised my gift was on it's way & Lindsay insinuated that some rather personal questions are necessary before hers is ready. I love Tom's artwork & he included plenty in his homemade card for me, which explained in detail why I only got a card from him. The kindness & generosity from everyone was so overwhelming I couldn't help but grin like an idiot all night.
After dinner I was wondering what all was in store next, if we were doing something else or disbanding for the night. Without asking, Lindsay announced we were all going to MY house O_O; ; ; I knew the place was untidy & not really suitable for company (I should know, I live there) but how could I argue with 11 people who already had my night planned out for me? Well, 10. Caleb unfortunately had to leave us & knowing his work hours I understand why. So somehow the ten of us managed to find their respective vehicles in the rain & make it all the way to town to my place with relative ease. With so many cars tho' some had to park far up or down the hill & hike over to my place. Had I had opportunity to help plan this I would have organized parking & arranged to ferry people up to the house & back out of the rain but as it was I was stunned to stupefication & wouldn't have been much help to anyone for several minutes after I opened my front door. I turned on the light but couldn't see because my living room was full of giant balloons! Balloons on the cupboards, balloons on the lights. Balloons were everywhere! I stood for a moment in disbelief wondering things like "h...how?" & "wh... who??" until I realized Gemma was still standing behind me in the rain so I let her & the others waiting behind in as I went to properly park the car.
I later learned Matt & Sarah had borrowed a spare key from my parents & snuck in whilst Lindsay & I were out for the day. They did a stellar job with the balloons & crepe paper & I'm going to leave them up for a while just because it looks so festive. People made themselves comfortable whilst I fussed about making the place acceptable for all the company. Eventually they corralled me into the kitchen where I was presented with more gifts (!!) Sarah gave me back my copy of Cube that she had borrowed long, long ago & a gift certificate to Scentiments, a great local candle, bath & body store which I've been meaning to shop at for at least a year now. Matt's looked ominous in jet-black paper & silver ribbon & I carefully removed it to find what looked like a large cork-board. No such luck tho' as it was actually the reverse of a framed drawing that features full-colour renditions of Paradox, the DeLorean time Machine from the Back to the Future movies. Apparently a friend of his at work draws cars all day while on the phone with customers & was commissioned. I love his work & would like to meet him some day.
There was still more as Monica & Lindsay had a homemade cake for me, decorated in green & yellow frosting with Mike Jittlov's running wizard logo. It hurt to have to put a knife through such great work but it tasted so good.
The rest of the evening was spent in much merriment with food, music, Jenga & people letting me force The Wizard of Speed & Time original short film upon them. I had so much fun that day I was positively beaming for the rest of the week (& still am whenever I think about it.) There were so many surprises & special moments it's difficult to catalogue them all. I will treasure each gift & every memory they bring back to me.
- E V I L O U T -
Check Monica's journal for real live photos of the event!