Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Best Birthday EVER.

Cabin Crew

So I recently turned 30 years old. What have I done with 30 short years of existence? Basically…not much. But that is a topic for another day.

This post is about the day I turned 30, the surprise birthday weekend that Tess secretly planned around the event, and the amazing friends who made the journey to Seattle to share in that awesome weekend.

The Overview
Tess had secretly planned an amazing surprise birthday weekend. One that sets the bar for future birthdays at an unattainable level. She contacted a bunch of our friends (from VT/Blacksburg/related and their significant others, along with some newfound friends), and invited them to a cabin/skiing weekend getaway.

I think she initially expected maybe a handful of friends to reply, but she underestimated how awesome a group of people she was dealing with.  We ended up with a group of 20 total people gathering together throughout the weekend from all over the country where they have scattered post-college: Blacksburg, Richmond, & Charlottesville, VA. Ann Arbor Michigan, Seattle and Vancouver.  It was an EPIC weekend to say the least.

The best part is I did not know ANYTHING about the surprise, except that I had to “be available” for the weekend, so that work couldn’t spill over. I did know that she was planning something, but there was no way to suspect the scope of what she had planned! Let’s just take a moment to consider the shear impossibility of keeping 18 visiting guests (13 of whom journeyed long distance) completely secret in today’s world of social media and hyper-connectedness. It surely took will power on the part of some to not share their vacation plans online. Major props to you all for keeping it under-wraps.

[Thanks to Erin (Henry) Nimitz for most of the pictures!]

The Surprise
It all started with a terribly stressful day of work, which made me so mad, I didn’t have time to even remember that it was my birthday. Tess said that we were getting dinner with our Seattle friends Matt & Arielle; a standard evening which I thought was perfectly normal, and since the day was so bad, all I cared about was getting some booze and unwinding. On the way out she mentioned that she left her ID at the Fat Hen (the restaurant at which she works). I still didn’t put it together, just giving into the small inconvenience to make a stop, realizing that she would need said ID to enjoy a drink with dinner.

When we got near to the Fat Hen, I became annoyed that she wouldn’t just illegally park for 1 minute so she could run in and grab her ID (still oblivious). When we drove past the side of the Fat Hen, I noted that the light was on, and wondered what special event might be going on (STILL NOT GETTING IT!). It was a very bad day and my brain wasn’t working, so when we got a legitimate parking spot, I thought maybe we were meeting at Delancy the fancy pizza place across the street. While walking towards the Fat Hen she grabbed my hand and said Happy Birthday. ONLY THEN did I realize that this was our destination, and assumed that there was the potential for a surprise (maybe a friend/couple flew in?).

The suprisers point of view, just prior to my arrival.

When I got to the door it was dark. I walked in to see a line of people emerging from the back. It was a surreal blur of familiar faces appearing out of the darkness. Lights! At this point my brain gave up on reality as I scanned the room, seeing one familiar face after another; people I love, but haven’t seen in a while, nor expected to see for a while. I mean it made NO sense, in that quick moment: these people don’t register in this place. My brain was saying: “Is this the Fat Hen?”. Yes. “Then why are all these Blacksburg people here.” I dunno.  “Did this place get teleported to the East Coast?” Unlikely. “Then all these people are HERE?!” Apparently. “Why are these people here?” It is my birthday?.  “Is this real life??.” Inconclusive.


It was all a blur.
Then I noticed even more people to my left, who popped up from behind the table! It was very surprising, surreal, and touching. It took about 30 mins for me to really get my bearings, but I still didn’t believe it was reality.



More Hugs

This sums up the surreal feeling.
After many hugs and greetings, we proceeded to feast on the epic family-style meal which was prepared for us, consisting of all my favorite dishes from the Fat Hen. I think it is safe to say that everyone was blown-away by the food. An insanely amazing meal.

The incredible menu for the night. Many thanks to the Fat Hen, and staff/(friends).

We followed that up with a homemade Heath Bar Cake made by a friend.
Yum! (if you have never had a 
heath bar cake, you haven’t lived.)

Tess thanks everyone for making the journey.

I thank Tess for making the plans and everyone for being there.

The Surprisers: The Surprise Party, party. 

I cannot think of better place to have held such an event, than at the Fat Hen. Thanks Again!

The Getaway
The next day we all traveled east into the Cascade mountain range for a weekend in our very own gigantic cabin outside of Leavenworth, WA, which served as our party mansion and jumping off point for skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Stevens Pass resort.

The Cabin
The Marianne

Epic table


Fire pit and hot tub.

Living room.


Home Theater


Cozy Cabin
We spent the weekend hanging out, catching up, reminiscing, getting to know new friends, playing games, partying, feasting, having a great time, enjoying our hot tub, fire pit, and in-home theater, having good ol’ fashion shenanigans, and doing our best to eat the massive amount of leftover food from the birthday feast.


Fish Bowl


Listening to Music


We put the home theater to good use and tested out the volume.



Steve fell off the chair.

Ugly Sweaters

Several takes in 1.

Erin is not impressed.

We were all to busy shreddin' to take any pictures on the slopes, but here is a picture of my thriftstore snowsuit.

One day we briefly stopped in to check out the nearby faux-Bavarian tourist town of Leavenworth.

Leavenworth, WA

Thanks Tess! Thanks Everyone!
I have never felt so touched or so loved in my life, as I did on the day I turned 30. It was a very welcome surprise for a day which I have assumed I would only loathe.  It was a wonderful weekend. I hope everyone enjoyed Seattle, Stevens Pass, Leavenworth, the cabin, skiing, and hanging out with good people, as much as I did.  I hope that we can do it all over again, sometime, somewhere.  Thanks everyone. I love you all!