So, my roommate (slash dear friend, slash former boyfriend, slash occasional major pain in my side) had a big birthday this past week! He turned sixty-five (shh! Don't tell him I told you. Also, why yes, I do go for considerably older men from time to time). He's been feeling pretty down lately, so I decided to try to cheer him up. Party? Why, yes, that sounds like a good idea!
About three weeks ago I sent out messages on facebook to a few of his family members, a co-worker, and his old partner from when he was a police officer.
For three weeks, I have been stashing things in the spare room - bottles of soda, boxes of pasta for pasta salad, condiments, cups, plates, plastic silverware, decorations. I have no idea how he didn't accidentally discover my secret, but he has been so depressed lately that I guess I am not entirely surprised.
This morning, I sneaked out to pick up the cake, lunch meat tray, a condiment tray, ice... a few little last minute things. I still hadn't figured out how to deal with getting Buzz out of the house for a little while so that I could set up without his knowledge. I thought and thought and thought and came up with nothing. When I pulled up to the house, he was loading the trash in his car to take it to the landfill, and asked if I wanted to join him for breakfast, I declined, and in my head was doing a happy dance. That should buy me at least an hour - perfect! I rushed and rushed to set up, brought the cold stuff out of the car into the house, threw table cloths onto the two tables I was setting up, brought drinks out of the spare room and set them up. I was just setting up some things on the main table when the dogs started barking. Oh, crap.
I ran outside to meet Buzz and asked what he was doing home so soon. He said he had decided to eat at home instead. My internal dialog was something like "Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!" I was blocking the door a little bit, trying to figure out how to get rid of him. He must have realized I was up to something. "WHY? Are you having company?" "Well. Yeah." I'm sure he thought I had some sort of date lined up. Not quite.
"Okay. I guess come in. Ugh. Umm. Just remember... don't kill me..."
When he came in, he realized what was going on (no one was here yet - I was still in party prep mode). Cue the tears. Cue the hug. I told him not to get too excited - it was mostly his co-workers coming, who he sees every day anyway. No one in his family was coming. And I had one special surprise for him.
People began arriving around 11, just as planned. Perfect. Several of the ladies from his current job. His former supervisor from the current job. I got a text around ten after from the guest I was most excited about, saying he was about fifteen minutes out.
I was standing talking to Buzz, his back to the driveway, when the final guest showed up. I'd never met the man, and had only contacted him through facebook, but I knew who he was. I motioned to Buzz to turn around when the man was a few feet behind him. I'm telling you, it was like seeing a little kid on Christmas morning. His old partner from the police force, whose name I had heard in several stories, was standing in front of him. They hadn't seen each other since some time in the eighties, but had been partners either right when they joined the police force or shortly thereafter - in 1972. I even had tears in my eyes, seeing him so excited. Absolutely perfect.
Lunch was simple and good. Buzz's friends were fantastic for coming out today, and absolutely made his day. His old partner stuck around about an hour after everyone else had left, and the two reminisced. It was absolutely fantastic.
I've informed Buzz that he is not allowed to feel sorry for himself for at least another week. He needs to stay happy for a week or so. I was afraid he would be angry at me, for going behind his back, talking to his friends, making a big fuss over him. Instead, he seems entirely grateful, so content, thrilled to have gotten to reconnect with an old friend.
Of course, I overbought food. By a lot. Lunch meat sandwiches, salads, and pulled pork all week! And cake. Lots and lots of cake. (Well, for him - I'm back to healthy eating on Monday!)