Pre Party

I had to untangle eleven strands of Christmas lights

....and it was making me loopy

Happy Haulers showed up Friday morning at 8:30 to pick up our junk

They were great

He grabbed the pitchfork to create an
American Gothic

What a wonderful day.
It ranks up there with one of the best birthdays I've ever had.
I called Happy Hauler in a panic on Wednesday, and they had no openings for the rest of the week (in the evening), and I said "But I'm having a party Friday night!" and the guy said he could come out early Friday morning to help me. They showed up at 8:30, and instead of some grumpy guys to haul away my trash, I got these two guys, who were an absolute pleasure to hang out with. They asked about the party, and I told them The Big Secret, and I was just giddy with excitement. And I gave them my web address, so Hi guys!!
When I called work to tell them I would be late because I had been hanging out with some Happy Haulers, Sally held out the phone and eveyone at my work yelled "Happy Birthday!"
I was getting tons of e-mails from people asking for directions and to ask what I needed, and I realized I would have to go home after lunch, because I just couldn't concentrate on anything else. Marc informed me that they were all taking me out to lunch, and that was the end of my rough work day. The morning flew by.

Super fluffy dogs at work to visit Rascal

They were a SO excited

some of Johnston Architects:
Lauren, Chris, Me
Marc, (Ryan), Sarah, Lauren, Andrew, William, Cary, Lauren

Marc & Ryan
(remember this?)

almost ready!
I came home to find Bruce and Sean in the back yard laying down the plastic, and bringing over the second grill, and setting up the umbrella, and other yard work. We were still at a loss with what to put over the plastic, so we grabbed some blankets. Sean did manage to get a couple big pieces of carpet from work earlier this week, so we used that as well. Bruce was on his cell phone calling around about carpeting, but it was all too expensive.
I was on a mission to buy a few more tiki torches, and get some extension cords from Lowe's, and a few munchies from the Grocery Outlet, and something for Sean to eat since he hadn't eaten all day. This one trip became a very long ordeal because the whole city seems to have sold out of tiki torches (end of the season), and my debit card was declined at the Grocery Outlet (how embarassing) so I had to go home and get my birthday checks (thanks Mom & Jeff and Dad & Kay) to take to the bank. Meanwhile the clock is creeping towards five and I haven't been home to get stuff ready. But I did get Sean a hot dog at Fred Meyer (and I told they guy "Can you bag this? I hate the smell of hot dogs" and he proceded to wrap the hot dog in a plastic bag, tie it shut, wrap it in another bag, tie that shut, then wrap it tightly in a paper bag. I was so grateful I wanted to cry. It's like he knew it was my birthday or something.)
I'm glad I left work when I did, or I would've been hyperventilating that afternoon.
My always-dependable homies (Maggi & Heather) arrived just after five and I was sweating by then. I managed to get the white Christmas lights wrapped all the way around the pool, but still had about 5 strings of lights left to use. I needed the food table set up, and about 50 candles lit, and the tiki torches (the old ones we already owned) set up.
They both went to work with the decorations, as well as making a run for ten bags of ice ("A Jackson of ice") to distribute to the coolers.
The tiki torches had rusted and leaked (they're old) so Monica ended up bringing a set of four new ones. If the stores weren't all sold out, I'd go get some. They were nice!
As I told my Mom today, the whole day seemed sorta surreal, like a movie scene. I mean, I would drive my car down the street, and pass Sylvia saying "Are you ready?!" and then pass Kim in front of her house assembling the bouquet in her front yard and waving, then see Bruce carring over a stack of chairs heading towards my house.
They could have all busted out "Whistle While You Work" at any moment.

A few blankets

Some carpet (and no more junk)!

The gorgeous bouquet by my neighbor Kim

Giant Sparklers for the street corner
(they burn for like 5 minutes!)