PLD Montage Vol. 2.3: Surprise Edition

I love surprises. There’s something so fun about planning a surprise for a friend or family member, surprise visit, surprise party, surprise gift. I’m not great at secret-keeping necessarily, given my tendency to talk too much and too often, especially to fill an awkward silence, but when it comes to important things like first dates and surprise parties, I work really hard to keep details on the DL until it’s finally time to share. After the fantastic surprise party to celebrate the engagement of my lovely friend M and her N last month, most people would have toned down party-planning mode, but in fact, my fashionista C and I had another party in the works at the same time, which came to fruition this weekend, when we surprised our partner-in-crime R with a bachelorette drag brunch and a bridal shower on C’s roof. There were so many wonderful moments this past Sunday that I’ve been trying to chronicle in a succinct story, but the more I wrote, the more I realized there was only one way to memorialize the day.

So without further ado: PLD Montage, Vol 2.3: Surprise Edition

  • As mentioned above, C and I were planning the parties for R at the same time we were planning the party for M. We had group texts going with both of the girls talking about two different parties which were the primary forms of communicating details among ourselves.
    Lesson learned: ALWAYS, always, ALWAYS confirm you’re sending the correct group text when simultaneously planning surprise parties. Literally, always.
  • We’d decided that C would handle most of the decorations etc. for the bridal shower, while I’d handle plans/decorations for the bachelorette brunch. Losing my wallet on Memorial Day continued to enhance my life by completely screwing my budget, which meant I couldn’t actually order anything for brunch until five days before the big event. Not wanting to deal with the inevitable screw-up of the Washington Heights post office, I decided to have the decorations shipped to my office, where they thankfully arrived just in time on Friday for me to spill the beans to my coworkers about the plans for the weekend, and have them insist to see the decorations that I’d ordered.
    Lesson learned: Maybe don’t take out penis-shaped memorabilia during office hours.
  • The day before the party, C, M and I met at C’s place to bake the treats for the bridal shower, including R’s favorite banana pudding and a paleo cupcake recipe because we’re all a little crazy. M and I had a *few* drinks at happy hour the night before and had spent the morning eating and relaxing at her apartment, trying to balance our blood sugar after too much wine. Though we spent literally the whole morning eating, upon arriving to the Financial District to bake, we decided we needed a smoothie to chase all of the hangover food just before getting to C’s place. Oh, and then we brought chips and salsa to C’s place as an accompanying baking snack. And also ate some of the Nilla wafers while making the pudding. Also sampled a cupcake. Oh, and some of the frosting.
    Lesson learned: Eating everything in sight does not make your hangover feel better and actually might leave you on the couch at home on a Saturday night with stomach cramps that make it impossible to move.
  • The plan for the day was simple: M, C, R and I would meet for drag brunch at noon, which was actually R’s surprise bachelorette party, and then head to C’s rooftop where more friends would be waiting for a surprise bridal shower. When party day finally arrived, M and I went down to the restaurant early so we could decorate the table with the aforementioned silly bachelorette decorations, like a chair ribbon and uber-classy penis centerpiece. After setting everything up, we went to the bar to wait for R and C to arrive, bouncing with a nervous excitement. And then another bachelorette party came in and the poor girl got really excited when she saw a decorated table.
    Lesson learned: There’s no better way to put a damper on someone else’s bachelorette party than running to the table where she’s trying to sit down screaming “THAT IS NOT FOR YOU.”
  • Brunch was wonderful and just as drunk as brunch should be, and there is even a video of R lip-syncing on “stage” to a song that she hates (which I am not allowed to share but FYI it’s amazing). We got in a cab on the way home and took awkward photos together, trying to distract R from the slowly-rebuilding nervous energy, as the rest of us knew that the surprises for the day weren’t over yet. We confirmed everyone had finally arrived to the surprise party and I distracted R in her apartment for a few minutes before we walked to C’s rooftop; I tried to keep it cool but I was a little too tipsy and kept bouncing around while we walked to the roof. We made it to the roof and I let R lead the way, looking for M and C, until she stopped and said “Are. You. Serious.” while smiling, as she saw the pink tablecloth and a big group waiting with surprise smiles. The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying perfect weather on the rooftop, drinking champagne and eating treats, watching R open presents and ending with big hugs all around, since the next time we’ll all be together in the not-so-distant future is at the wedding.
    Lesson learned: Maybe it’s difficult and stressful to plan two surprises on one day for your best friend, but watching R surrounded by love and friends (and presents, of course) was worth every freaking second of it.

It’s bittersweet sometimes, looking towards the end of the summer when my one-time single partner-in-crime will become someone else’s other half. I don’t think I could have survived the first few months as Single LB in the city if it weren’t for her pushing me out of my comfort zone and into a lot of vodka. And yet I’m looking forward to that wedding, probably not quite as much as she is but definitely a lot. She brought H the Scot into my life, our lives, and in his crazy, Scottish way, he makes the group feel complete. It’s definitely been a wild year of surprises as they’ve fallen in love and planned a wedding, and I have memories (and sort-of memories) that will last me (mostly) forever. Throwing her a day of surprises leading into the next few months was the least I could do to pay her back for all of the memories, lessons and love she’s brought into my life in the past year.

So here’s to the next chapter for my partner-in-crime and her Scot! I foresee a follow-up to this post after their wedding, where I’ve already had to swear “no vodka” and am only mostly positive my bridesmaid’s dress won’t lead to everyone’s favorite game of “If you see something, say something” with my boobs. But until then, the above lessons in love, surprises and PLDs should keep us grounded for the busy summer ahead.

A Weekend, in Parts

As I’m writing Part One of this post, it’s Saturday night, and I stopped counting how many hours I’d worked since Monday after it passed 70. I’ve never in my life finished a Venti coffee from Starbucks, and this week I had one every morning, plus another cup mid-afternoon at the office. I’m tired in a way that I’ve never experienced before, and little miss won’t let me have two minutes to myself to pee because she’s so desperate for attention after being stuck alone most of the week. And yet, I’m so, so happy right now. I’ve had some great times with my team at work, both professionally and personally. I managed to fit in at least a little yoga every day, and now I have a glass of wine and Sleeping Beauty on TV. There have been highs and low in the past seven days of long-expected crazy, but even though things aren’t necessarily calming down anytime soon, I can’t say that I’m in a bad mood. There’s a part of me that’s expecting to start feeling something negative: maybe I’m supposed to be angry, or upset, or annoyed, or whatever; but instead, I feel like it’s the perfect Saturday night to unwind a little before picking up first thing tomorrow.

As I’m writing Part Two of this post, it’s Sunday morning, and my chance to sleep in was interrupted by something I needed to do for work. I have no coffee in my apartment, and I can’t get in touch with my coworker to confirm she’s online so I can run out to Starbucks before this caffeine headache gets any worse. It’s a sunny, beautiful spring day, and I’m inside all day on my computer. And yet, I’m really, really happy right now. I have a built-in excuse to stay inside and do nothing, since it turns out it’s pretty cold outside anyway. It’s nice to lay on my couch in the sunshine that streams through the windows, illuminating the bright walls. I can roll out my mat this afternoon and practice on my own time, eventually seeing tangible progress in something I’ve been working on for months. There’s something about having a Sunday to myself again that makes the past week of crazy all worth it. Sure, I didn’t have my normal Sunday of yoga and Whole Foods, but somehow I’m feeling as refreshed sitting on my couch after a day of work as I normally do on productive Sundays around the city.

As I’m writing Part Three of this post, it’s Sunday night and I’m watching terrible television while eating a chicken Caesar salad and onion rings from my favorite deli down the street. My computer is open, but it’s been quiet, finally, after another busy day. I know I should go to bed soon, get a good night’s sleep and get to yoga in the morning, but there’s something so tempting about staying up just a little bit longer to watch that final episode of Intervention taking up space in my DVR. I can’t believe another week has already passed, and I think that I think we’re out of the crazy. I’ve been writing in fragmented thoughts all day, getting snippets of inspiration for new posts, writing this one in pieces, work punctured with blogging punctured by starting to sequence out new things for yoga, getting an early taste for what it will be like when I’m teaching in the future. This has been the longest two weeks of my professional life, even counting the time three months into my career when I was told I had to fly to Orlando and run the client booth at a conference by myself less than 24 hours before my flight took off. It’s been exhausting and stressful and yet so, so satisfying. We made it through the craziness and my team still has smiles on their faces. Celebrating success as a group feels almost as great as the extra hour of sleep I would have gotten had I not decided to stay up just a little longer, to savor the end of the longest week of my professional life.

As I’m writing the end of this post, it’s Monday morning and I’m back at my desk. I’m one Venti coffee in and I still need to put in my hours for last week, which means I’ll finally see the past week’s insanity laid out in a series of codes and numbers. I’ve had to pee for the past twenty minutes but I keep finding myself distracted by emails that need to be answered and tasks that need to be attended to, plus I’m desperate to finish this post to jump-start blogging again. I’m stress eating almonds because I just found out it’s going to be another late night here, and now I need another coffee just to keep me going. But looking back on the past week, I’ve had a series of ups and downs, crazy with calm, cranky with a ton of fun, and everything in between, and it’s been one of the most rewarding weeks of my life. I think I can manage another five days before crashing SO HARD on Friday night, a much-needed rest ahead of my partner-in-crime R’s birthday bash this weekend. I’ve learned over and over again that there’s no such thing as “back to normal” in my life, whether speaking professionally or personally, so much as I hope things will actually calm down by the end of the week, I’m expecting the unexpected. Maybe that’s my new normal now, waiting for things to change as soon as they’ve started. And even if it is, I’m finishing one week and starting another feeling accomplished, proud and ambitious for more. I can get used to normalizing all of that.