Thursday, October 27, 2011

Who let the dog out?

For the past year and a half, Angie has been the Quiz Mistress at The Dubliner, our local Irish pub that is conveniently located within crawling distance. The Quiz, for you non-German-Irish types is a weekly trivia night, where Angie reads out 30 questions and people huddle around in teams of six or less and try their damndest to not get caught looking up the answers on their iPhones. Yes, we also know what you did last summer.

The difference tonight was that it was her birthday. A rather tragic event that started at 00:01 with an innocent but completely serious question.

'So, you didn't forget my birthday again this year, did you?'

For those of you with short memories (and Angie is definitely not part of your posse), I had a birthday malfunction last year that has resulted in me being stuck in the doghouse for 365.25 days. Not that I was counting.

So, yeah - back to the not-so-innocent question, which was followed by my carefully thought-out guilty answer.

'Honey, I tried to pick up your gift today, but it simply was not there. They promised me that I could pick it up tomorrow, though.'


Now let me tell you, the 'okay' you see in text above probably looks cute, sexy and innocent, but it might as well have read 'O.J.' I tried to explain my defense, but the plaintiff adjourned early and went to bed. Love means never having to say 'you're forgiven'.

The next morning was awkwardly quiet, if you exclude the noise being generated by three boys screaming 'Happy Birthday' at the top of their lungs.

When I came home from work, I had to break more earth-shattering news to Angie.

'Look, I'm sorry, but I went to pick up your gift and it's still not there.'

'Okay. Whatever. I'm getting in the bath.'

I made Angie a warm glass of tea that is supposed to calm stressed people down and brought it into her.

'Did the boys at least make me a card?'

'Of course they did - all three of them. They're just finishing them up now.'

In my book of love, lying is allowed if it involves a naked chick and her emotions. Two seconds after leaving melancholy Mama to shampoo her misery away, I raced into the living room, flipped off the T.V. and started chucking crayons at the boys.

'QUICK! You guys need to draw a picture. NOW!!!!'

Peter immediately broke out into a sweat and began furiously scribbling. At least he didn't start crying. Tom freaked out and for some reason demanded that I help him draw a dragon - 'a mean one'. David took everything in and rather calmly explained to the collective freak out crew that 'Mama does not like scribbles' and 'she certainly does not like dragons.'

It was at this point that I yanked David up and somewhat gently placed him on the table.

'And what, exactly, do you think would make Mama happy?'

'A super-duper pattern with no white on the paper, of course.'

'Great, then why don't you draw that and leave your brothers alone?'


I hovered over the trio like a coach on the eve of a big game, loudly encouraging them to finish in showers of spittle. In the end, my threat tactics and vocal tutoring paid off. Angie came out in a robe and gave all three boys a super-big hug. In the end, Peter was so thrilled with himself that he asked Mama if he could have the drawing back so that he could take it into school. Even with only two drawings, she looked genuinely happy. Then she turned to me.

'I'm going to Quiz. Bye.'

'Okay, ba-bye. Happy birthday again! Love you!'

Other than a totally non-flirtatious glare, there wasn't much of a response that did anything for me. That's okay, though, I was busy preparing my surprise and waiting for the baby-sitter that glare-chick didn't know about. Yet.

When I showed up at the pub, Angie was certainly surprised, but it was more the 'what the hell are you doing here?' surprise than the 'oh my God I'm so happy to see you because you put Brad Pitt to shame on a daily basis' surprise.

I think I scored some points when I forked over my homemade birthday card.

Okay, maybe Angie wasn't so thrilled about the funny team name, but I had also organized a birthday cake - that's gotta count for something, right?

Truth be told, I did not know about the cake that Sarah had spent three days baking until I got there, but I still gleefully took credit for it because Angie had suddenly started to warm up. It probably had more to do with the 39 flames blazing on Sarah's Torta di Trionfo, but whatever - one bark closer to leaving the doghouse.

Not only did Angie damn near collapse a lung blowing out Sarah's mini forest fire, she also made Signora Cucinare reel back from what I can only hope is garlic breath.

I didn't have a paper bag to help out with the pursuing hyperventilation attack, so instead I whipped out the big guns. That's right, I brought out the iLuv.

iLuv my shit-eating grin as it finally dawned on Angie that I had actually not forgotten her birthday and that I had even taken some measures to organize a kick-ass evening. Oh, ye of little faith.

A nice googly-eye look is okay if you're not a hairy alpha-beast that can crack coconuts with his stomach, but I needed at least the PG version of a thank you. Luckily, Angie is an avid movie-goer and planted a PG-13 special right on the smacker that immediately opened the door to my cage. Right on, right on - you gotta dig on that!

It was nice to be out of the doghouse for a while. Three hours, to be exact. And before you ask, no - I did not do anything house-worthy after three hours. We actually had a great time just sitting at the pub and hanging out with old friends. We even played the Name Game, a drinking game that we haven't played since our B.C. (before children) years.

Back then, Angie had bangs, but other than that, not much has changed. I still won. She still claimed that she had won, and I had to yet again explain my view on drinking games.

See, in a drinking game, the more often you lose, the more you drink. Angie's goal was to lose less, which she did because she hates not winning at anything. For me, the only reason to play a drinking game is to drink - it's even in the name. By that logic, and my liver can confirm it, I won. Besides, it's my blog.

My three-hour tour was over too quickly, but I did not want to keep Ute waiting. She had been awesome enough to babysit on very little notice, so I did not want to push it. Thanks again, Ute - you made Angie's night. Actually I did, but you definitely helped. No wait, actually, I think the iPhone is what did the trick. Hey, wait a minute! I see now that she doesn't need either one of us any more and I just sent material girl off to get her party on with all of her new iFriends. It's okay, though. I still thank you for your help. To show my appreciation, I thought I would write you the longest side narration I have ever, ever written. Enjoy. Or not.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: Papa! Did you see my picture? It was so cool, that was my best ever.
David: That Mama like my drawing the best.
Tom: When Mama have a birthday and we sing 'happy birthday' but the funny one with Mama smells like a zoo.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When my friends ring the doorbell and I had pajamas on.
David: That Tommy hit me right on my nose with a book and he laughed.
Tom: When I bonk Davey on the nose.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go swimming in the pool.
David: To go to the pool and spring in like a water bomb.
Tom: To go to Grams and Opa.