Monday, October 20, 2008


Now THAT'S a Party!

Sunday we threw a party to celebrate The Squeeze's 50 birthday. We've been planning it for a number of months and it all led to October 19 at 3:00pm. We arranged for the party at a golf course between Hooterville and our own city, so it's not a killer drive for anyone. We got there around 1:00 to get the balloons blown up and arranged, and to set up the chocolate fountain and all the dipping items.

People started trickling in just before 3:00, and The Squeeze and I accepted the help of our friends in finishing the balloons while we got changed. The bar was open and the drinks were flowing, veggie and cheese platters were being sampled, and did I mention the chocolate fountain? If there is one thing people need at a party, it's a chocolate fountain.

There were about 90 people in attendance, and dinner was set to be served around 5:00. At 4:30, an announcement was made. This was much more than a birthday party. It was our surprise wedding. The Squeeze and I were outside of the building on opposite sides with our witnesses, listening through the open doors and gasps, cheers, and applause filled the hall. And then the music started. Our witnesses entered the hall and stood by our lay chaplain, then The Squeeze and I walked in toward each other and took our positions. As the ceremony was being performed, I looked into the crowd and saw faces streaked with tears of joy, and looks of shock and disbelief that we managed to keep this all a secret.

We said our vows, we signed the register, we had our first marital kiss, and exited the hall to our closing number "At Last" by Etta James. We were quickly followed out by our family and friends who congratulated us for taking the plunge and keeping it a secret, and cursed us for keeping it a secret. "I would have had my hair and nails done" was heard from more than one person.

It was a hard secret to keep, but we had to keep it to get the desired effect. The only person we told was The Squeeze's gay cousin's ex-wife, Doc Swallows, who acted as our photographer. We had to make sure she was up to doing this for us, and she was thrilled. Doc took a boatload of pictures of The Squeeze and me, with siblings, with kids, with in-laws, you name it. I can't wait to see the pictures. The ones I most want to see are the shots she took of the crowd when the lay chaplain announced the wedding was taking place. I am dying to see the looks on their faces.

Friday, October 17, 2008


The Squeeze Turns 50

Yesterday was The Squeeze's 50th birthday. He's been on vacation all week, and I've got the luxury of having a couple of days off to spend with him and do some running around for his big party on Sunday. He spent his birthday as most people do. Working on some plumbing and installing a couple of toilets here at the house with our friend Dan. He was actually in his glory. He loves doing this kind of stuff, there just usually aren't enough hours in the day to do it unless one happens to be on vacation. I kept myself busy getting last minute details for the party organized and in the evening I worked away at assembling a dresser from IKEA.

After The Squeeze and Dan finished for the night, Dan headed out to meet up with his Mrs., and The Squeeze and I, sharing the brain again, wanted to head to our local Chinese buffet for dinner. Part of the reason for this is that they offer a free meal on your birthday, and we figured we'd take advantage. It was 8:30 on a Thursday night. We pulled into the parking lot and it was empty. Not one single car. We figured that if, in fact, the buffet was still going, odds are the food wouldn't be quite as fresh as if the place were busy and the dishes constantly replaced.

We decided to try the other nearby Chinese buffet, The Mandarin. Now, we're not normally too crazy about this place because the quality doesn't quite compare to our local eatery, but we figured, hey, a free birthday dinner, even if it's not that good, isn't bad.

We made it through the door at 8:45 and were informed that the buffet closes at 9:30. No problem. We could do a lot of damage in 45 minutes. We were led through the cavernous restaurant to a far away room where we were seated. The Squeeze informed the waiter that we were there to celebrate his birthday and asked about the birthday special promotion and flashed him his driver's licence as proof. The waiter smiled and nodded, took our drink orders and left the table.

In our room there were two other tables of two, and one table of about 24 loud, screaming, laughing women who I assume from the conversation (and there was no way you couldn't hear) were school teachers out to celebrate a co-worker's birthday. Either that, or she always wears a tiara. When I say it was loud, I don't think you quite appreciate what I mean. I mean loud as in 'I couldn't hear The Squeeze when he talked to me' kind of loud. As large as this place is, I can't believe they had to sit us next to this table of screaming Mimis. At one point when we got back from the buffet, they were all posing for photos after recruiting a diner from a nearby table to play shutterbug. The whole time screaming things like "Grab her boob!" and "Who farted!?". Ya, that's who's teaching our kids. God help them.

After two trips to the buffet and a round of desserts we were ready for our bill. When it arrived, I looked at the bill and noticed that they didn't charge us for only one meal as we expected. We were billed for one adult and one senior's dinner. We sat there and scratched our heads over this one and figured that our waiter must have misheard us. The Squeeze called over a waitress who was busying herself setting up a nearby table and asked if they still do the free birthday dinner. "Yes. Oh, it someone birthday here?", she asked in broken English. "Yes," The Squeeze answered, "but they billed us for one adult and one senior". "Oh, ok", she said and walked away. A moment later we were surrounded by four or five servers and a slice of birthday cake with a candle in it, as they butchered "Happy Birthday". How so few people sang in so many different keys is beyond me. The Squeeze took a bite of the cake and discovered that it was in keeping with the poor quality of the rest of the food that night. A light smear of icing and they could re-serve it to the next poor sucker.

We waited at our table for a few more minutes and then The Squeeze said "so...they still haven't fixed the bill", before going over to the waiters' station to ask about it. Our waiter said that they don't give free meals for birthdays there, but a waitress there thought they did. Another waiter agreed with our waiter, saying that they don't do free dinners. The Squeeze returned to the table to tell me what had transpired.

Our waiter came back to the table to collect the money and said, "You get the 20% senior's discount." How very odd, we thought.

It wasn't until we were walking out the front door that the laughter hit us. "Oh my God! He thought you were over 65! He must have thought you were showing him ID to proove you were at least 65, and he couldn't do the math." The Squeeze even stopped at the door to look at the pricing sign. Sure enough, seniors 65 and over save 20%. "I've got to put this on the blog," I told him. " "I can hardly wait to read it," he said.

"Well Gramps, let's get you home and see if your pension cheque is in the mailbox yet."


The Mandarin, as I discovered from their website, does not offer free meals on your birthday.

The Squeeze does not look anywhere near 65. Most people think he's in his early 40's. In fact, recently when we told someone he was turning 50, they asked which of us was older. Nice. Real nice. I'm seven years younger. Just so you know.

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