Sunday, May 06, 2007

40 and Still Sporty!

It had been a particularly grueling week. Customers had been in all week, preparing us for the impending design review. (My use of the word 'impending' is not unintentional. This design review is hurtling at us like an out of control asteroid.) So, it was with great relief that I decided to take Friday off to prepare for Becky's birthday party.

My first stop was to Costco to buy some giant-sized party supplies. However, since Costco is a members-only club, and I'm not a member, I had to pretend to be Lisa's significant other as she graciously walked me through the store.

As we're walking the aisles, fetching packages of hot dogs large enough to feed a small platoon, I happened upon one of the mothers from my den in Cub Scouts. Julia, who was also shopping, with her son Nathan in tow, greeted me with a warm hello. Then she noticed Lisa. She cast Lisa several curious glances as I made small talk with her. Now, I was about to explain that Lisa was just getting me into Costco, but I didn't want to blow Lisa's membership, so I said nothing. And Julia walked off surely thinking that Lisa was certainly not Becky! Oh, well. Better to let her wonder.

After Costco, it was time to prep that yard. The party was to be an outdoor party, so I broke out all the tools to dress up the lawn. First, a good mowing had to be done. This always takes me about 90 minutes on my own little half acre. Next, I grabbed the trimmer and tidied up all the beds, edges, and such. I wanted this yard looking absolutely spiffy for Becky's party. I gave the sidewalks a good sweeping, and then had time to plant a flat of marigolds into conspicuous spots all around the patio.

Once all that was done, the yard was looking really swell and ready for the party. Everything, and I mean everything, was in bloom. Cascades of dogwoods bordered the yard; the lilac was blooming, alpine hyacinth, Russian sage, coralbells, ajuga, and columbines. It would be a perfect day for a party! The sun shone all day Friday; it was around 80 degrees, and it was an excellent day not to be at work!

On Saturday, however, the weather turned cloudy and misty. Hmmmph! I looked indignantly at the sky, searching for any break in the clouds. Unsatisfied, but determined to go on, I grabbed the boys to head to the grocery store to pick up Becky's cake. While we were there, we decided to get her one of those birthday candles shaped like the number forty. They had two choices: One said "Over the Hill" and the other "40 and Still Sporty!" Jeez, they're both pretty bad. I definitely wanted to stay away from any "over the hill" stuff. Then Luke suggested the "sporty" one.

"Mom's sporty, isn't she dad?"

"Sure, son. I guess so."

Into the basket it went. Along with eight bottles of soda, three tomatoes, three onions, and the cake.

Finally, as the big event approached, the weather cleared up enough to have the party outdoors. People arrived, kids arrived, most of our end of the neighborhood came down for the party. I banished the kids to the yard, forbidding them to roam my house in large packs, turning over bins of toys for no apparent reason other than to upset the tidy order in my home. Mostly they stayed outside, and that was a good thing.

Jim brought six different kinds of beer from a local brewer. Judy brought potato salad and a beautiful tomato and eggplant salad with basil. Leslie and Lisa both brought layered bean dips. Mike took over all the grilling duties, leaving me free to visit and take photos.

The food was lovely! Everybody ate a ton. I personally had one hot dog, and four (yes, four!) hamburgers. Hey, it was my free day!

The kids alternated between angelic play and whiny squabbling. Luke and Eion seemed particularly determined to piss each other off, and I had to separate them most of the day.

Eddie spent most of the day photographing all the girls in the party. He's got some really amazing shots, so be sure to wander over to his blog to check them out. I mean it, some of his shots are truly amazing! [Leslie, this means you. You may want to frame his B&W shot of the girls.]

We ate, we listened to tunes on the outdoor speakers, we ate, we visited, we ate, we drank some beer, and we ate some more!

Then, we sang to Becky, only slightly off key this time:

After the cake, we opened some of her presents. She got a gorgeous quilt from my mother--handmade by her with oriental themed fabrics. Really, the quilt was amazing, and Becky really liked it. (Of course, it was Luke snuggled under it when I came downstairs this morning.) She also received a pewter bracelet with her birth-flower (the Lily of the Valley), plus a round-trip ticket to see her brother and brother-in-law in Vancouver. She'll be thrilled to see them, especially since I'm staying at home taking care of the boys!

In all, it was a splendid birthday party. I hope she had as much fun as I did. And, from the bottom of my heart, I want her to know that, in my eyes, she's...

40 and still sporty!

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