Tuesday, February 20, 2007


So I go into the weekend of my thirtieth birthday blissfully unaware of the dangers in store. Upon reflection, I'm far too trusting which I find ironic considering my past stance on believing everyone had their own agenda.

Maybe I'm growing soft in my old age.

The week before, My Fair Lady was laid off by her law firm. Apparently this is common place among both law firms and manufacturing jobs because no one blinked an eye except her. To their credit, her co-workers immediately demanded her resume and started calling every contact in their respective roll-a-dexes to make sure she could pack her office things and take them straight to her next gig. My dad e-mailed me earlier in the week saying he was having a client get together in the bank that coming Saturday night and it'd be a great networking event for My Fair Lady to attend.

So we had a shindig Saturday night and all was right in the world.

Friday I spent the entire day going over documents for a contract at work. Growing up I'd always heard my dad (a banker by trade) complain about losing days of his life when large contracts were under negotiation and I completely understand that now. It actually made me feel like I have a real job now because up to this point I've never reviewed anything with this level of importance.

We all have to grow older sometime, but hell if I'm going to grow up.

Brother G called me at some point in the day and told me the wireless connection at his house in Cow Town was on the fritz and had been for the better part of that week. I love it when people call me for tech support long after the initial point of failure, then are surprised by my reluctance to move quickly in assisting them. He asked me to swing by Saturday morning and since My Fair Lady had a scheduled shopping appointment with her friend it seemed like as good a time as any.

All this time on Friday, meanwhile, My Fair Lady was at home supervising the installation of brand new carpet in Casa de Skim. When Yours Truly arrived home the installers were trying like mad to finish that night. The work was excellent but since we have a winding staircase with individual stairs each requiring new carpet they asked to come back in the morning and finish then. My Fair Lady and I worked out the time frame and figured she could wait for them while I went to get an oil change prior to trekking over to Cow Town.

Oh, and everything that was upstairs earlier in the week had been moved downstairs to our living room to make way for the new carpet. In short, we presently have about 15 feet of space in which we can actually move around on the first floor. But the carpet looks great, no doubt about that.

The sun rose on Saturday to find us still blissfully happy with our new carpet. Apparently, this is what makes people my age happy and I should just get used to it. I plan to put a stipulation in my will that states as follows:
"Should the subject of said will ever use the phrase, 'Why yes, shuffleboard sounds like a fine idea' then said subject will be subject to immediate termination with any and all extreme prejudice within the surrounding environment. Details related to subsequent funeral arrangements are covered in Section F. Paragraph 2.'"
After my car was detailed I headed over to Cow Town to find Brother G studying away. He apologized once again for not being able to make the planned dinner on Monday night celebrating my birthday on account of the four tests he would stare down that week. As such, he really needed to get on the internets something fierce, as did his roommates. He told me then how Charter had been out earlier in the week for roughly four hours but weren't able to bring their connection back up.

It took me all of five minutes to fix it and here's how:
Step 1. Unplug the small black power chord from both the router and the cable modem. Let both sit idle for two minutes.

Step 2. Plug the modem back in. Let sit idle for one minute.

Step 3. Plug the router back in. Let sit idle for one minute.

Step 4. Test your computer's internet connection. In the case of Brother G, his machine was running slow and took a full minute for Google to come up.
Forty-plus minutes in the car for this and Charter couldn't figure that out inside of four hours? Oy.

Since he had to hit the library for the rest of the day, Brother G and I headed out and hit Potbelly's for lunch. I hadn't been since My Fair Lady has a close encounter with some poorly cooked chicken salad there, but the combination of their meatball sub with one of their chocolate shakes was too good to pass up while I was off on my own. He then drove to the library while I returned to Big D to find My Fair Lady still out shopping. I made a beeline for the couch and took full advantage of my Saturday afternoon to powerlevel my characters in Final Fantasy XII.

A few hours later, My Fair Lady returned home with purchases in hand and said it was time to get ready for the party. We changed then headed out and pulled into the parking lot right around 7:30. Dad's decorating team must have worked overtime when he first hired them because the lobby of this branch is extremely nice. Stained wood floors, plenty of open offices and a roaring fireplace in a brick hearth make things very warm and equally inviting.

Of course it is. They want your money, and if you feel nice and comfortable then you're more apt to willingly fork it over.

Above the main floor is a conference room where the board of directors meets on a weekly basis. There is, of course, a full bar as well so the directors are well taken care of. This is also where my dad hosts as many bank and friend-related functions as he can. We walked up the steep stairs and towards the room. After we rounded the corner and saw the room itself, I had enough time to wonder why two of my friends and three of my co-workers were there before I heard it:


I looked above me and hanging in the doorway were red 30's strung up like garland. I quickly scanned the room and saw my co-workers, parents, softball team, and friends all toasting me and I couldn't help but realize just how shifty My Fair Lady and everyone else in my world is.

We made the rounds and shook many hands and as we did so I noticed the decor. It seemed that My Fair Lady had convinced my mother that since I was 30 it would be a good time to bring out all the old toys I used to play with and set them up for the world to see. If there's a personal hell that all of us envision, I was somehow managing to live it right then and there.
"Hey Mitch!," my boss from work shouted at me from across the room. "How about you give us a demonstration of how these things work?"
Personal Hell, live and in technicolor.

My parents had Mexican food catered in and it was fantastic. What made things even funnier was the famous queso dip was snatched up by everyone but Yours Truly. I had two whole chips the entire evening, but it was fine by me. There were plenty of fajitas available and that's what drew my focus as did my birthday cake. Fortunately there were not thirty candles on it for which my lungs were grateful. There were, however, plenty of cameras in attendance so expect pictures to start appearing across the internet at some point this week.

But probably the best part of the evening was when my old friend Haus Frau walked in. Of all the people I never expected to see there, she was right up at the top. She and I go back to our freshman year of college and were tight friends right from the start. That would be 12 years now, for the mathletes among the readership. Apparently My Fair Lady phoned her up to ask if she could come down for this and it happened to be on the one weekend in a series of months when she had nothing going on. As happy as I was that my friends and family (save for Brother G and Diva) were all present, my excitement ramped up to positive giddiness when she showed up.

After making the rounds and speaking with everyone at least thrice, I had to excuse myself to use the facilities downstairs. That's when I noticed how much cooler it was downstairs than up. So when I walked back to the party I kept a conscious mental note of the temperature difference, only to wonder how I never noticed we were partying in a blast furnace.

My mother was busy fanning herself and pounded on the thermostat alternatively screaming at and pleading with it to drop at least a degree. Preferably ten, but even a little would have helped, according to her. Personally, I didn't think it was that bad especially since I kept drinking water from the cold fridge behind the bar.

Around this point is when everyone decided to start breaking up, though not on account of the heat which dad swore to take care of first thing Tuesday morning. Everyone started migrating downstairs and out into the night towards parts unknown. My parents, My Fair Lady, and Yours Truly cleaned up then we also left the premises and returned home where we promptly crashed.

It falls now to thank all who came to the party so please bear with me. I've been asked before where I come up with the nicknames I use for everyone, but that would be telling. Suffice to say that if there is an actual name used below then don't take it personally. I just haven't come up with an appropriate handle for you yet. That doesn't mean I won't someday, it just means that day is not today. So thank you again to My Fair Lady and my parents, to Crayola and The Librarian, Fireball, Travelling Man, Haus Frau, Dutchess, Aggie Babe and Hollywood, El Jefe and Belle, Pam, D&G, The Cowboy, JT & Marilu, The Team, 20/20 and Leia.

Now I get to spend the next thirty years keeping one eye on My Shifty Lady at all times. Happy birthday to me, and here's to a long road ahead.

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