My 28th Birthday (part 1)

Keaton got what he wanted this year: I didn’t go around telling everyone that it was gonna be my birthday. That’s not because I agree with him that it’s gayass to tell people when your birthday is…it’s that I don’t see enough people to tell them that November 8th is coming up and that I’m going to be another year older and so don’t forget to wish me happy birthday.

Of course COVID got in the way of celebrating my birthday. I got to spend it with Joyce like usual…but I missed out on a guy’s night out, like our team trip to Dave and Buster’s last year. On the other hand, I did get a zoom party with the Parrots, and Keaton (believe it or not) put it together.

Since my family’s on the other side of the country, at least COVID didn’t get in the way of how they celebrate my day with me. So Mom called me before I left for church and sang to me, and then Portia and Cordelia got on the line. I got a text from Elizabeth while I was in church, and Melanie Kate called me as I was driving home. The news there is pretty much that everything’s still the same, although I’m always surprised to hear how more things are open in Tennessee than are in California and how not everyone there wears a mask.

I was a little disappointed that the mailman delivered only one box on Saturday, and that was from Meemaw, so I thought that Mom and Dad’s present didn’t get here in time for my birthday. There was a card in Dad’s handwriting in the mail, though…and, when Dad called me, that turned out to be his present. We Blocks usually try to get just the right present for each other…and we rarely give money…but, this time, a check was exactly what I needed most for my birthday. Meemaw did send me a box with the things she usually sends me, though: cookies (oatmeal and snickerdoodles), Publix ice cream cones, strawberry ice cream topping and a card with a check in it, too. It’s a dang good feeling to know that your family is looking out when things aren’t going so good for you.

Since Joyce wanted me to have dinner with her, Keaton arranged the zoom party for Sunday afternoon. His instructions were for everyone to get a few beers (sparkling cider for Adam and Ryan) and some wings and to wear Dodger hats, since Keaton said the last thing he was gonna do was get gayass party hats and drive around Pasadena dropping them off. The Dodger hats made sense given the World Series and how happy we all still were about it. That’s what we mostly discussed, since it was our first time all together since they won it all. Things like did we agree with the Commissioner’s decision not to discipline Turner for going out on the field after he tested positive for the virus. Seriously: the dude just won the fuckin World Series! Most of the team agreed with me…although Josh and Ryan didn’t.

There was definitely one thing we did all agree about, though: pulling Snell was one of the most boneheaded baseball decisions anyone of us ever saw.

Keaton’s not the kind of dude who’d arrange a whole bunch of party games, but he had us all take out the Pictionary supplies I got us for Adam’s party back in August and we played a few rounds of that. Since we had beer instead of just sparkling cider this time, that got pretty hilarious pretty dang quickly. We got some big laughs out of it (some of the guys draw even worse than I can, if that’s possible)…and my team kicked Keaton’s team’s ass. (Keaton: not like you’re getting a trophy, so shut the fuck up about it already, bubba lol.)

The Parrots all pitched in and got me a great present: a dang generous Wingstop gift card. So now I have an alternative to ramen and cereal. Talk about gifts I can use.

We wrapped up the party at about 5, which gave me a chance to nap off the beer before it was time to change for Joyce’s. She said she wanted me dressed nice…although it was fuckin cold on Sunday night, so she wasn’t gonna get me in ratty basketball shorts anyway lol. I wasn’t sure why Joyce said I should dress up, but I got the idea once I got to her place. Some of the black and white Halloween decorations were still out, to which she added a whole bunch of other black and white stuff to make it look like a crafter’s version of a fancy restaurant. Jack Skellington was gone from the dining room, where the table was set for the two of us, complete with a fancy ice bucket with a few beers and a couple Mexican Cokes.

The big surprise was that there was a waiter there, too – along with a chef in the kitchen. Since we couldn’t go to a restaurant, Joyce had our dinner catered. I thought that was pretty cool of her, especially because it meant she wouldn’t have to worry about cooking, serving and cleaning up.

The food was awesome, and fancyass in a good way. I had the first soufflé of my life, made with lobster, and it was pretty awesome. It was kind of like eating a seafood cloud, if that makes any sense. Joyce said she was worried that it would be too gayass for my tastes, but, hey, based on that one, I’d happily have another soufflé. I’m curious to taste how they make them for dessert.

The main course was Beef Wellington, which I’ve heard about but also never eaten before. It’s like roast beef baked in a crust, but it’s more than that…and, trust me, totally fuckin bombass. Me and Joyce finished every last bit of it and I almost wanted to lick my plate, that’s how good it was.

And what did Joyce have them cook up for dessert? I figured that an ice cream cake was coming…but instead I got Baked Alaska, which is kinda like an ice cream cake on steroids lol. It’s ice cream and cake like in a regular ice cream cake, but it’s coated in a meringue that is somehow made hot without the ice cream inside melting. They served it with sparklers in it, so it looked super festive.

Don’t worry: I still got a candle to blow out. They had a cupcake ready for that so I got to make my wish. Y’all probably can guess what I wished for…but I’m still not telling. We all know that a wish doesn’t come true if you tell what it is lol.

The waiter and the chef in the kitchen cleaned up – even to Joyce’s approval (I was afraid she was going to go into the kitchen and clean up after they cleaned up) – so me and Joyce got to relax in the living room with our espressos after dinner.

That made it time for my present. It came in a bigger box than Joyce’s presents usually come in…but it was still a work of art the way it was wrapped. I’ve been wanting a nice flannel shirt for when it gets cold (like it is now), and I reckon I mentioned it to Joyce, since the box contained three of them, all super soft in a variety of plaids. They were perfect. There was something else, too: three pair of what they call ‘cozy’ socks, two in plaid, and one with reindeers. So I was all fixed up for cold weather…and not a moment too soon.

There was a little something extra too. Joyce told me to look in the pocket of one of the shirts, and I found a gift card for the Kroger. It may not seem too romantic giving your boyfriend groceries for his birthday, but, like with the Wingstop gift card, it really was something I could use.

Pretty good birthday, right? There was still more to come.

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