Friday, May 1, 2009 By: Suzanne

Home Story: Jeff

For those of you that don't know, Jeff is my boyfriend of three years. His dog Skillet is the pit mix in the snow with Aurora on the left side of your screen. Jeff turned 30 on the 30th. Yes, I found myself a younger man! Aren't I naughty? hehehe

I wanted to do something special for Jeff's 30th birthday. He's not big into holidays and celebrations but I think they're important. I especially think birthdays are important because that's the one time every year that each person gets a special day that's all about them. So when I found out one of his bands was going out of town on his birthday, I was a little upset. Just ruin all my plans, why don't you?

Maybe I should mention that Jeff is in 5 different bands. This makes planning ANYTHING virtually impossible. If he isn't working, he's probably got a rehearsal or a show. Luckily we live close to each other, so I do get to see him fairly often. Granted, it's usually on the way to bed or waking up but we always (almost) have Sundays. Neither of us works or has any permanent plans for that day. I call them my lazy Sundays. Best day of the week.

About a month and a half ago I started coordinating a surprise party. You have to do these things far in advance when you're working around 5 bands and the people in them. I noticed that NONE of them were playing ANY shows the weekend before his birthday. Wonderful! I sent messages to all the "band leaders" (for lack of a better word) to not book any shows for the Sunday of that weekend. We were gonna do it up good for Jeffrey. I just had to find a good place for it to be. My place is way too small and his doesn't even have much of a yard. Luckily, one of his bandmates came through. Thank you Wally and Laura, I couldn't have done this without you!!

There wasn't much to do once I got everything in order except tell a million people when and where, any one of whom could have slipped and told Jeff. 5 bands, the spouses and significant others, friends, co-workers; oh, yes I was worried. So I waited. I didn't see the point in letting too many people know too soon. A few important people knew, that was enough to keep it on track. The rest wouldn't have too much to do anyway with these people not scheduling anything.

So one night, while Goodness Gracious (one of his bands) is playing a show at a house party. I overhear someone trying to book Jeff for a show ON THE 26TH!!! This is the date of the party. All of his bandmates KNOW not to book shows that day.
"Who is that?!" I say without thinking.
"Mike," Jeff says.
"He's trying to book a show for the 26th??!!"
"Yes, June 26th"
"Oh, ok, carry on."
Yeah right. Like he's not going to wonder what that was about.

"So, what's happening on the 26?"
"You're such a bad liar." Me laughing because it's SO VERY true.
Thinking fast, I say, "Nothing really, it's just Sage's birthday party and I wanted you to come but I felt silly about my reaction." Oddly enough, he bought this.

Sage is my nephew. He turned 4 on the 27th. His party was NOT on the 26th. It was on the 25th. Close enough for jazz, as my flute teacher used to say.

So the Friday before his party (so far, so good) I have a pretty open day and begin to prepare some food. I had told everyone that if they wanted meat, Wally would have the grill going and they could bring their own. Otherwise, I'd have some veggies stuff for the vegetarians. I had planned on making some Vegetable Samosas and Chinese Sweet and Sour Balls. I was very excited. I love cooking something that I know will be a hit. It's so much fun! That is, until the recipe you've used a million times lets you down. I still don't know what happened but my Chinese Balls were the consistency of oatmeal. Not supposed to be that way. I thought, "I'll just pop a couple in the oven and see how they turn out. Maybe once it's cooked, it'll be fine." Nope. Gross. Completely and utterly gross. In the trash. On to the samosas.

These were fine except I couldn't cook them yet, they need to be served hot. I figured I'd just put them in a container, separated by wax paper and fry them up on Sunday when we got to Wally's house. Perfect. (not so much, when I pulled them out at the party later, they were all sticking to the wax paper and to each other. I got two to come out and fried those. The rest were one big doughy lump. Very disappointing). Now cut the veggies for the veggie platter. Done. Now what do I replace the Chinese Balls with? FUCK IT! (by this time I'm running short on time because Jeff will be off work soon and feeling very frustrated). Cut some veggies, throw them in a pot with some lentils, add spices, go to the store while that's on low, get some black beans, kidney beans, chick peas, go home, throw them in the pot, let it cook. DONE. Take everything to Wally and Laura's. Call Jeff. Spend the evening with him.

"Hey, Jeff. Are you working tomorrow?"
"Yes, why?"
"Well, Andrea changed the day of Sage's party and I wanted you to come."
"mmmm-hmmm," in a kind of sarcastic way.

mmm-hmmm???? What does that mean? Does he know something? Later I call Laura so we can diagnose this reaction. We decide that we can't tell. We'll keep acting as if he doesn't know.

Saturday. Sage's party. Such a sweet boy. I love him so much and he always acts like I'm the most amazing person he's ever seen when I come over. This is a wonderful ego boost. Sage gets a humungous set of Legos for his birthday. Nothing else in the room matters for the rest of the day. Not such an ego boost.

Sunday. OH MY GOD. COULD 4 O'CLOCK BE ANY FURTHER AWAY?? Why didn't I say lunch? This waiting is going to kill me.

"Sweetie?" Me to Jeff in my best, could you do something for me voice right after my phone call from Laura in which she offers me a tv stand if we come pick it up when she gets home at, oh, maybe, around 4 or so.
"Could you help me go pick up a tv stand at Wally and Laura's this afternoon. She's got one she's getting rid of."
"She said she'd be home about 4 or so. She'll call when she gets there."
Now, for those of you who haven't figured it out. Laura is actually calling me when a bunch of people have shown up so we can get Jeff in there and surprise him.

2:30. SERIOUSLY? Is it not 4 yet??!!
Jeff is at home at this point working in his garden. I go to the store to pick up his favorite beer and take it over to Wally and Laura's. Just as I'm placing the beer in their fridge, my phone rings. IT'S HIM!
"Ok, Boomer (their dog), don't bark."

"Hi, sweetie."
"What are doing?"
"I was just at the store."
"I'm about to take a break and work my beans before finishing up." What?? Beans? He isn't planning on showering before we go? Ok, think quick. "Has Laura called yet?"
Awesome! Perfect!
"Yes, she did."
"She did? She's home."
"Oh, uh, no. Not yet. She just called to, uh, tell me, uh, they're planning on a few people coming over tonight and we're, uh, welcome to stay and hang out for a bit."
"Ok, sounds good."
", you might want to take a shower."
"Ok, I guess I won't finish out there. Let me just finish the beans." Crap! How do I get the beans out of the picture?
"I think they're gonna have some food."
"Well, I'll bring them with us."
"Great." No!!

4:00 FINALLY! Phone rings. It's Laura. Quite a few people are there already. WOW! Imagine little old me getting a bunch of drunks and hippies to show up on time. (just kidding guys! Love you!)

Call Jeff. "Laura says we can come pick up that tv stand now."
"Ok, let me just check on the beans and get in the shower. I'll call Wally and see if he wants me to bring them over."
"You haven't showered yet?"
"No. Are we in a hurry?"
"No, that's fine. See you in a minute."

Ring to Laura. "Jeff hasn't showered yet. It may be a little longer. And he's gonna call Wally to see if he needs to bring anything. He's planning on bringing beans. I didn't know how to get him not to. I can't tell him I already made beans and they're there!"

At Jeff's. Not in the shower yet. "Ummm, are you gonna shower? I can watch the beans."
"Are you in a hurry?"
"No, I just think they might be expecting us."

Phone rings as Jeff is headed to the shower. Hannah. Wondering exactly where it is and how to get there but Hannah is awesome. She picks up fast that I can't talk.

"Who's that?" I'm really tired of trying to lie at this point. I just can't think of something good and I'm feeling kind of guilty about it.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" I say in a flirty little way.

FINALLY. Walking out the door. "Should we pick up some beer?" he says.
"I don't think so."
"What if I want some Hefeweizen?" What can I say to this? You already have a whole case there that I bought early today? Yeah, sure. Now is the time to ruin it.
"ok, what store?"

In the parking lot of Kroger. Waiting for Jeff. Call Hannah, tell her how to get there. Call Laura, explain why we're STILL not there.

Ok, pulling up in front of Wally's house. OH SHIT! It's Aaron and Shaina. They don't know Wally. Wave them away. Go away before Jeff sees you! No such luck. Here they come.

Jeff looks strangely at Aaron. Then at me. Then Aaron says, "Happy Birthday, man!" Oh, for crying out loud. We're here!! We made it all this way and it gets ruined now??

Jeff is slowly realizing. I can see it on his face. "I thought you were acting weird," he says with a little smile curling one side of his mouth. He walks into the house in a daze and out POPS (literally) Matt and SCREAMS at the top of his lungs and for as long as his breath allows SURPRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISE! Yes, Jeff this party is for you. We walk out back and there are so many people! Jeff is smiling and laughing and he puts his arm around me and kisses me.

This is it. He was surprised still. He keeps seeing people he didn't expect. This look on his face is the whole reason for all this. I love this man.

So the last little bit of the story that I will tell is about pole dancing. Yes, pole dancing. That is not a typo. Jeff, got very, very drunk. His friend Danny took these great pictures of him. Enjoy!!


septembermom said...

Wow, you had a lot to coordinate! Looks like you pulled it off the party well. All those phone tag conversations were funny. It's great how you made his day! You must be exhausted after all that! Jeff is a lucky guy (and a cute one too).

Tonya said...

Thanks! I think so too!

Jenn said...

Good job Tonya!! 5 bands!! I didn't know that was even possible!

Tonya said...

It's not.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! Surprise parties are very hard and I can feel for you. Your write-up was very funny.
I have a friend who was in 3 bands at one point and she never had any free time I can't imagine 5! And Jeff is very cute and the photos are sexy ;)

Rebecca :) said...

I am glad the surprise party worked! Seems like Jeff is as hard to find time to plan something with as the guy I recently started seeing. He works the odd hours of 4am-4pm (or even 6) and of course is exhausted by the time he gets home from a 12-hour day. But so far he's worth it, which is good. The pics are great. Jeff is a hottie! My man is older than me by 13 years. Crazy, huh? But it works so far so that is good.

Tonya said...

It's not crazy if it works. No matter what others say and how THEIR relationships work, it's always going to be THEIR relationship. That's something I've had to keep in mind when other people make comments sometimes...