Thursday, May 28, 2009


It is hard for me to imagine getting to be 85.  It is actually hard for me to imagine the years I have already lived as I usually think I am who I am and do not even notice age unless it is brought up to me or my bones ache too much.

My mother will be 85 on May 31st.  When she was 65 my sister and I threw her a surprise party in her home in Brooklyn.   We had a blast coordinating the invitations, invite list and all the food and drink.  We each brought part of the food and wine and such with us from RI and upstate NY.  I think if we lived closer we could make this a great family business.

Once that gala event was past my mother kinda expected another bash every 5 years.  We did not disappoint. For some reason I cannot remember what we did for 70. Once she moved to Heritage Village in CT we had a more difficult time figuring out what to do as neither of us lives near her but we have managed quite well.   I do recall 75 being at Carol Peck's Good News Cafe with a radio theme and then 80 being at the Mayflower Inn with a floral theme.

I get to make the invitations and my sister often thinks up the theme or the place to hold the event.  So this year we wanted to go a bit simpler and less upscale than the past two.  Ellen is amazing at ferreting out information, especially if it is on the internet.  She passed a few ideas by me and we settled on a movie at the Bethel Cinema with lunch to follow at the Cadiz Cafe.

One can rent the entire theatre, supply the DVD and have a private showing anytime it is not open to the public.  Cool.   Ellen already had a movie in mind which I completely agreed to.  The name will not mentioned it here though because some of the invitees may read this and we want to keep that a surprise.

Once it was all decided and the theatre and cafe booked we spent an entire day avoiding our respective work by emailing back and forth until we both liked this invitation cover.

The Cafe is a Tapas restaurant serving appetizers and small plates of delicious food. With difficulty we picked out the dishes and soups. The cafe volunteered to type up a special menu once we decided on the dessert.  All good.  Out went the invitations and the RSVP's  (or Can can's - that's a hint) came rolling in.  I got to hear many of them while I was in RI.

We then did not hear from the theatre people for too many weeks.  A week ago Ellen contacted the manager about the last minute details. She did not get a response until Tuesday of this week. We thought that was cutting the time a bit short but, hey........there really was not much more to decide on anyway.

On Tuesday Ellen got a phone message telling her that the cafe chef had gone in for emergency gall bladder surgery and would not be back on his feet in time. Would we like to reserve the pizza/Italian place down the street?
   Um, no.  We really did not think pizza down the street was in keeping with our party plans. Plus the cafe has movie themed walls and such.

Ellen asked what about the weekend chef or the back up chef? Evidently they are already busy next Monday.  Why was there such a delay in telling us?   It seems the cafe manager quit last week on top of the chef going into the hospital.  argghhhhh.

Saying we were in a panic is putting things mildly. All I could think of was unpleasant thoughts of calling all those people to explain the cancellation.   Hours of explaining to disappointed elders.

What about a caterer using the cafe?  I went online and within minutes found several near Bethel.  Ellen, meanwhile, talked with the manager who said she was really upset for us, would certainly let us use the cafe if we could find a caterer on such short notice.  

Wednesday early, Ellen left the first choice, Loree, a message with her assistant telling her the bind we were in and spent a restless morning trying to float her boat downstream.  I tried to do the same.

About 1pm mvos let me know she had a great conversation with Loree and we were still ON!  A very simple buffet menu is planned but we actually get to offer our mother's favorite dessert -- make your own ice cream sundaes.

So back to CT I go in the morning.  May 31 is our mom's actual birthday. We are converging there tomorrow afternoon but saving the big celebration for the June 1 party.

No comments: