Sunday, August 22, 2010
I'm Quite Overwhelmed
I went shopping on Saturday and came home to my 50th birthday party.
I had to think, for a moment, what month it was.
"Isn't this August?" I thought.
My birthday is in October.
"Surprise," said Leah, riding shotgun beside me.
I swatted her. A couple of times. But not hard. Y'know... Because.
I put the Jeep in park, in the middle of our road, and gawped at the people milling around in our front yard, on our lawn, in our garage. There were balloons on our mailbox.
I thought, this must have something to do with our wedding.
But there was a pink banner strung across the garage with "Birthday Girl" written on it.
Well, well, well.
A month and a half ago we were sitting out in the gazebo on a Friday night with our friends Leah and Vic, talking about the wedding. I was talking about stuff I still had to buy and mentioned the fact I needed a new bra. Leah said, "Have you ever been fitted for a bra?" Then she got all excited about how I should go and get fitted, and how we could make an excursion out of it and I said, Yah, we can all go down to Barrie, a city about an hour away, and go shopping.
"I'm not going bra shopping," said Vic.
"Me neither," said Dave.
"Yeah," said Vic. "You guys go bra shopping and me and Dave'll do some fishing."
Which was weird because Dave likes shopping as much as I do, which isn't much, actually, but he always comes along because, although he doesn't really like the shopping part, he enjoys the spending money and going out for lunch part.
So I said, "Wanna go tomorrow?"
"Can't," Leah said. "I'm doing something or other."
Incredibly, she got out her datebook and started leafing through it. I mean, I have a busy personal life but I don't need a datebook for it.
She was busily licking her fingers and turning the pages and saying stuff like, "Next Saturday I'm twiddling my fingers, and the one after that I've got my thumb up my butt and then you're going camping and then we're going to I forget and that leaves us August 21."
"Really?" I said. "That's ages away. You're that busy?"
"Oh yeah," she nodded and started leafing through her book again just to affirm her business.
I shrugged. "OK, August 21," I said. "Bra fitting, lingerie shopping, shoe buying and lunch. Not necessarily in that order."
Screw the actual shopping; lunch is always the best part of any shopping trip.
I woke up Saturday morning so excited about the shopping trip that I got up at 5:30 a.m. That is an insane time to wake up when you don't have to work but I was really looking forward to the day. Our other friend Lynda was joining us and we were set to hit the road at 9:30 a.m. Sharp.
Of course they were late.
And when they got there Leah was busy putting make-up on and eating cereal.
Finally we got going but I decided to pop into Bracebridge first to run an errand and you should have heard those two whining. "We haven't got time for this," said Leah, the woman who arrived late and started putting on make-up and eating cereal. I ignored her and ran my errand. Then I decided I needed a coffee and went through a listened to a little more whining about how we had to get a move on. Lynda started taking photos of things in the back seat and we were on the road for about 15 seconds before she started whining about being car-sick.
Geez, I thought.
At least there's going to be lunch.
Sears. Brassiere department. Buy one get one free special on Wonderbra. Men standing in the aisle looking at the ceiling. Women lined up to see a bra fitter. My bra fitter is short and plumpish and exotic looking. She has an accent and is very quick as she slings a measuring tape around my wide back and my tiny wee breasts.
I am, by the way, remarkably like a Douglas fir. Wide through the girth with a couple of knots where boobs should be.
So we got in the fitting room and she's undoing my bra and helping me into other bras and I had an overwhelming desire to hide myself, which is stupid when one is trying on brassieres. I think of the bra fitter as a doctor and try to be European about the whole thing, flailing my arms about like it doesn't matter that I'm half-naked in front of a complete stranger and wishing I had of shaved my armpits.
When I found the bra of my dreams she said, "Now, isn't that better than the one you had?"
The one I had had a big hole in the back. It was ratty, to say the least.
"Yes, it had a big hole," I said.
She looked at me questioningly. "It had a hole?"
Was it lunchtime yet?
Time was marching on and so were we. Lynda wanted to go to Homesense, a decorating store way at the other side of the mall. We were all getting tired and hungry and cranky by this time. Leah complained about her knees. I complained about my knees. But we were on a mission. Along the way I managed to buy shoes for the wedding, serviettes for the wedding, jewellery for the wedding.... oh, and a pink tu-tu for our dog.
I was excited. I was getting things done. And it was now lunchtime.
I looked over at Leah. She was sitting on a mall bench, hunched over in a ball, moaning.
"What's the matter?"
"I don't feel good. My stomach's acting up."
Oh great, I thought. "Is it nausea or diarrhea?"
She just kind of nodded and moaned.
I tried on a cheery face, thinking of my empty belly. "Maybe you just need something to eat?"
She shook her head.
"Drink?" I asked.
She shook her head.
I swallowed and said what I didn't want to say, hoping she wouldn't take me up on it. "Would you like me to take you home?"
She nodded. "Yeah," she said.
Shit, I thought. I tried not to be mad, I did, honestly, but I was very disappointed. There was still one store I desperately wanted to go to and I almost felt sick myself I was so hungry. But, my friend was sick, so I soldiered back through the mall with sore knees, a dry throat and a hungry gut, trying to get to the Jeep as fast as possible before Leah shat herself in front of everybody.
We drove past Applebee's. We drove past Fran's Diner. We drove past Moose Winowski's and the Crock and Block, Kelsey's and even McDonald's. I tried to be brave but I did choke up a little bit on the way by Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Halfway home Leah said, "I think you better pull over somewhere."
"NOW?" I said, hoping she wasn't going to throw up or crap right there on the freeway.
"Soon as you can," she said, holding her stomach and looking chartreuse.
We pulled into a Wendy's. Leah went in to abuse the bathroom. I knew she was going to be a while so I said, "Lynda, I'm getting something to eat."
I ordered a burger combo. She ordered a frosty.
Five minutes later Leah toddled out of the bathroom and saw us eating. She had a, "WTF" look on her face.
"You OK?" Lynda asked, licking her Frosty and borrowing my fries.
"Just a little shaky," Leah said. "I'll be OK in a minute."
I had to pee but darned if I was going in that bathroom for a while until the smoke cleared.
Leah said, "Can I steal one of your fries?"
I said, "I thought you weren't feeling well?"
"Salty things always make me feel better when I'm sick," she said. "Salty, bland things."
I'd never heard that before. Next thing I know Sick Woman is up in line ordering french fries.
We sat. We ate. We talked. We were having a good time.
We were almost home. There were balloons tied to a tree at the end of our road.
"Someone's having a party," I said.
A few minutes later I pulled up in front of my house. There were more balloons on the mailbox. And friends and family all over the place. I swatted Leah. I kissed and hugged Dave and everybody else. We had a party. Corn, hot dogs and hamburgers, salads and a birthday cake made by Dave's sister, Carol.
I didn't each much - I had just eaten a burger combo at Wendy's a half hour earlier.
Apparently Leah wasn't sick at all - it was her and Lynda's job to make sure I got back home on time. Since I showed no sign of wanting to go home, Leah, an actress, suddenly got sick.
It was also their job to make sure I didn't eat anything.
Leah had asked me to pull over because I had gone from being too late to being too early. Imagine her surprise when she came out of the bathroom (after sitting on the can for five minutes looking around) and seeing me filling my face.
There was a great deal of subterfuge involved in surprising me. Dave and Vic didn't have a moment for fishing - they were busy setting up for the party.
Dave had been shopping and hiding stuff all week.
Vic got stuck in a parade trying to get more stuff.
They sent out invitations. They made phone calls. They decorated. They did all this just to surprise me.
And wow. I was surprised!
My birthday isn't until October 11, but we're getting married Sept. 25 and then going away for two weeks for the honeymoon. Dave figured there wouldn't be any time to plan a proper 50th birthday party any closer to the wedding - there's just so much to do. And he rightly figured I'd be suspicious that close to the day.
So, thank you Dave.
It was the first surprise birthday party I ever had.
I was so shocked I didn't even know how to respond.
Suffice it to say I am a lucky woman to have met someone like you.
Wanna get married?