Sunday, April 19, 2009

You are a child of the 80s if...

**Warning: this is a long post, but the last picture makes it all worth it, so at least scroll down and look even if you don't read the whole thing.**

You are a Child of the 80s if...

You had a crush on one of the New Kids on the Block

You wanted to be on Star Search

You know the profound meaning of, "Wax on, wax off"

You could break dance, or wished you could

You ever wore neon clothing

You wanted to be a Goonie

You know all of the words to "Ice Ice Baby"

Taylor turned the big 3-0 Thursday, April 16th. Because of his slight obsession for the 80s, how could I resist an 80s themed surprise party?

He had no idea what hit him.

It all started back in September. Tay and I were talking about his looming induction into legit adulthood (I mean "the hill" is in sight once you hit 30). He casually mentioned that it would be unnecessary to throw him a surprise party, and so, at that moment, it was on.

Hey, I love a good challenge, and with Susan Ince (aka Sparky) in on the surprise, you know it'll happen.

Now, I knew I could totally pull this thing off as far as not spilling the beans (you see, my being a human vault is good for some things), but I didn't know if I had it in me to actually organize a whole party, so in February, at Susan's behest, I enlisted my good friend, Dottie. We decided to have the party at her house - she has an amazing backyard - and the ploy would be that she was just having us over for dinner which is a regular occurrence. Taylor would never suspect a thing.

Towards the end of March, I figure it's about time I start getting serious. I knew I had to do all of my planning and preparing in the 3 hour window between the end of each school day and the time I pick up Taylor from campus and the occasional planning period during the school day. So in that week before my Spring Break, I got the evite done (yes, that's all I got done). I must say I am pretty proud of that thing. It had the blurb about being a child of the 80s that I listed at the beginning of this post and this picture of Tay:

This picture is worth a whole blog post, but I'll save that for another time.

Anyway, after the invitations went out, there was no turning back. Thank goodness it was my Spring Break the following week, so like the non-procrastinator that I am, I used that time wisely and was totally prepared for the party by the end of the week.

Yeah right, I was writing blog posts and not packing or applying for my work visa, remember?

Thursday I decided I had better take advantage of having the whole day to get stuff done and hit every grocery store in Charlotte for the second time that week (check out "Home Sweet Home"). Friday, Dottie and I hit up the Dollar Store where we scored a knock off version of Pop Rocks and glow stick lanterns. Next, we scoured Party City where I promptly left my passport.

Did I mention I am not an organized person?! By the grace of God they still had it that next WEDNESDAY when I realized I had lost it. Scary that I am the adult in charge of 73 fourteen year olds during the week. For the record, I have never lost one of them. However, I did find out Saturday night, at a freshmen dance I chaperoned, how they used to sneak out of my study hall on a regular basis last year...sweet. Apparently it involved blankets, crawling under desks, and somersaulting out the door right before it closed. I may not have any future Shakespeares in my classroom, but James Bond stunt doubles, look out.

Lastly, our cars bursting at the seams with the decorations, we head to our final stop, my dad's favorite store in the whole world, Costco. It always makes me less homesick whenever I walk in there. We eventually make it back to Dottie's in time to unload before I pick up Taylor to meet some of our friends at the dollar theater to see Paul Blart Mall Cop.

Beggars can't be choosers...literally.

However, we were pleasantly surprised by how funny it was (though paying $2.50 for a movie considerably lowers your expectations).

So I make it to the week of the party. I am back in school, and just like I told you, after all of that cleaning I did over Spring Break, our house is already a wreck:

Merriweather didn't seem to mind, and Taylor knew better than to say anything.

Each day after school, I headed over to Dottie's and preparations commenced in full force. Like many events, there were a lot of things that had to wait until the day of the party to take care of; mainly due to the fact that Taylor would notice them missing from our house.

Thursday night, Taylor's actual birthday, would be my biggest hurdle. You see, we meet with our small group on Thursdays, and they were also invited to the party. I was afraid someone would get confused and say something. I brought a cake so we could fake celebrate and hopefully throw him off of the non-existent scent. I prayed no one would spill the beans. Besides the, "see you guys soon" nod, nod, wink, wink - they could get away with saying this because we all go to the same church - and showing the blissfully unaware Taylor his birthday present (a bottle of Chimay) without letting him know it was for him, we made it through, and I thought I was home free.

For the record, I iced this cake in the car as we drove to small group. Just call me Martha Stewart.

This is Taylor fake blowing out his candles. I made him re-do it because my camera is slow (and apparently sensitive to motion). At first, he waved out the candles for the hypochondriacs in the room - ahhh! He's starting to think it's normal for there to be multiple hypochondriacs in one place. My freakish tendencies are rubbing off on him in negative ways!

Friday had finally arrived, and I had planned on using my 2 hour planning period in the middle of the school day to run by the house and get the last minute supplies for the party: card table, lawn chairs, serving platters, picture frames (you know, the things he would notice that were missing had I taken them earlier) etc. Well, I had forgotten it was our service project day at school which meant we'd be off campus until lunch, and there would be no off periods all day. I was kind of freaking out. On the ride back to school, the mom assigned to my service project group asked if she could get anything for me at Costco. The heavens opened up and the Hallelujah Chorus erupted, and I about jumped out of my sticky bus seat with excitement. She picked up the cake, and about 70 assorted hamburger and hot dog buns and was back at school right when the dismissal bell rang. It was glorious.

We made the hand-off, I raced to the apt to gather all of the aforementioned supplies, and made a bee-line to Dottie's, but not without begging my friend Kristen to pick up the balloons and make a last minute grocery run. Actually, I didn't have to beg; she's just nice like that.

At last, Dottie's backyard had been transformed into an 80s wonderland, and the food was basically ready to go. And by ready to go, I mean once Sarah stepped over the threshold, I handed her a box of Velveeta and ran out the door. Thank goodness for really good friends who can read your mind.

I race to go pick up Taylor from campus. In the car on the way to school, I call him. Apparently our friend, Mark (Sarah's husband), dropped him off at home where he was currently drinking a beer and stuffing his face with a fourth piece of free pizza. You see, our apt complex was giving away free pizza to those who ordered one a few weeks prior. Knowing Taylor's love for free food, I promptly hid the order form seeing that it was on the same day as the party. But as only Taylor Ince can do, he still scored a free pizza anyway. I try to act calm because typically I'd be stoked about a free pizza. We were so close; I couldn't blow it now.

I get to the apt and wait for him to come down. Seeing him with his backpack in hand assured me he was still clueless about the party; that is until he got into the car. Then, he dropped the bomb.

"Did you do anything with our lawn chairs? They're not on the balcony," he asked.

I froze and quickly thought of multiple ways to kill our "friend" Mark for taking him home.

"Umm what are you talking about?" I stuttered trying to keep my composure while wildly racking my brain for a plausible excuse.

"The chairs on our balcony are gone. Did you pack them or something?"

"I don't think so. I mean wouldn't I remember something like that?" I said lamely. We were 5 minutes away from the party - how was this happening? Think Robin!

"Maybe they were stolen. What else could've happened?!"My voice steadily climbed as I intimated that somebody had scaled our third story apt only to steal four decrepit chairs that cost $5 at Walmart.

He bought it.

"Calm down, Robin. There's nothing we can do right now. There's no use in worrying about it." Quickly, I shut up, my heart pounded in my chest.

We pulled up to Dottie's driveway.

"Surprise!" They all yelled in unison followed by the shrieks of the children at the party who were scared to death by the sudden noise.

We did it!

Here are some more pics from the party. The captions follow the pictures.

Karen and Rick, our young adult Sunday school class leaders, and Jennifer and her husband Tim (below: he's the one with the mo-hawk!), friends from church

Check out Ben's (friend from Wake; down from Lexington, NC) shirt - love it!

Matt, friend from Wake - came up from Greenville, SC for the party - and Taylor (check out Tay's short 80s shorts; I came prepared)

Mel, friend from church and our small group, and Sarah, seminary connection

They were such troopers to bring their kiddos - they both have 2 year olds in addition to the munchkins they're holding: Esther was born in Dec and Connor was born in Jan

Lauren and Jenni, seminary connections; Jenni and her family drove up from Spartanburg, SC.

Ashley, Matt, and David (seminary connection) - came in from Gaffney, SC

Daniel, sweet Caroline (3 weeks old!), and Tay

Daniel and his wife Meredith go to our church and host our small group. They take good care of us - we would never get to see American Idol if it weren't for them!

Chris (Mel's husband), Esther, and Rick

Jenni's husband, Andrew, and their daughter, Kathleen

My heroes, Kristen and Sarah

Mark, Sarah, Matt, and Ashley

Joe (Kristen's husband) Tay, Matt, and David

And this last picture basically sums up the whole party...

Happy 30th Taylor!


The Neffendorf Family said...

Way to pull it all off, Robs! As a child of the 80's, I must say it looks like the party was a blast. Even Kathleen was sporting the side ponytail! :)
Happy Birthday, Taylor!!!

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