So the day Jesse turned 29, this happened:
1. Jesse mopes around the house. I promise him I’ll celebrate his birthday next week because it’s the first day of classes at URI on Monday and I haven’t finished writing my syllabus.
2. He gets a call from Josh at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday night. Josh is the Relief Society president’s son. Josh says, “Hi brother Rich, I need your help. I have an economics paper I have to write and I was wondering if you have any economics books. And the paper is due tomorrow.”
3. Big surprise. Josh procrastinates everything; he’s in 8th grade and his prefontal cortex won’t allow him to plan ahead, make decisions, express emotions and control impulses in a way that makes any sense whatsoever for at least another eight years. Jesse scans the bookshelf and selects A Brief History of Economics: Artful Approaches to the Dismal Science (only 530 pages!), More Money than God (a good Sunday read), and Winnie the Pooh on Management (just for fun), plus five other books.
4. As soon as Jesse leaves I do a little happy dance in the kitchen. Jesse totally fell for it. By the time he gets back, all the guests will have arrived and the lights will be turned off so we can all jump out from our hiding places and surprise him.
5. It’s 6:30. I have half an hour before people are supposed to start showing up. I have to make fancy red slushy punch, set the table, rearrange the furniture, clean the house, find all the presents I wrapped because I forgot where I put them all… According to our calculations—meaning, my and Jenni’s (Josh’s mom, who was in on the plan from the beginning)—Jesse is supposed to be on his way home after 7 pm.
6. It’s 6:45 and everything is ready when the door opens. It’s Jesse. Crap. Luckily, when you walk into our apartment, you’re downstairs and can’t see the living room/dining area, where in his wildest dreams Jesse cannot imagine the marvelous surprises that await him.
7. Me: WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!
Jesse: Um, I live here?
Me: YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HOME YET. GET OUT!
Jesse: Where am I going to go?
Me: I DON’T KNOW! GO CALL YOUR MOM! GO TO THE LIBRARY!
Jesse: What? The library is closed.
Me: DON’T CARE. LEAVE. NOW. AND NEVER COME BACK. AT LEAST NOT FOR ANOTHER HALF HOUR. I’LL CALL YOU.
Jesse’s suspicions are confirmed: he married someone who’s a few pecans short of a fruitcake. But he leaves anyway.
Right after he leaves, everyone starts trickling in and wants to know where Jesse is. I have no idea where he is. Everyone just entertains themselves in the meantime. Our two-person space is suddenly filled with the buzzing conversations and laughter of twenty people—including two four-year-old boys who have discovered the giant exercise ball and are bouncing it up and down the hall, and an almost-two-year-old who has found my box of crayons and is eating the tips off the orange ones.
Jesse opens the door around 7:15 and probably feels really awkward. But happy.
|This gift is from Josh, who by the way, now aspires to making a living as a con artist.|
|Artwork by Lucas and Samuel, my new best friends.|
|The big pot. For lobsters. Or naughty children.|
|Thanks Joey and Katie! Jesse won't let me touch this toy.|
|I think I'm going to steal this and use it myself.|
I would have taken more pictures, but I was busy making balloon animals for the kids.