Happy Birthday to My Bay-bee!

It is my wife’s birthday today. When Susan walked into her office at work this morning she was shocked to find a small florist shop’s worth of flowers in there, and I couldn’t have pulled off the surprise without the help of her receptionist, Tigre.

Here’s how it went down. Awhile ago I remember Susan answering a question either on her blog or on someone else’s. I can’t remember the question, but the answer was that she loved getting flowers at work on her birthday. So I made a note of that and initially I was just gonna hit 1800flowers.com or something and have a bouquet delivered today, but then late last week a light bulb went off and I started trying to figure out how I might get the flowers delivered without her knowing it. Trouble with that is there’s no real control with online florists… it’s kinda like the cable guy: he gets there when he gets there.

So then I turned off that light bulb and another brighter one came on: why not just do it yourself! Hit the flower mart downtown on Monday, stow them in your car and then deliver them after she’s left for the day and before she gets home. For that to work I would need an accomplice.

So last Thursday I called up Susan’s office and Tigre answered and I told her I needed her my plan asked if it would be possible on Monday to give me a call letting me know when Susan had left for the day so that I could bring the flowers by and get them all set up. Gung-ho Tigre was like “Oh you are the best husband!” And I was like “Why yes… yes I am.”

So Monday comes and I hit the flower mart at 7th and Wall Street and the section I walk into is just barren… devoid of life and flora. Thankfully I proceeded into another wing of the place and the selection improved, but it still was less than I was expecting. It wasn’t until I crossed the street into another building that the pickings got good and I wound up pulling together two huge mixed bouquets — and I mean freakin’ huge! — two dozen red roses and a couple bunches of smallish sunflowers.

It was then it hit me: vases! I placed a desperate call to Tigre on the off chance there might be a cache of flower-type vessels stored. I told her I’d bought a boatload of flowers and had nothing in which to put them. She said she’d check on her lunch break and get back to me. About 90 minutes later my phone rang and it was Tigre with the good news: there was plenty of glassware and it would be ready for me to use.


Then it just became a game of waiting for the call to alert me that Susan Had Left The Building. That finally came around 5:45 p.m.

“Hi Will,” Tigre said, “Susan left about five minutes ago.”

“I’m on my way!” And I was, taking a route different from the one I know Susan takes when she comes home. The last thing I needed was for her to see me going in the opposite direction with a passenger seat full of fleurs.  I arrived about 20 minutes later (please make a note of it: avoid being anywhere near the 3rd and Vermont gridlock between 5 and 6 p.; it is excrutiatinglly painful), unloaded all the vegetation and hauled it up to the 12th floor where Tigre met me and couldn’t believe I’d meant an actual and literal “boatload” of flowers. So while she adjourned to get more vases, I set about doing the unwrapping and placement and once Tigre re-arrived with the additional receptacles it was only a matter of a few minutes before I was thanking her profusely for all her assistance and getting home where I made some reference to an errand to counter Susan’s curiosity as to why I wasn’t home.

The rest of the night I was just tickled that it all went off without a hitch. And this morning when Susan called me from work to tell me how happy and surprised she was and how much she loves me: priceless.

But I wasn’t done. There was still the installation of her birthday present, which was an old colored glass window we saw and Susan fell in love with in one of the neighborhood antique stores after taking the L.A. Conservancy’s Angelino Heights Walking Tour about a month ago. After a bit of haggling over the price I brought it home a couple weeks ago and hid it in the basement.

So, after meeting and catching up with Carolyn of LAist.com over coffee and mango cheesecake at Cafe Tropical I got home, tromped down into the dungeon and came back up and inside with the window, which I cleaned up  and then proceeded to pose in different places within trying to find just the right place to hang it. I considered the dining room, the living room, even the bedroom, but eventually went with my first choice, the west-facing window inside the entryway.

A short while later, voila, voila and voila:



[larger versions are on Flickr here, here and here]

I just love the cobalt blue in the corners. And when Susan walked in the door telling me that my floral escapades were the talk of the office, she saw this and stopped in her tracks and in mid-sentence. Then she slugged me in the arm.

I love you too, bay-bee! Happy birthday!!

March Of The Penguin Suit

It was a couple weeks ago when I expressed my abject ecstacy at trying on what I refered to as “The Pants” — the pair that I’d chosen to not to donate and thus keep around as a reminder of what I used to fit into during my last bout with thinner-ness — and they actually fit!

Well, today it was the tux — no quotes or capitilization needed because I only have one. Yes, it is true I own my own double-breasted tuxedo. My mom purchased it for me as a Christmas gift in the early 1990s because she believes every man — or at least her only son — should own one and I have worn it three times since. Once (because I said I would and no one believed me) to the Pierce College journalism department’s end-of-semester awards banquet in the spring of 1993 where I was presented as the next semester’s incoming editor-in-chief, next in 1995 posing for a way-too-stiff-and-formal family portrait arranged by my mom and taken in her house with her, me, my daughter Kate and my mom’s dog Crockett, and last to the 1997 premiere of Ragtime at the now demolished Shubert Theater in Century City.

In the nine-year interim I recall donning it on several occasions, but never do I remember fitting in it. So this morning between re-hanging the kitchen wall clock and getting ready to take Shadow for our daily walk. I pulled it out of the back of the wardrobe and out of it’s plastic storage jacket and put myself inside the dapper thing.

Almost everything has more than enough space: shoulder room, check; chest room, check; stomach room, check; waistline, check. Ass; no check. Hmmmmm…

But I do recall that on those rare occasions I put it to use the caboose was snug as if made for any number of men more… shall we say “ass-challenged” than me. Being that I’ve always carried a decently sized trunk and and proportionately sized monster thighs, that last aspect of today’s try-on did little to negate the elation at both the further evidence of my dieting success and the knowledge that if push came to shove and there was a quick-turnaround dry cleaner in the vicinity I could be suitably attired for a rush-order trip down a red carpet.

That is if I can remember how to tie a bowtie.