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Friday, April 27, 2007

turning 30, Act IV

Yes, at this point, I did think that my birthday celebration was finished. While grateful for the guitar and amp, I kind of knew that I would be getting them because I had been asked so many questions about which I wanted. And I was...not sad, but I guess longing for my sister to be there with us for the hike that morning. She had originally intended to come for a visit, but remember when she flew out in February to help me after my surgery? That visit was a week long, and she wasn't able to get the time off to also come for my birthday. I was, though, genuinely surprised and so excited that Sarah Starr Asay was in town, and so grateful to see her and to get those unexpected and fabulous gifts from friends from around the country.

Being the day before Easter, Darin, Bubby, and I went to the Wal*Mart to get a few things. I was tired, just enjoying that I had had a very nice birthday. Darin was acting a little silly in Wal*Mart, though. Stalling. Or something. He was acting fascinated by the weirdest things: "Let's look at these for awhile..." and "I'm going to go look at the fish." Whatever. It was a Saturday and the day before Easter, and three million people were in the same building that I was, and I wanted to get out. Once in the van, Darin (surprise!) handed me another clue.

"What?" I asked. "Really?"

Yes, really.

With such a large breakfast you may not be ready to eat
But how about we go out for a tasty little treat
So hugs and kisses for the kids before again we go
This time blindfolded and you can't say no
You might recognize the smell when we open the door
It might surprise you to see what lay in store

He made me PROMISE to keep my eyes closed, which I did, but, duh, I live here, I know where we're driving. Just the same, I couldn't understand why we ended up at Starbucks. What's more, I was a little embarrassed because I could hear a lot of people around me, and I was just, you know, holding on to Darin's arm with my eyes closed. I cautiously entered, and he sat me down at a table and said, "Okay, open your eyes."

My thoughts? Hm. Maybe I'm meeting Kuulei here.


It was Beans.

I cried, she cried, we hugged, I sobbed. (Forgot to take photos again.) "How did you manage this?"

She told me that rather than asking her managers for the time off, she just made an arrangement with a fellow co-worker: "If you'll work Saturday and Sunday for me, I'll work whatever shifts you want for the next three weeks." Or something like that. She just snuck away without telling anyone. It was wonderful.

We went outside and Darin handed me my next clue:

The next surprise is quite unique
Distance is tricky with this one
I've been excited about this all week
It will bring back many great and nostalgic times
By the way, I'm running out of rhymes
You were just stimulated by taste and smell
In order, next by what you will hear, feel, see and touch, I cannot tell

Before I tried to figure out what that clue meant, Beans said she had to get a card for Azu'car's new arrival, so let's go to the Hallmark Store at the mall. I started walking toward the Spaghetti Factory entrance, and Beans said, "Isn't it over there by PF Changs?" No, I told her, it's not, and trust me, I know where the Hallmark store is. Darin then piped in, "Well, I need to go to the T-Mobile store anyway, so let's just go in the main entrance and make a loop." Okay, what did I care, I just wanted to talk with my sister.

While Darin was in the T-Mobile store, Beans's phone rang. She looked at me and said, "It's for you. It's Jessie Post."

Let me take a minute and tell you about Jessie Post. Jessie is two years younger than me, as is our friend Amy. The three of us were very, very close friends back in the day. We shared a love of music and theatre and being together. We drove to Toronto to the theatre district for the sole purpose of singing on the street corner for money. We did lots of fun things. And Jessie is an amazing individual. She is someone who makes significant improvements in this world. Although she'd HATE that I tell this story, she was valedictorian of her class, but missed graduation because she was in Alabama competing as Miss New York in the Junior Miss pageant/scholarship program/crazy-lame party. She is an accomplished pianist. She went to the University of Chicago. Then she went to Honduras to help build houses for homeless people. Then she went to Africa for awhile. Then she taught for Teach For America in the Bronx, where she very legitimately feared for her life after dark; she created an outstanding theather program in a run-down, inner city school (at which school she'd often spend the night, if she didn't get a chance to leave before nightfall). She lived in New Jersey for awhile and then...I don't know. Darin had just asked me about a month previous if I had talked to Amy or Jessie in awhile, and I got sad because I realized that I had lost them. I didn't know where they were.

But here she was, phoning me on my birthday.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JENNEEEEEEEEE!!!" is what I heard. I could not believe it. I could barely talk. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

"Jess! What? Where are you?"

"I'm in L.A.."

"Why L.A.?"

"My husband makes video games, and that happens on the west coast."

"Your husband?!" (It had been that long.)

"Yes, I got married! It was right about the time you had your baby boy, congratulations! How is he?"

"Oh, Jess, he's such a good baby. And he's so cute."

"I know. I can see him."

And there she was.

We hugged and I cried some more and in general made a huge spectacle. I absolutely could not believe it. We were there, together.

It was wicked-good.

(And, as it turns out, Darin did NOT have to go to the T-Mobile store, nor did Beans have to go to Hallmark.)

On the way home, we three girls stopped by to visit cjane. I wanted to introduce Jessie to Courtney, in a small attempt to blend some of the very best parts of my worlds. We neglected to mention to Darin that we would be making this stop, however, and since we had left our phones in the car, my family didn't know where we were and was really REALLY worried -- even called the police and went out looking for us. Oops. Sorry.

Once back at my house, we just enjoyed the time visiting. Darin went somewhere, but I wasn't sure where, and it didn't really matter to me because I was so enjoying my time with Jessie and Beans.

Stay tuned for the finale!


Carina said...

I didn't know about Jessie, that is so incredible!

And I loved the note Beans wrote me, even if it didn't come from Hallmark (especially since it didn't come from Hallmark.)

tia frijoles said...

contrary to what we kept getting from peopl in the airport. i'm the blonde in the blue shirt and my sister is the brunette in the black shirt. the other blonde is not my sister, nor is she related to me by blood at all.

Tori :) said...

I'm so jealous of your awesome birthday!! YAY for you!!
I told Sei I want to be a zookeeper for a day at Hogle. We'll see...

Bek said...

That is amazing!! You have a great husband and friends...I can't wait for part FINALE..

P.S. Does her husband work for Electronic Art's in LA?

wendysue said...

How Fun! I love that all of the surprises totally worked out. . .and since I'm PMS-ing today, I totally teared up at reading the conversations. . ."I know, I can see him." WAAAAAAAA.

QueenScarlett said...

Yeah... you made me well up too. I blame monthly hormones... but man... can't wait to see what else!!! AMAZING... amazing amazing.

La Yen said...

Did you tell Beans that the first thing I asked , when you told me the saga, was "You could smell Beans? Did she stink?"

Anonymous said...

Oh this was one of my favorite parts!

Anonymous said...

what fun surprises! Looks like you had a fab b-day. You and Cjane make turning thirty look like the "new size zero" -- whatever that means.

i i eee said...

Wicked-good, indeed! Yay!

Christi said...

I cried... and I can't blame it on anything...when you said that Beans made it. She is quite the "seester". Good job, all!