GO DAWN, IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY…AGAIN
â€œAre you sure two pasta dishes are enough?â€
â€œYes,â€ Pi replied for the nineteenth time, â€œweâ€™ll also have salad and garlic bread and cheese.â€
I wasnâ€™t convinced. Nevermind that Pi throws dinner parties every week and has done so for like the last fifteen years.
â€œCan we also make chicken parm?â€
â€œFine, you have to buy chicken breasts.â€
â€œI can do that.â€
And I could too…but my mom wanted to come with.
â€œMom wanted to come with,â€ that will heretofore be my standard answer to why I bought 19 pounds of chicken breasts for twenty people, even though there are already two pasta dishes, garlic bread AND cheese.
Of course, Pi was totally right. There wasnâ€™t even room on the table for the chick parm and if memory serves, we only ended up making eight pieces or so â€“leaving 18 pounds three ounces of unused chicken in my refrigerator.
But the party was awesome.
Alceste was first to arrive. Ah, death threats â€“ nothing beats â€˜em. Pi â€“ who had â€œvolunteeredâ€ to cook (ok, those pictures from college are officially destroyed! â€“ed.) wasnâ€™t quite done, so we put Alceste to work setting up the cheese platter.
Of course, he became entranced with the â€œBraâ€ cheese Pi had picked out.
Seriously, how come men are in all the positions of authority?
Except for Alceste the first couple of hours were chock full of the old college gang â€“ and their wives and unborn children (man, am I a slacker in the game of life…but for owning my apartment and a car, I would seriously, be in remedial living right about now.)
There wasnâ€™t that much talking because the food was sooo awesome — but I did manage to put my plate down long enough to take swigs of the Sangria â€“also handmade by Pi.
â€œDid I ever tell you about the Sangria we made for happy hour at the News,â€ Chris asked his wife.
She said no.
Years ago, when we were in college and working on the student newspaper, TPTB decided that to keep us happily slaving away without wages on a daily paper, they would provide us with free Dominoes pizza and unlimited Poland Spring water from a cooler.
(To this day I will not, cannot, must not eat nor drink either of those things.)
And every Friday one pair of editors or reporters would sponsor a happy hour.
For his happy hour, Chris and my Scrabble guru friend Lola, had a Sangria themed happy hour.
They made like three gallons of the stuff and replaced the Poland Spring water with SANGRIA!!!
Oh what a glorious night…unfortunately for months afterward all the Poland Spring water had the faintest taste of wine to it.
â€œThat must have been great,â€ Chrisâ€™ wife said at the storyâ€™s end.
â€œYouâ€™d think so,â€ I sighed, â€œbut no…it was more like vaguely remembering a time when you were happy as you grind your way through the darkest days of your life.â€
I did my standard pitch to Chris and his wife to have the baby â€“should she be a girlâ€”to be named after me.
(Later that night Lee Stevens would provide me with graphics and charts demonstrating that while Dawn was a easy to pronounce and spell popular name, it was not sooo popular that should you lose little Dawn at the mall…calling out her name would be usueless. Unfortunately, this picth has not yet produced a bona fide namesake.)
The Arc Builder â€“ our overlord and master on the daily paper â€“ also came by with his wife.
Some of my favorite memories of college involved chatting away with Arc Builder and Chris about politics and affirmative action, fictitious cousin Vito and vengeance. Arc Builder is still the only person in all the world that is better than I at vengeance planning.
I would say more, but if I did, I just know that one day Iâ€™d use my credit card at the gas pump and be taken into custody by Homeland Security. And as I languish away the rest of my days at Guantanamo, I may not figure out how he did it, Iâ€™d just know that he did.
Somehow Arc Builder and I got to talking about the tax deduction on my mortgage.
â€œNah, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll be able to deduct anything because of the AMT.â€
â€œNo, donâ€™t worry. Iâ€™ve been paying the AMT for years and you still get to deduct the interest…itâ€™s one of the exceptions.â€
â€œWow…really…good. I hate the AMT and everything it stands for.â€
After a bit more discussion about the tax code and how it crushes the barely rich, I laughed.
â€œhmmm…who knew that one day weâ€™d be talking about paying too much taxes…weâ€™re practically Republicans!â€
Unfortunately, with my duties as host, I didnâ€™t get much time to talk to his wife, but I heard that Karol gracefully made apologies for my absence and managed make her feel very welcome with the delicately phrased:
â€œOh, you work for so and so? Dawn hates him!â€
My law school friends made their way over to the NC by like nine oâ€™ clock.
F-train greeting me with ye old â€œI cannot believe I have to celebrate your birthday again.â€
Kaz, taking a page from the Karol playbook, presented me with a CD of songs that will not make the baby Jesus cry.
By now I had consumed about half a pitches of sangria, Â¾ of a mint julep, and two beers and was making my way through the Lemondrop…protestations of â€œI have never been drunk in my life,â€ has increased to about four per hour.
â€œI love when she says that as sheâ€™s slurring her words,â€ Karol adds.
â€œIâ€™ve nevvvveeerrr beeeenn duuuunnnk….assskkkk meeee annyythiiinnn.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know who thatâ€™s supposed to be, but shut it.â€
Around ten, we cut open the â€œHousewarming/birthday cake.â€
Turns out I left the candles on my desk at work, so it went unlit and Dawn was a sad panda.
However, in keeping with my birthday of unconventional happy birthday songs, we got in a few choruses of â€˜happy birthday to you (and housewarming) happy birthday to you (and housewarmingâ€™ which made me giggle like the schoolgirl that I am.
I collected quite the bounty of looterific birthday gifts â€“ rfom fancy coffee makers to cartoon DVDs and scented candles.
When Fisch came it was looking like a poker game might happen. As I made my rounds, I stealthily scoped out any poker players in the group…Chris and Rdan were the only ones who even said â€œsorta, kinda, maybe.â€ So twas not to be.
â€œHey, Dawn…you have a blog, so you might know the answer to this.â€
â€œI do have a blog…â€
â€œOk…say you are dating a girl with a blog and you check it out…however, she doesnâ€™t know that you know that she has a blog, can she tell that you read it?â€
â€œWhy donâ€™t you want her to know that you read her blog? I always want people reading my blog.â€
â€œYeah, but your blog is different. You donâ€™t write about your personal life.â€
â€œThatâ€™s true,â€ says Kaz who suddenly materialized from nowhere, â€œshe just writes about her friendâ€™s personal lives.â€
On the exact opposite end of the blogs and dating spectrum, moments later I was cornered by a giddy Smurfette saying
â€œDonâ€™t tell him, Dawn!â€
â€œCome on…tell me.â€
Apparently, Smurfetteâ€™s boyfriend, the very lovely and able to find forks in a pinch, Jon, found out that she used to have a blog and wanted to know the name of it.
â€œAhh…well, Jon…whatâ€™s it worth to you?â€
â€œUmm…Iâ€™ll do all the dishes…â€
â€œOk..good start…but I have a dishwasher…â€
â€œOk..Iâ€™ll clean up and do all the dishes!â€
â€œNo weâ€™re talking…ok smurfette..I have an offer to clean up and do dishes…what are you offering?â€
Of course, as the bidding proceeded, it dawned on me that I could not for the life of me remember what Smurfetteâ€™s blog address was…in fact, I didnâ€™t remember until this very moment while typing the incident.
Caveat Emptor, as they say.
At nightâ€™s end, I said goodbye to people I see every week, once a month, once a year and havenâ€™t seen in what seems like a lifetime. Karol aka satan tried to drag me down to Atlantic City, but I was too full of cake and sangria to be moved.
We played a Russian card game that her friend pheeelepopok made up and she cheated her way to a quick victory.
I still had pounds of lasagna and baked ziti, not to mention frozen chicken and half a sheet of birthday/housewarming cake.
It had been a good night and I promised to be less of a recluse in my 27th year.
Make new friends, indeed, but definitely keep the old…theyâ€™re pretty much gold too.