I know, I know. It’s been a while since I posted.
Seventeen days, for those who are counting.
It’s not that I want to make excuses or anything. But I did attend an intensive four-day fitness camp, celebrate my birthday and anniversary and finish, like, a gazillion projects at work.
Okay, maybe not a gazillion, but at least half a gazillion.
I’ve also been working on a super secret writing project that has been taking up massive amounts of my evening blogging time. Stay tuned.
The good news is that I’ve got so much crazy stuff to write about, I feel as if I might explode all over the internet.
Perhaps that wasn’t the best visual, but you get the idea.
I’ve also learned some very important things about myself.
Like the fact that I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow throwing a tempter tantrum.
A week ago, I planned to celebrate my twenty-seventh birthday with my family at Seattle’s semi-new Hard Rock Cafe.
I don’t particularly like the Hard Rock Cafe that much, but I’ve heard rumors that their rooftop deck is ah-maaah-zing, and I wanted to enjoy the beautiful day by gazing across Elliot Bay, Pike’s Place Market and Downtown Seattle while eating French Fries and listening to bad 80s music.
It just sounded like a good time.
Or maybe I really am just growing older and lamer as each year passes.
Either way, I had my heart set on a fabulous rooftop dinner.
When I stopped by the condo at 5:30 to pick Scott up (we are a one-vehicle couple…I know, it’s so Seattle of us) I was surprised to find the house empty. Okay, not totally empty…there was a seven-pound chihuahua jumping up and down frantically while licking my ankles and making whimpering noises that I interpreted to mean “You complete me”…but there was definitely no husband in sight.
I called his cell phone only to discover his battery was dead.
I decided to settle in with the final book of the Twilight Saga (more on my despicable obsession later) and wait patiently for him to return home.
My sister and parents (who had driven all the way up from Tacoma) had been waiting over an hour downtown while I was still chilin’ at home with Edward, Bella and Jacob. At this point I was not so patient.
And by not so patient I mean that I started frantically cleaning the house while applying more and more makeup and singing Happy Birthday to myself.
It wasn’t a pretty sight, folks.
We opted to cancel the Hard Rock plans and have my family come up to Ballard while we waited for Scott, whose phone was — surprise, surprise — still dead.
The fact that I had not engaged in any online retail-therapy at this point is practically a miracle. I think I deserve some type of award for demonstrating a colossal amount of self-control in the face of a canceled birthday dinner.
Instead, I was given a mini Starbucks cupcake.
Which might actually be better than an award.
Hayley immediately pried my quivering chin open and shoved the cupcake down my throat to delay the blubbering for at least a few more moments.
She knows me so well.
Once the mood-boosting effects of the frosting wore off, I was showered with compliments in order to avoid a Katrina-style meltdown. Even Mark kept telling me how pretty my dress was or how nice the house looked in order to distract me from the fact that my husband was 90 minutes late for my birthday dinner.
It didn’t work.
My mother swooped in with the rescue, suggesting I open my presents.
She knows me so well.
Oh, just admit it — opening presents in front of a crowd is one of life’s simple pleasures that never seems to get old.
Kind of like watching mean people trip or winning the prettiest dessert at the cakewalk.
I am not ashamed to admit that I ripped open my gift bags with the vigor of a six-year-old boy.
My gift from Mom was a blinged-out study Bible complete with silver leafed pages and a rhinestone encrusted bookmark.
I probably should have read a few verses on patience in the face of a forgotten birthday dinner or something, but I was too curious to see what mysterious treasure awaited in the giant gift bag my father was codling.
That’s right, the time has come for another episode of Gifts from Katrina’s Dad.
Believe me, this one will not disappoint.
That’s right, “Seattle in a Box”.
The title led me to believe that there was a pretty good chance Steve Pool would jump out as soon as I removed the lid.
The big reveal was a little less exciting…the box contained a Seattle-themed Monopoly board game.
From the early nineties.
At least I’m assuming it was from the early nineties as is featured The King Dome, The Elliot Bay Bookstore, Windows 95 and of course, Gary Payton.
I wonder if it’s worth anything after all these years?
Mark sure seems to think so.
After snapping this photo, he informed me that on my next birthday, he would check to see if we had actually played the game. If not, he wanted it back.
Before I could call him an Indian giver, Hayley reminded him that he already has another one of these treasures at home, and probably doesn’t need duplicate board games.
He failed to see her reasoning, simply stating “Play it, or it’s mine.”
I’m considering re-gifting it at his birthday next week, just to save him the 11-month wait.
I opened Hayley’s gift last, delighted to find a variety of items including a Lululemon headband, and this kitschy, yet practical book.
I’m particularly excited to read the chapter entitled “How to Hem your Fancy Pants.”
But perhaps the most important gift from Hayley was a tin filled with chocolate covered espresso beans from Trader Joe’s. It was so much more than a delicious, caffeinated treat, it was a coping mechanism.
Just when I was down to my last coffee bean, I heard the door to our condo slowly creak open.
I’ll give you one guess as to who had finally decided to show up.
There was a pregnant pause, as Scott lurched into the room of angry W.’s.
“How late am I?” he sheepishly asked.
Perhaps it was the sugar from the espresso beans and mini-cupcake, or the fact that my blinged-out Bible was sending me waves of patience and understanding.
Or maybe its simply impossible to think clearly when your father is hatching a plan to steal your birthday gift back without you noticing.
Whatever the reason, I somehow managed to remain perfectly composed.
“About two hours.”
Scott quickly explained that he had been called downtown for an Emergency Surgery that ran late. His phone had died, so not only was he unable to call for a ride, he had also run out of cash for the bus.
“So…how did you get here?” I asked with only a hint of hostility.
And that’s when I saw it.
But wait, there’s more.
Not only did Scott spent a ridiculous chunk of change on a pink and white breast cancer bike and coordinating dog basket, he had used them to make is 6.7 mile journey home from Capitol Hill.
Scott’s account of the 45-minute trek confirms that riding a girly bike with a basket while wearing a purple dress shirt is a guaranteed recipe for various taunts, insults and cat calls. But if you enjoy being whistled at by homeless men, he highly recommends it.
I was so amused, I couldn’t even think of a way to guilt-trip him.
Leave it to that little turkey figure out the only possible way to show up two hours late for my birthday without getting yelled at.
If you think Scott was relieved, you should have seen the rest of my family. The impending doom of Hurricane Katrina had vanished, and they were free to enjoy the evening.
Or so they thought.
As dinner at the Hard Rock was out of the question, we needed to select a new location for my birthday dinner.
I settled on Ray’s Boathouse at Golden Gardens, but was quickly shot down as my dad didn’t want to have to drive anywhere.
This was slightly irritating, but being that we live within walking distance of at least fifty restaurants, I knew we could easily walk to another nice spot.
And so, the six of us strolled down Ballard Avenue to what is quite possibly my favorite restaurant in the city, Bastille.
Bastille serves French cuisine under an oversized vintage chandelier.
Bastille grows organic herbs and spices on their very own sustainable rooftop garden.
Bastille features re-salvaged streetlights, metro clocks, pendant lamps and subway tiles that were flown in from Paris and restored.
Bastille serves a lavender cocktail that will make you say “ooh-la-la” as you gaze into the brick fire pit that your table is built around.
Bastille will charge you upwards of twenty dollars for a meal that is delicious, yet sometimes…um…petite.
Bastille does not make Mark happy.
Not in the least bit.
When he asked if we could go someplace “cheaper”, I tried my very best to act like a big girl.
When he mentioned ordering a pizza, my lower lip began to tremble.
And when he suggested going to Wendy’s, I lost it.
This is how, at the ripe old age of 27, I stood in the middle of Ballard Avenue crying like a baby in my brand new party dress.
For a good five minutes.
I didn’t care that strangers were staring at me.
I didn’t care that Janss and Hayley crossed the street so no one would associate them with the crazy lady on the sidewalk.
I didn’t care that I had a brand new bike at home.
All I wanted was my rooftop dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Apparently, twenty-seven years on this planet has not been enough time for me to outgrow throwing a temper tantrum when I don’t get my way.
Mark and Scott finally calmed me down, and tricked me into a casual dinner at Zayda buddies — a Minnesota-style pizza bar.
It wasn’t my cup of tea, but the entire family cornered me into a booth so that I was unable to escape.
And you know what? It was actually kind of fun.
Pizza and cheese curds weren’t exactly what I had in mind, but I soon began to realize that maybe birthday’s aren’t about a perfectly planned dinner, or an amazing view. Maybe they aren’t about the best gift in the world or over priced French food.
Maybe they are about spending time with people who will sacrifice their macho-status to make sure you get your bike with a basket, and family members who love you no matter how many times you cause a scene in public.
And maybe, no matter how old you are, birthdays should always end with you riding your new bike around the block while your family claps vigorously when you don’t fall over.