- A lifesaver forced around my neck to ensure public humiliation - $5
- A blindfolded car ride around the valley to various cruise destinations - $15
- The best surprised birthday party I have ever had, aimed at making up for the fact I was not on a cruise, as planned - PRICELESS
Well in all fairness, this year wasn't really a birthDAY but rather a birthWEEK celebration, starting a week in advance with dinners with friends and co-workers. We had planned to be on a cruise that week and I was going to finally get to dive after almost a year. As it turned out I started a new job the week before and life just happened. But Doraleen (aka cruise director) and Courtney (aka Cap'n) opted to make the cruise happen anyway, complete with an underwater experience and international travel. I was sitting on the floor of my closet, cleaning it, or thinking about cleaning it, when they both showed up. They informed me the "ship was leaving" and handed me a sand pail filled with clues for each "destination" we were going to "dock" and a bag of nice rocks, (cuz I like rocks and they like to take jabs at the fact that I used to collect rocks when I was a kid, a rockhound, if you will).
The Ocean Blue
The first stop was the Living Planet Aquarium where yes, they made me wear the lifesaver the entire time. Call me a nerd but I loved every minute of it. It was amazing because they had the same fish there that I saw all over when we were diving and snorkeling in Tonga and Fiji. I may not have been breathing through a regulator, wearing a BCD, but it was the next best thing. Amazing. I even pet some stingray, but we're still not cool. Not by a long shot.
After another blindfolded, nausea-inducing ride, with extra twists and turns to throw me off, we ended up in "Jamaica" (aka Steph, Nick and Shane's house). They went all out, complete with island smoothies, Rastafarians and a beach scene. They lead me up the steps blindfolded and when I heard laughs and music I started to get a little nervous because this was where I realized that more people were involved than just the Cap'n and Cruise Director. After kickin it in Jamaica for a while I read my next clue and we were all off to the next "port." I also picked up a lovely flower band that I had to wear along with the not-embarassing-at-all lifesaver.
The next time the blindfold came off I was in Cancun....or Cancun Cafe somewhere on Fort Union, meeting up with some more friends and downing a magically delicious cheese enchilada (don't judge, it was my birthday and I will eat as much cheese as I want to.) Then after reading another destination clue, we were off again to the final port. At this point the perma smile I had was starting to make my face hurt but I just couldn't help myself.
Somewhere Islandy With All My Friends and Lovers.
The last stop was my house that was decorated to the nines in the island/cruise theme with everybody waiting. A-mazing. There was a birthday dance/cheer that made me laugh so hard I almost stopped breathing, there was cake, there were pretty island drinks, there was blindfolded/quasi-inappropriate musical chairs with large Polynesians, there was cruise badminton and yes, there was limbo....with an actual real limbo stick....with the actual limbo song....yes that did happen. I was pretty much laughing hysterically for three hours straight. I even passed out a few high-fives. I am gonna go ahead and take this as a sign that this is going to be a kick-A decade. Thanks friends and lovers. You made my day, my week, my month....and probably my year. My cup runneth over.