Sunday, December 7, 2008
And So It Goes ...
The 5th was our birthday.
Yes. We share the same birthday: December 5th.
Not only does it make for some interesting conversation, it makes for some interesting situations as well.
Our respective jobs laid celebrations on us. I received “the call” into the boss’s office wherein the staff was gathered and “surprised”. (My boss is a poor actor - you can see through his attempts to cajole and stupefy a mile away.) I had a yummy homemade spice cake with delicious cream frosting for my reward. “Happy Bulldog” - the unofficial firm mascot - was written in blue gel on the cake. Wife of Rupe had a “Raider” party, complete with an Oakland Raiders theme: plates, napkins, cups, silver and black balloons and streams, et al.
I picked her up after I got off work that afternoon. One of our first ventures of our birthday day was a trip to the local DMV to renew our drivers’ licenses. I had to take the written test, she did not. Paperwork was turned in, fees were paid and it was over to the photo sections to take a new shiny, bright image of the two of us. The fun little guy behind the camera received Wife of Rupe’s paperwork and asked her for her thumbprint on a little optical scanner. “You need to sanitize that, don’t you think?” she asked the guy afterward. “You’re right!” came the response and he whipped out a little spray container, schpritzed the scanner and gave it a couple wipes.
My turn. Paperwork, thumbprint. “Hmmmm ... for some reason I can’t get a good read on your print,” the man puzzled. Realization hit me and I’m sure there was surprise on my face. I had been decorating the day before and handling fresh Christmas garland. The gloves I wore to help protect from the sap disintegrated to nothing while I was working and became more of a hinderance then a help, so I doffed them and worked bare handed. The result was that my hands were sappy by the end of my day. Showering that evening, I used a pumice stone to help get the dried pine sap removed. I pumiced my hands and fingertips vigorously. No wonder the guy couldn’t get a read on my prints - I had none to offer! They had been sanded into oblivion.
“Oh well ... that will have to do,” he finally gave in.
And photo time. Now ... Rupe rarily takes “normal” photos where they’re to be displayed on things like membership cards, documents and the like. And I wasn’t about to do so this time.
“Smile!” came the suggestion from my little friend. I grimaced and screwed my face up. He chuckled and waited for the image to appear on his monitor. He turned the monitor to Wife of Rupe and asked: “Is this the picture you want him to have on his license?”
“It’s his license,” came the reply from my wife. “He’s the one that’s going to get arrested and he’ll have to hand his license with that photo to the officer arresting him.”
I received my paperwork back and wished him a Happy Holiday.
Next up was the written test. I didn’t study for the thing at all, just glanced at the book for review. I got two questions wrong, one because I had skipped over it accidentally and didn’t mark an answer down. The only thing of interest during the test was when I was in line to have it graded. A young girl was ahead of me. When she handed in her test, the lady behind the counter she handed it to grabbed it, graded it and exclaimed without looking up “You barely passed! You need to drive better! Don’t kill anyone out there!” She handed back the girl’s test with a sneer on her face. *yikes* One of the cons of working at the DMV, I supposed. Attitude at no charge.
Leaveing the DMV, it was getting near to dinnertime. Wife of Rupe and I had considered a nice little evening out, just the two of us. But I had to make another suggestion. “I know the girls are champing at the bit to go out and celebrate with us. And with your mother here, it won’t kill us to have an evening out with everyone to help celebrate. We can go out afterward.” My wife reluctantly agreed.
A local steakhouse was the first choice. The girls both loved the pre-dinner ritual of tossing peanut shells on the floor (as is the establishment’s custom), but Rupe had one more idea. “It just so happens we have three complimentary meal passes at Soup Plantation. Dinner for the girls and drinks would be all we’d have to spring for. The adults eat free!” Wife of Rupe was not thrilled, but saw the wisdom of this logic. After all, the girls love going to Soup Plantation.
We arrived home, packed everyone up and headed out to the restaurant. We'd barely sat down to eat when my mother-in-law was up and at’em, talking to one of the waiters in the place. I had an inkling of what was coming.
Moments later, two of the waitestaff came over to our table bearing a concoction of ice cream smothered in chocolate sauce and what looked to be Fruit Loops. While neither my wife nor I were thrilled with the coming event, the girls on the other hand were thrilled with the “surprise”.
One waiter asked my youngest daughter sitting across from me what her name was. She told him. He asked my name. I told him. He raised his hands and, in the loudest voice possible, announced: “Excuse me! Can I have your attention? We have a couple of birthdays over here and I would like everyone to take a moment and sing happy birthday to them!” My mother-in-law jumped in and told him it was not the little one’s birthday, but our birthdays. The waiter asked my wife her name, got it wrong and began singing anyway.
The entire restaurant stopped what they were doing and joined in.
The capacity of the restaurant was 275 people. And it was filled. Everyone sang. And I mean everyone. All eyes were on us. Whoops and hollers ended the singing of the song. We knew the embarassment of the moment would pass ... eventually ... and we grinned and bared it.
When the attention toward us had subsided and I was able to stop grinning goofily and thanking the girls for the surprise, I leaned over the gloopy ice cream and Fruit Loop creation that was now melting onto the table and said to my wife: “Next time, we go out quietly as we planned. And I want you to dissuade me if I suggest otherwise.” She agreed with a simple “Bet on it.”
With dinner over, the kids and the MIL were deposited back at the house. We wanted to spend our remaining hours of the evening together to do a bit more Christmas shopping ..... without any distractions.
Barely 45 minutes and all the stores were closed for the evening. We did what we could do in that short period.
Then it was off to get a relaxing drink. “Acapulco” (a Mexican restaurant) called out to us for some reason, but when we went in, the bar was packed with raucous, boozing free-for-allers engaging in something akin to conversation, but verging on yelling instead. Wife of Rupe, who dashed into the ladies room (and regaled me later of a trio of girls within puking their guts up), joined me ... then turned tail and beckoned me follow her away from the frolickry. Way, way too much noise, too many people.
*sigh* It was off to “Chilis”, Rupe’s “favorite locale”. (Don’t slip on the dripping sarcasm.) Suprisingly, however, the bar was pleasant and not crowded and there were various games on with music in the background. A calm, cool and collected atmosphere to discuss the day’s events and non-events (such that they were) and relax with a nightcap.
The beertender was even were able to pull a Winterfest Heifenseisen out of the tap - icey cold and to Rupe’s complete approval.
Then came the capper to the evening. A Mexican couple walked in - he in a Raiders shirt and she in a black T-shirt with something I couldn’t quite make out.
Once positioned in her seat, however, I was able to see the shirt clearly. It asked the crucial question:
“¿y las tortillas?”
Rupe about busted a gut laughing at that .....