31 July 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby

Saturday was my husband's 45th birthday. As of Monday, 21 July, we'd planned on going to dinner with Robert to Flying Fish. By Thursday night, however, Cameron had invited Gene and Cindie, Cleo, and John and David to join us. He also asked if I'd rather stay here and cook dinner or go out. My preference is always to cook here but I really didn't care either way.

For years you could set the clock by Cleo's and my every-Saturday-morning-conversation. During our talk, she and I discussed what I might cook if we stayed here and she offered to help. So, when Cameron woke up I pitched our ideas to him. We were thinking homemade crab cakes, grilled prosciutto wrapped scallops, grilled asaparagus, and grilled corn on the cob. He liked the thought and started making calls to change our plans.

Turns out that Gene and Cindie had been unsure if their niece, Chelsea, was coming to visit and had gotten confirmation that she was -- so they were out. David and John were still on the fence but were likely coming. Robert was still on board. I began some light housecleaning. When I turned on the vacuum and released a foul, dust and dog hair odor, I sprayed some Method fig spray and ran for a new HEPA-filter bag. I changed the bag with the last one in the broom closet.

Cleo called when I was on my third room and said, "I thought you were going to call me." I told her I was, but the for the shopping and cooking. She said, "I meant I'd help you with the house, too." So I said, "come on!" She dusted, I vacuumed, Cameron cleaned the bathroom and straightened up the bedroom. With three of us doing it, getting the house in shape was a cinch. Cameron left to run errands with John while Cleo and I went to run ours. Ultimately, she and I were on a mission to get the necessary supplies to make him a birthday dinner he wouldn't soon forget. This meant a trip to Costco out in BFE.

Driving to BFE is not as as bad as driving in certain parts of BFE. The area where we were going is one of the worst -- Wolfchase. It's where undeveloped land was bulldozed for a giant, new mall, later surrounded by all of the big box retailers, with the remaining in-fill of chain restaurants, like Red Lobster and Joe's Crap Shack, and the obligatory Walgreens. Good drivers risk life and limb with all the idiots driving around "the Galleria." They often hold their cell phones with the shoulder/head combo, sip lattes with one hand, smoke a cigarette, put on lipstick, eat or perform any manner of other task with the other hand -- steering with a knee, finally deciding at the last minute that they want to turn left across eight lanes NOW from the right lane.

Because we both needed pet food and I needed Type "S" vacuum bags for the Constellation we planned additional stops at Petsmart before Costco and the Hoover store after. All are within a mile of each other. At Costco I was shocked at how the prices of some things had increased. For instance, the three pounds of lump crabmeat I needed was just under $17 per pound. Ouch.

Back home, Cleo and I started prep work around 3. We washed and snapped aparagus and cleaned the bi-color corn. I was preparing to put together the crab cake mixture when I saw her getting frustrated with the sliced prosciutto. I peeled proscuitto slices from the package for her while she wrapped and toothpicked the scallops. I then mixed the crab cakes and pattied them in layers with wax paper on a foil lined pan. We had all the food prepped and ready to go by 5. I started frying crab cakes around 6:15 while we had drinks and noshed on some horseradish white cheddar cheese on pumpernickel cocktail toasts and Kalamata olives. John and David read questions from the "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" game they'd brought Cameron for his birthday. Robert ended up working late, so we delayed dinner and began grilling around 7:30. Dinner was served shortly after 8.

Afterward, a few of us went swimming and spent the rest of the evening relaxing, listening to music and enjoying each other's company.

It was great day.

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