It all started a few weeks ago when Emilee told me she and Courtnie wanted to take me to dinner after my birthday since she and I would both be out of town on the 4th. The last month or so has been really really busy for me. It's all been fun busy, but busy. We decided on the 7th, I put it on my calendar, and didn't think anything of it.
We didn't ever really discuss where we'd go, time, or anything, but since they're two of my closest friends I figured it wouldn't be an issue. We all get off work about the same time and I knew we'd figure it out. I hadn't seen Courtnie in a couple weeks and needed a proper catch up, and we'd all had eventful weekends so I was mostly just looking forward to being able to chat and get caught up on each others' lives.
Yesterday morning I was walking to work thinking, "Where do I want to eat tonight??" I seriously could not think of anything. Nothing jumped out at me. All day it wasn't really discussed, but I knew Courtnie was really busy at work, and Em sits 10 feet away from me and we IM all day so at some point I asked Em if we were still going to dinner. She said yes, and had decided on Lombardi's and Rice to Riches. I was so thrilled because it sounded so perfect! Pizza is my favorite food, I've never been to Lombardi's and had recently mentioned to Em I wanted to go, and we all know my love for R2R. (If you don't believe me, just ask Aimee or Emilee, or the good people at R2R.) More than anything, it made me happy that my friend would know what would be perfect for my birthday (hence, yesterday's post.)
As the end of the day approached Em and I had discussed maybe running to Bloomingdales, or Barneys, and never really had a concrete plan. Emilee and I have both complained about having to go out on weeknights at times, because we like to leave our evenings open to work out, do things around the apartment, etc. I asked her if she felt like backing out, and gave her a hard time about it (even though she insisted she wouldn't) and when I found out she had a headache I told her I 100% would understand if she wanted to reschedule for another night. I myself considered canceling because my eyes were driving me crazy. (Did I mention the last two and a half months I've been dealing with keratitis? I was miserable yesterday afternoon. We finally figured it out just before I left (a little before Emilee) and then the three of us met up.
We were in midtown until about 7:30 or so and then headed downtown to Lombardi's. When we got off the subway I made a quick call and Emilee took off in a rush. I was confused but didn't think much of it. When Courtnie and I got to the restaurant there were people spilling out of it, waiting to be seated. Great, I thought. It's going to take foreeeeeeveeeeeer to be seated. I decided to use the ladies' room and thought to myself, I really hope Em flirted and used her charm and good looks to get us a table. (Wouldn't be the first time.) When I came out Courtnie was waiting for me and said, "Em got us a table in this random room in the back." I chuckled to myself, knowing of course Em had pulled through.
We walked to the back, through the kitchen, and then up the stairs. I really wasn't thinking anything, and as I turned around suddenly a group yelled, "SURPRISE!" I can't even tell you what I was thinking because I was so surprised. I think I just felt confused, surprised, happy, and disoriented. It took time to sink in, and I actually felt myself becoming a little embarrassed.
I realized all the regulars were there, and suddenly I noticed Aimee! And Jerry! What??? Who planned this and how did they get in touch with Aim? Slowly things started making more sense as I kept asking questions. I felt so flustered. Apparently they'd all been there since 7:15pm and it was now 8pm. Oops. I felt so badly! Em and Court said they'd tried to get me downtown earlier but didn't want to be too obvious. (They did a good job because in hindsight I can see how they tried, and if they would have persisted any more I probably would have gotten annoyed because in my mind, what was the rush??)
It was so great to see everyone, and I honestly felt so overwhelmed with love and appreciation. With all our friends it's always someones birthday, which makes birthdays feel a little less special because it seems like every couple weeks we're going to dinner for someone else's birthday. Last night felt far from routine. I felt really special. I am so thankful for my friends. I feel incredibly blessed. The one regret is not getting any photos. I kept telling myself to take pictures, but I was just too frazzled.
Thank you so much Emilee, Courtnie, Kevin, Tom, Colin, Aimee, Jerry, Dave, Logan, Brittany, Jason, Maria, and Jenn.