Chooch & I, pre-birthday dinner. (His Lollipop Guild smirk cracks me up!)
I remember reading somewhere in my blog-travels that people should cease having birthday parties once they become grown-ups, like literally just stop cold turkey straight out of high school I guess. And that drinks at a bar with other grown-ups is an acceptable form of celebrating ones day of birth.
I have to politely disagree. In fact, I started writing this whole quasi-rant about birthdays last week which I might still post (especially after the film screening that Wendy and I went to Saturday night, because it all kind of ties together), but the gist of it is, why is it so obnoxious to celebrate ourselves once a fucking year. I spent many, many birthdays alone, pouting, feeling sorry for myself, etc etc. The 20s are hard years, you guys! But now, I choose to spend my birthday with as many friends as I can round up because that is what makes me happy. It’s not alllll about the attention or the presents (I mean, it kind of is—I can always use a Hot Topic gift card!—but not totally), it’s about being with my people, my homies, my FOLLOWERS. It’s all very Kumbaya, really.
Also, I’m a Leo with the emotional age of a 12-year-old, so birthdays are important to me, you guys! Even OTHER PEOPLE’S birthdays! Can you imagine!? I care about things sometimes that don’t have anything to do with me, OMG.
But really, I’m not even kidding: If my house wasn’t a pit of despair, I would totally have birthday sleepovers and make everyone watch “Paperhouse” and “April Fool’s Day.” Probably “St. Elmo’s Fire” too.
This year, I decided (kind of last minute) that I wanted to have dinner at this restaurant called Shakespeare’s, because the website falsely alluded of tackiness. It turns out that it wasn’t tacky at all (though there WERE dragonhead door handles and suits of armor), but actually a really nice restaurant on a golf course.
Since it wasn’t a milestone birthday of any sort, I tried not to go overboard with it because god forbid Henry should have to ask for the banquet hall. That might be too wedding reception-esque for him, and we all know he’s allergic to the W-word. The only thing Henry had to do other than making reservations was order my fucking cake. I asked him to do this a month ago, before I even had birthday plans, and he was all, “OMG YOU MAKE ME DO EVERYTHING!” Excuse me for wanting to someone else to actually take the reins for once, my god! I always have to plan my parties, which is fine, but a little help would be nice. And ordering my own birthday cake made me feel sad and pathetic. I figured he would have asked Kaitlin to FINALLY make me that Jonny Craig cake I’ve been loudly hinting around about for the last two years, but then I found out last week that he still hadn’t gotten off his birthday cake La-Z-Boy.
“Can’t you just ask Kaitlin yourself?” he asked. Yes, 6 days before my birthday dinner and while she’s on vacation in California. That works, Henry.
Saturday, I begged him to admit that he was bluffing. “No, I really didn’t get a cake. I thought about it…”
THE THOUGHT DOESN’T COUNT THIS TIME, YOU MOTHERFUCKER. I mean, it’s just a cake! You don’t even have to bake it! Here, how about this: Find a fucking bakery or I’m going to find Chooch a new father.
By Sunday, we had a fullblown about it and I uninvited him to my dinner 18 different times, gave him a list of things to fuck himself with, and then made sure to remind him of all the ex-boyfriends I have who would have ordered me a fucking cake, which just happens to be ALL OF THEM.
He stayed upstairs for another hour and I assumed he was sulking; meanwhile, I searched for bakeries that are open on Sundays and don’t suck, when I remembered that my favorite cupcakery in the city is in fact open on Sundays and I like cupcakes better than cake anyway! So when Henry came downstairs, I barked at him to go to Vanilla Pastry Studio.
Apparently, he had the same idea. “I know. That’s why I’m dressed,” he mumbled. (Usually on Sunday mornings he’s just in his UNDERWEAR EWWWWW.) So then we laughed about it and he apologized, which is all I wanted anyway, for him to admit that he sucks at life.
But now that I think about it, I don’t remember ever re-inviting him to my birthday party….
So this place ended up being about 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh, which I thought for sure my friends would bitch about, and maybe they did behind my back, but look! People came! And I didn’t have to sit by Henry! (I did miss Chooch, though, but it’s too hard for us to share attention when we’re right next to each other. It was better this way. And he really did a great job entertaining that section of the table, from what I hear.)
Henry’s mom came with us and she spent the whole time talking about people we don’t know and cooing over the scenery.
“I want to move out here,” she cried as we drove down the main street of some small, totally quaint town that I would bore me in about 3 hours.
“Then you better do it soon,” Henry said dryly.
I always get super on edge before a party of any kind, even my pie parties, so I was pretty much like, “Can you all kindly STFU please?!” It was looking like we were going to be late, so I was completely stressed out. Everyone pretty much arrived at the same time though, so we all walked in together and it was fine because they didn’t even have our stupid table ready anyway.
“Isn’t that the point of a reservation?” Gina asked rhetorically AND I HOPE THE GUY IN THE TIE HEARD HER.
Barb was stoked because she’s obsessed with Game of Thrones and this place was very reminiscent of it, I guess. I do not watch that show, nor am I even a big Shakespeare fan, so it’s kind of unclear why I was so insistent upon celebrating my 34 years here.
Deciding what to order was hard work, you guys. Henry’s mom was memorizing her menu across from Gina, which made her nervous.
“I feel like I just finished a test early but everyone else is still working,” Gina said, picking up her menu to fit in.
LOOK! PEOPLE ARE LAUGHING AT ONE OF MY PARTIES! This is so much better than when people yawn, which is what typically happens. (i.e. GLENN YAWNING AT THE ROLLER RINK.)
Chooch antagonized Barb from across the table all night. At least he didn’t scream, “YOU INVITED BARB?!” like he did at his fifth birthday party. (An outcry that has become legendary.)
Elissa and Gina were sweet enough to come to my dinner straight from a weekend of debauchery in Cleveland.
Janna and Chooch basically talked about Minecraft the whole night. I kept overhearing snippets and my mind would melt a little each time. Good job, Janna!!
Wonka a/k/a Shawn is one of my favorite people ever but we don’t get to hang out nearly enough (the fact that he lived in Texas for way too long didn’t help). This my first time meeting his girlfriend Jess and she is totally sweet and adorable (we bonded over our mutual pink/purple/blue hair highlights). Definitely looking forward to getting to know her!
Shawn also happens to be one of Marcy’s worst victims:
My front steps were stained with blood for months after that maiming.
Why does Henry look so paranoid in all of my Shakespearean feast photos? Or maybe that’s just his “bracing for the check” face. And poor Wendy—she had to hang out with me two nights in a row! Probably explains her tired smile.
Bill and Natasha arrived while we were all still loitering in the entry way under the watchful stares of the hostess and manager, waiting for the table to be prepared. In lieu of a simple hello, Chooch spat, “Oh, great. Thanks for talking while we were trying to watch the Walking Dead!” Which is something that happened back on Easter and that’s apparently how he identifies Bill and Natasha now. That kid is such a dick sometimes.
Laura & Mike, as seen by Janna’s iPhone. I’m so glad these two came! Plus, they sat across from Shawn and Jess, and I think that was the best accidental pairing of all time, because every time I glanced down the table, the four of them seemed embroiled in conversation. I like it when my friends get along!
Kara even came out with her 2-week-old baby, Theo. That is a good friend! Theo was much quieter than Chooch, who sat with his arms folded and said, “Blah blah blah” while everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. God forbid someone else should have a birthday!
And I loved my non-tacky dinner! I got some sort of salmon thing only because it came with a maple strawberry glaze and I’m on a maple kick ever since Parker’s Maple Barn’s maple coffee last June, which I was telling everyone about and then realized that I hadn’t actually had anything else maple-y since then, so I guess it’s not that great of a kick. More of an idea of a kick? I don’t know. But that glaze was motherfucking delightful.
Henry of course has been bitching about his sirloin ever since that night so I’m 7,697,908,709 times more glad now that I didn’t have to sit next to him and hear his complaints in real time. Jesus. Like it matters anyway if he liked it or not, it wasn’t HIS birthday dinner!
In order to make the prospect of having to drive great distances for my birthday dinner, I told my friends that they didn’t even have to get me presents. And I almost meant it too! I must be getting old, for real, because all I could think about was how I would rather have nice company than gifts. WHO AM I?! I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE. God, age 34 has been so fucking weird so far.
Anyway, Shawn and his girlfriend Jess got me this beautful wooden birdcage thingie with some kind of cedar things inside, which lead me, Barb, Judy, Gina and Elissa to believe that perhaps this was some sort of candle holder.
“But it’s wood,” someone pointed out, I forget who now.
“You could just fill it with doll heads,” Gina suggested because she knows. I was overjoyed at this suggestion so now I’m going to the flea market this weekend to collect some more heads.
Barb wasn’t satisfied, though, and yelled down the table to Shawn, who answered that it was a torture chamber for moths.
That made sense to me, but Barb thought he was joking. I asked him later to confirm, and that was indeed his intended purpose for the wooden cage. “That’s why I even put those cedar chips in there!”
I told Shawn and Jess about Gina’s doll head idea and they were on board with that as well, but maybe I’ll try to lure some moths in there anyway for good measure.
The cupcakes turned out to be better than serving an entire cake, I think. And I like that the waitresses brought them out on big serving platters and let me pick mine first because I rule, and then everyone else got to fight each other for their desired flavor. Well played, Shakespeare’s Restaurant.
Chooch was all pissed because Barb got a chocolate one, so she was nice enough (smart enough?) to give him hers and choose another, only to find out he swapped the chocolate one for whatever Henry had chosen.
“He’s just like his mother,” Henry mumbled.
Barb said that Chooch looked like a young Frank Sinatra. Then to me she whispered, “That’s a compliment”— like I don’t know who Frank Sinatra is! I’m flattered that Barb thinks I was born yesterday, though.
For some reason, it wasn’t clear to me that this was the women’s room and I was very hesitant to enter. Everyone who had gone before me had come back speaking of the nipple-chilling temps in there, but I was unable to fully understand until I sat on the frigid commode myself.
There was literally even a blast of cold air when I opened the door to the throne, like I was being duped into a future of hanging from a meat hook in a walk-in freezer.
Oh, but how the regal mirrors made up for the uncomfortable temperature!
On my actual birthday, Janna and I went to dinner and then I turned the light out on her when she went into the bathroom. I was telling everyone that it was the highlight of my birthday, and the reaction I got was one of, “You poor, sad, pathetic girl.” What?? I enjoy fucking with Janna! It’s my role in this world.
Can we all just stop and observe the fact that Henry is about to ejaculate from a camera?
Basically, I made all my friends drive far away to a fake castle just so I could have my stupid picture taken with a suit of armor.
My Leno chin even came out to party.
Elissa and Gina brought Chooch a belated birthday gift (they know how to win his affections), which included some cat stickers. Chooch put one on his shirt (as pictured above) and now I wish I could get it to stay there permanently because everyone was all, “OMG Chooch’s shirt is so cool.” Find a way, Henry.
So much to love about this picture: Shawn’s party hat horns, Mike ogling Shawn’s party hat horns, Chooch desperately trying to photobomb Shawn’s party hat horns.
I tried this new thing this year called “Not Nagging People,” so once I sent out the Facebook invitation, I posted ONE message closer to the date just to remind people that I needed a head count, and then left it at that at. Of course, there were people who ended up not seeing the invitation at all until after the fact when I began posting pictures from the dinner on Facebook so now I just feel sad that I wasn’t more of an RSVP Hitler like I typically am. I just can’t win.
That was fun you guys. Thanks to everyone who came out and ate birthday foods with me! Because at the end of the day, this really was just an elaborate excuse to hang out with my peeps!