Sunday, August 24, 2014

Here's a shocker: 50 doesn't stink

I've collected more than a few markers of my recent milestone birthday. One is a cute-as-a-button,  plush skunk tagged with a cardboard note that declares "50 stinks!"

Don't believe the smelly little rodent. From where I sit, 50 has been pretty great.

It started early, of course, with Miranda Lambert, Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett last week, and still to come is a Bunconian gathering and Eric Church next month. On Thursday, I got a chance to gather with friends known by those in the FOB-JEK know as the "mini-skirts." 

Not only did Cathy and I win the euchre tournament, there was birthday cake for Monica, which she generously shared with me. She did not, however, share the ancient family secret recipe. We had a great night where in addition to dispensing lessons on how to win at cards, I served as videographer for their group acceptance of the ALS challenge. 

The cards and calls and Facebook messages have humbled me a bit. Say what you will about the annoyances of Facebook's constant delving into your personal business, it's fun to see all those birthday notifications.

On Friday -- when I actually crossed into no-way-to-hide-it middle-age, was a mixed day.  Despite a clear plan of the gifts being country music live concerts,  Jeff, Ali, Auntie Jen and Uncle Peter conspired to bring home the point that I'm now older and wiser.

We had bad news at work so it wasn't really a day to be giddy. But Jodie and Audrie found a way to make it special, so that was sweet and deeply appreciated. Audrie brought me a guilt-free "cake" and Jodie came up with a bag of treats that perfectly reflected some of my favorite things. And my friend Chris not only bought me pancakes for lunch, he didn't complain once when I had to do a bit of work in between bites.

Jeff, Ali and I went to Zest for dinner. Jeff and I had been there a number of times, but it was Ali's first. She got to wear a new, fancy dress and that was, I think, the best part of it for her. When we got home, I retreated to a luxurious bath complete with an enormous cocktail and country music while Ali and Jeff went downstairs to prepare for Saturday's epic debut of the new Doctor Who.

Ali tore herself away from the time traveling marathon to snuggle with me through Fashion Police and that was that. Stress diminished, birthday noted. All in all a good day. There may have been a little more celebrating, but I'm a shy and demure kind of thing so you'll just have to accept that the birthday was spectacularly noted by one Captain Reed.

But wait. There's so much more. Birthday Book Club was a tremendous success. I was glad for my work cake when presented with the to-die-for cupcakes and the champagne. Oh the champagne.  

We had the brilliant idea last year of marking milestone birthdays with a day at a hotel pool and dinner out. Book discussion included, of course.

Last year was Niki's 40th and while her birthday was the reason we met, it was the theft of Kate's flip flops that will ever be remembered. She was incredibly angry when her shoes went missing and she complained about it for hours. So much that it became hysterically funny. To every one but Kate. So of course we had to steal her shoes. We'll be laughing about that for years.

I had prepped for the day by hitting the gym early, and we had plenty of healthy snacks too, but the degree to which I indulged should probably not be defined.  

I dragged myself back to the gym this afternoon and I'm pretty sure my pores belched out a steady stream of champagne and chlorine. There was a reason I stood alone in the row of ellipticals. I'm pretty sure they had to Febreze the area once I'd left. 

Note to my friends still on the light side of half-a-century: If 50 does, in fact, stink, that's the smell to shoot for. #NoRegrets

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