1. I tracked down a guy who could come to the house to fix Paulie's gargantuan vintage console stereo's record player. This was no small feat, because as it turns out, most of the people who can do this are either retired or dead. Unfortunately, since this was going to be a surprise, this plan was foiled by conflicting schedules and, more than once, Paulie being at home when he wasn't supposed to be.
|Hi, I'm a giant, glorified nic-nac holder|
2. Since the records I'd bought him were now totally useless, I decided to make myself feel like less of a flake by making him breakfast. He requested an egg, toast and a sausage patty - easy, right?! In my state of distraction I accidentally bought pork sausage patties instead of vegetarian...which I served to him with a smile and pretended the mistake had been intentional. "Eat more protein, you!"
3. While shopping for the wrong sausage patties, I picked up a cake mix and a dented can of fruit which I intended to use to, well, bake a cake of course. Those things are still sitting on my kitchen counter - didn't quite get to the whole 'baking a cake' thing. Ooooops!
4. I planned a beach day on which I thought we'd stop by the Wild Flour bakery in Freestone for some bread, and Boon in Guerneville for dinner on our way back. Turns out both were closed on our beach day. That's right: CLOSED. Gah.
5. I forgot to buy a replacement gift. I mean, I did buy him something kind of last-minute and stupid when there were only a few days left before his birthday and the record player wasn't fixed yet, but because of my late planning, it didn't arrive in time. Actually now that I think about it, it still hasn't arrived. Christ.
Don't worry! All was not lost. Sure, I completely jacked up all of the surprises I'd planned on wowing my boyfriend with. He didn't seem to notice, though. Maybe because I deliberately and successfully made a point to distract him from the lack of an unwrappable gift. Oh, and I nailed it!
First, we went to The Marshall Store, where we ate oysters:
Then, we went to Hog Island Oyster Company, where we ate more oysters:
Then we went to Nick's Cove, where we ate...clam chowder and a salad. They have a little shack at the end of a dock where you can relax while waiting for your food, and when it's done, they call you to tell you it's ready! After we ate, I arranged a beautiful sky for Paulie to look at.
What a perfect day! On the way home, we stopped at The William Tell House, where the barkeep brought Paulie dessert with actual candles, and the whole bar sang Happy Birthday to him! I didn't get any decent photo documentation of this grand moment, sorry.
I did, however, get one photo of our final stop of the evening. Paulie and I have a very unfortunate tradition of ending every birthday extravaganza with a trip to The Zoo, a sticky old dive bar where, if you go at the wrong time of the evening you might order microwaved bagel dogs which will make you very, very sad the following day. Luckily, when we put last-minute word out that we were heading there, a bunch of friends rolled themselves off the couch/out of bed, and joined in the birthday-celebrating fun.
|All of these people love Paulie.|
But wait!! Do you want to know the best part of this whole story?? After work the following day, I was telling Paulie about all of the ways in which my plans to surprise him for his birthday had been shot to hell. I explained how many times I'd had to reschedule the record player repairman, much to my woe. As I laughed at myself, he was like "well, maybe I can fix it...."
|Happy Birthday! Fix this, please!|
The rest of our evening was spent listening to The Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger, The Beatles, and other old scratched records we'd been given that very day, by sheer coincidence.
I think it all worked out in the end.