I've begun planning TFBIM's Surprise 40th Birthday Party.
The problem with this is that her birthday is the week before Christmas and anywhere we'd hold it would be a a scheduling nightmare. Eventually I narrowed it down to Place A or Place B. Place A is "funner" and more elegant-casual but the food isn't the star attraction, vs. Place B, which is a little more grande dame, drop-dead gawjus, and ridiculously foodie.
TFBIM, like the lovely and gracious Poppy, is not really a foodie, just "foodie friendly." (Poppy won't remember the brand and style of bacon she served us for brunch at her condo in 2004...but I do.) Therefore, the foodie effort would be not-quite-worth-the-bother. Provided the food is good, TFBIM won't care if the salt is hand skimmed from shallow pools in the Celtic regions of North Spain or scraped off I-95 tarmac. The $$ would be the same-ish, so the pivot to the thing would be which place has the date we want.
The date we want is 12/2/06. This is close enough to the actual birthday to "count" in TFBIM's eyes, but far ahead enough to foster an actual surprise. It also is the date that poses the fewest problems for people here on the Fringe of Paradise, as well as the out of town crowd arriving from NY, IL, AZ, CA & MA. Other dates further afield would have worked also, but TFBIM is a fairly strict constructionist when it comes to Actual Birthdates vs. Party Dates. Poppy has the panache and swagger to pull off a surprise party for TSMSM a full month early, but seem to lack that gene. Alas.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised (NPI!) to find that Place A had space for us. The room looks nice enough, it has a great view overlooking the course and the gardens and the banyan trees (a hurricane's 2nd favorite target--after a trailer park--for abuse and mayhem) and all that. So, since I have to be in at the office today to sign papers and send faxes and all that, I asked the banquet/catering manager to send the menu.
The menu is okay. Well...maybe OK+. It looks like the sort of stuff that must have been considered somewhat edgy in 1997, but not terrible by any means. This is in keeping with the place, which must be flexible to accomodate wedding/christening/baptism/bris receptions, 1st Communions, Sweet 16s (or 15s, if'n you're all Iberic and go for that), graduation dinners, 75th (!) wedding anniversaries, and all that...likely hosted and attended by people who are not even likely to share a zip code with a foodie.
The theme--for reasons beyond the scope of this post, but which include a load of stuff that I ordered for JokeFest which arrived too late but proved non-returnable--will be rather heavily SHAG-inflected.
I therefore have a mission for y'all. Find me some cheap-o SHAG type knick-knack thingies (to stuff in the goody bags...40-50, give or take) available for purchase** online and you can have your pick(s) of the Joke Stash of Contest Stuff. I'll even update it soon, to reflect a treasure trove of stuff I found in a box from when we moved that I have yet to completely unpack. Naturally, there's no immediate rush on all this.
OK. That's it for now.
* This assumes it's cooked properly. Nothing survives a clumsy oaf manning the grill or sauté station.
** Or snap 'em up and I'll PayPal ya right back.