Happy Birthday To Shoe.

So last Saturday we had a party for the shoe thief. Back about a month ago, Shoe turned 40! We wanted to do something special for him, but between Steve feeling sick and one of Shoe’s friends being unavailable because of being on the other side of the world, we put off his party until we knew he could be home, and last weekend looked like the best time. I’ve been meaning to write about it all week, and apparently I’m just getting around to it now. I fail.

It was fun planning it. We had lots of help from a couple of Shoe’s friends in tracking down old buddies from Shoe’s past. Not everybody could make it, but everybody seemed to want to.

A few people came in from out of town and crashed at our house. Good times. Sadly, the one that was on the other side of the world, who we sort of jiggered party dates around for, caught the flu and couldn’t make it. But he says he’ll come down and he and Shoe can celebrate with us again on a smaller scale.

It was so hard keeping it a secret from Shoe while we were planning. A couple of us kept asking him really random questions like “Where does so and so live?” Shoe’s girlfriend? even looked on his Facebook for names I would feed her. We wanted to find their phone numbers, but had no way of doing it without some info. Meanwhile he’s starting to wonder why we’re spying, asking questions about where old friends live.

In the end it all came together pretty well, especially with the help of Shoe’s girlfriend? She made a giant carrot cake for the occasion. Go Shoe’s girlfriend?! She also got him to the restaurant where a bunch of us were waiting.

We had decided we should have this big ol’ party at the Woolwich Arms. We all love this place. I mean, it has awesome food, and we know how much Steve and Shoe like their Stone Hammer. Plus we’ve gone there a lot together and it’s easy for people to pop in and out. We called ahead and made sure they could take us, and they said there was a band coming, but they should have no problem with our group. Yea! So Shoe’s Girlfriend? told Shoe that she felt like going out, and the Wooly would be fun. Shoe agreed. I guess at the last second, he wanted to call us and invite us to drop by the Wooly later, but Shoe’s girlfriend? convinced him to wait and see. She had to do some fancy-dancin’!

Then he got there, and we were all quietly waiting. Then Steve started tapping and nudging him. I could hear Shoe saying over and over again, “Hey! The guy at the bar keeps hitting me!” Later, he told us he thought the dude at the bar who kept hitting him was having some kind of asthma attack or something, and he was trying to figure out exactly how he could save him. Poor Shoe.

Finally, Steve spun Shoe around and said something to him, and Shoe’s response was priceless! “Steve! What are you doing here?” I guess he thought Steve and I were going out to another place to belatedly celebrate my birthday. Then we all yelled “Surprise!”

He still had no idea who all was here. He thought we’d just told everybody in the bar to say surprise. How ’bout nope. When he figured it out, and realized that people had come from out of town, he was flabbergasted. It was great. He kept saying “How did you get a hold of this person, and that person? How…how?!”

It was so cool to watch old friends stroll over, have a chat with Shoe and sit and talk a while. When one guy showed up, we got the whole bar chanting “Kenny! Kenny! Kenny!” I think anyone who wasn’t part of our party must have thought we were weird. Sometimes we’d start singing, and according to Shoe’s Girlfriend? people were looking at us and laughing. Oh well, ya only turn 40 once. Get this. We were so loud that I think we were louder than the band! I never heard any band play. Oops.

I’m not sure what Trix thought of the evening. She did a very good job, but our buddy Anton kept somehow knocking over/spilling his beer! And, since he was right at the joint between two tables, it kept seeping down through the table and onto Trix. I had to take her home and give her a weird sponge bath because I don’t have the right nozzle to properly direct it at her.

I’d also like to say that Ben from the Wooly was friggin awesome. He took Shoe’s bill and split it between all of us so we only each had to pay a little extra. He even brought Shoe a shot and sang “The Old Black Rum” when he brought it. Ben is one cool dude.

When we’d been there until about 11:30 ish, we tried to call a cab and ran smack into the same problem that screwed us over in October. Luckily, we called in time to catch one of the last buses. So imagine 6 blind/visually impaired folks, some of whom were quite hammered, getting on the bus and trudging through the snow to our house. I think we gave the driver quite the serenade. There was a lot of calling of names to make sure we were all aboard the blind train. Much thanks to Shoe’s girlfriend? for helping lead some of us from the Wooly to the bus.

One of the funniest things happened when we got home. Steve, Shoe, and our buddies Anton and Tim headed upstairs while Barb and I took our pooches to pee. Then Barb and I came up, and couldn’t figure out why the door was still locked. Figuring that I had miscounted floors, we headed back towards the elevator to check. Just then, we heard the dudes coming out of the elevator. Whaaat? How come we managed to beat them to our floor after we took our dogs to pee when they were heading straight for the house?

Steve told us the elevator had taken *them* to the wrong floor, and they just got here. Then somebody said “Hey! Where’s Anton?”

Uh, what do you mean where’s Anton? Thank god we knew that everyone had made it safely to the building. That brought the panicpanicpanic factor down a tad. Steve said “he was in the elevator with us, where could he go?”

So, we split into 3. Barb and Tim went back to the house in case he phoned there, Steve and Shoe stood outside the elevator in case Anton popped out, and I went from floor to floor saying “Anton. Anton? Anton!”

I had gotten to the second floor when my cell phone rang. “Anton’s in the lobby!” Ok, off I go. The door opened, and there he was. This is the one time that we can be thankful for that elevator music they play in the lobby. When Anton heard it, he knew where he was.

The poor guy. I guess when the elevator opened at the correct floor, he didn’t hear Steve say “Ok everybody out.” He thought they were meeting up with Barb and I. So he stayed on and then the elevator took him back down and there was no pair of girls with dogs.

But once we got Anton up to our apartment, all was good. Shoe was so happy that someone did this for him, and that made all the planning and spying worth it. The party didn’t stop until 4 in the morning. You know it’s a good night when Shoe falls on his face while trying to put his shoes on to leave. And yes, they were the correct ones.

Ah lots of good memories will be attached to that night. Shoe even tried to follow through on his bet with Anton, but Anton wasn’t havin’ it. That was funny. It just made me happy to see Shoe so happy. Hope it was a good 40th, Shoe!

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