A couple of weeks ago, a few days after my birthday, Eric and I were walking around at the Grove. As we passed by Anthropologie, Eric said, “Oh, I just remembered one of your gifts that I forgot to give you.” We went inside and meandered around the store. We pointed out various objects to each other, as people tend to do when they’re in a store together. I saw some cute mugs with dogs in hats that I pointed out. I told him they were cute, but I bet they were delicate. He said that he thought they would be okay if cared for properly. From his reaction, I had an idea that I knew what the forgotten gift was. Indeed, when we got home, he dug a package from the closet and I opened it and inside were the mugs you see in the above picture.
Now, almost every morning we drink our coffee out of these mugs. I suppose it’s a form of narcissism, but since we think our dogs are the most attractive dogs in the world, we buy each other little statues or bookends or jewelry boxes or mugs that have dogs that remind us of Ricky and Millie. The dog on the mug looks more like Millie, but with that bright fez, clearly evokes the spirit of Ricky.
This evening as I was washing the dishes, I thought to myself how much I loved the mugs and I probably loved them more because of the way they belatedly came to me. With tender loving care, I washed and rinsed each mug. Like so many of us, they are a little delicate, but are okay if cared for properly.
So tonight, actually just a few hours ago, I was on the receiving end of a surprise birthday party. Eric and I walked into Marie Callender’s, our usual Friday night hang and as we walked into the lounge area, a crowd of people that I recognized jumped up from behind the piano player and yelled, “Surprise!!” It took me seconds to realize what was going on, I literally could not process the data. And then when the piano player started singing Happy Birthday I realized, ohhhh, this is for me! It seems my friend Barbara had masterminded the entire evening, with a little help from Eric and a few others. We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed all night long happy hour and a good time was had by all!
I will tell you, it took me a few minutes to feel comfortable. I’ve thrown surprise birthday parties, but I’ve never had one thrown for me. But you know, once I started into my second glass of sauvignon blanc, it got a little easier. At one point, I looked around the table and I thought how lucky I am to have such good friends. These are my work friends and you know the thing about work friends, is you’re kind of stuck with each other. I’m sure this will come as a shock, but sometimes I can be a little, well, mercurial in the work place. When I was looking around that table, I thought to myself, there is not one person I have not had some conflict with at some point in our time together. Not one person. Now of course, I can see that I am the common denominator: I can be a pill sometimes. But in the spirit of cutting myself some slack (hey, it’s my birthday!) I do think conflicts always arise in relationships, work or otherwise, and how we proceed after the conflict is actually where the gold can be found. I’ve worked with some of these people over a decade and I don’t think of them as co-workers or even friends anymore; I think of them as family.
I’ve posted a few of the pictures of the party. It was a beautiful evening and I am touched by the work that Barbara and Eric and others put into it to orchestrate it. And I especially loved the cake that Barbara and Jack got for me from Hansen’s. It was so like her to understand how much this little blog has come to mean to me in the last few months and it was such a Barbara gesture to ackowledge it on the cake. So, thank you Barbara and Eric and Matt and Eboni and Kristin and Olya and Ian and Vinod and Jon and Shelly and J.B. and Mimi and Danny and Jack and Amy! You totally, TOTALLY surprised me!