It started early. Since I was born at 4:00 am, I got up at 4:00 am. After all, I had this post to do on Facebook. And while I was sitting at the computer, I realized the beast had pretty much covered a 360 square mile area of the basement floor with dry food, so as the coffee dripped, I swept. Then it was coffee and one of the most exciting gifts of the day--the Dakota Style salt and vinegar potato chips my lovely bride had found. If you are amongst the uninformed (as I was until I asked), they no longer are making those. This was a "vintage" bag we had somehow managed to ferret away (maybe one, maybe two) years ago. The thrill of unsealing the bag--the aroma--the first touch of the piquant vinegar to the tongue--the after effect of salt on the lips--the chorus of angels singing in the background--all was right with the world.
Now, with a fresh coffee fix coursing through my veins on its way to assuage my one true addiction, I have printed the puzzles and will accede to my throne--the recliner in the front porch--to test my mental acuity, to solve the problems of the world, and to prepare to deliver the PACH totes this morning. As the day progresses, I shall return to update you. Try to control your enthusiasm.
The totes are delivered, there are fewer chips, and breakfast has been consumed. What was for breakfast, you ask (I heard you, you asked!)? What does everyone have for breakfast on his birthday? Baked creamed pheasant and grilled sour dough bread! The pheasant was provided by Bradley--one of our children with whom we are well pleased! The sour dough was mine! Even in retirement, our former students amaze and sustain us! Fortified, it's onward and upward--go pick up the birthday cake!
Running of the beast. Cath had book club at Our Redeemer, so the beast and I delivered her. Never one to fail to opportunize (I'm old, I can make up words!), I took the flinger and the ball with us on the trip. Big parking lot. No cars. Beast friendly. Get out of the car. Toss the ball. Walk the length of the parking lot to toss from the other side. For those of you who have never experienced the parking lot at Our Redeemer, it makes Chicago wind seem like a gentle zephyr. And cold? Sweet Mary, the word bitter does not begin to describe. After what I considered the absolute minimum beast fetches (and the maximum cheek freezing!), we bundle back into the car and head home, awaiting the call to pick up my bride and go to Dempsey's for lunch. Okay. Go to Dempsey's for fries! And probably an adult libation. Have I mentioned it's my birthday?
The fries. The amazing thing about Dempsey's is the menu rarely changes but the food does. Sometimes, the chicken strips are beer battered. Some times they aren't. Aren't today. Usually, the fries are coated in a beer batter and deep fried. Pretty much regular fries today. That is NOT a complaint. Regular fries are still fries, and I managed to eat all mine and 99.5% of Cath's. I do believe I'm attempting to set a record for salt intake in one day! Anyhow, we came home to prepare for bridge tonight. Believe it or not, there are no fries on the menu. Chips. Lots of chips. And a new cheese dip that is baked in a loaf of Italian bread. And curried chicken salad. And home-built buns. And to keep it healthy, there are the vegies (to dip into the cheese dip)! We may even play bridge!
The afternoon passes, and it's time to heat up the oven for the dip, get the ice bucket out, and generally start putting it all together. Oven set to 375. Sit in the porch until it is pre-heated. Buzzer announces process has completed. Somewhat put off by the aroma coming from the oven. Whoever baked something last must have let it run over. Hmmmmm. Come to the kitchen. Can't see the back porch. Smoke and questionable aromas greet me. Turn on the fans. Open the doors. Pray. Our guests probably didn't know we believed in burnt offerings. Thankfully it's still an hour until they get here. By then, we should be set. Cold, but set!
Bridge. What can I say? The food was good, the company was better, and the cards? Well, let's just say the food was good and the company was better. I may have whined a little. A lot! But what an amazing group of ladies with whom to share my natal day. And we were done by 9:00. That's only 2 hours past my nap time. Not bad.
As per our usual, everything is put away, the dishes are done, the left-overs stored, the house in its pre-company form. Years and years and years ago we made a pact never to go to bed with the onus of a dirty house greeting us on rising. And now, as my eye lids sag (along with a phenomenally full stomach) it's time to reflect on the day. Started early. Stayed busy. Ran long. And you would have to sand blast the smile off my face. I am overwhelmed with the greetings on Facebook. I am overwhelmed by the kindnesses extended. I am overwhelmed by how bad my cards were (who says I have to quit whining?). I shall sleep tonight with the knowledge that I am decidedly the luckiest man in the world. I am full. I feel loved. After all, it's all about me!