Operation: Birthday a rip-roaring * success!
(*Renee: the "rip-roaring was for you, to continue our new tradition of using old and utterly gay phrases.)
But no, seriously, it was. Here are the highlights:
The Cake. After a mini-episode and panicked phone call to Renee, who assured me that it WAS okay to buy rather than bake a cake, especially since I was cooking dinner, I scouted out an amazing double-chocolate cake with raspberry filling and almonds, chocolate wafers and chocolate-covered strawberries on top. I knew I had done well when I literally had people from the next checkout lane coming over to admire it, but HIS reaction was even better. He was genuinely touched and actually took pictures of it. He said it was the best cake he had ever gotten. And yes, it tasted just as good as it looked.
Dinner. Thanks to Renee for the lasagna recipe. It turned out fantastic. (If anyone needs a good, pretty easy recipe, ask Renee.) He watched me, fascinated, as I made it (he's a good cook but had never attempted lasagna before) and even started to "backseat cook" ("That layer could use some more sauce, maybe"). It was fun. At one point I caught him gazing--yes, gazing--at me almost adoringly. It was so cute. But that doesn't even COMPARE to his reaction to...
The Present. (See previous posts for conversation regarding the actual present.) It wasn't delivered until yesterday afternoon around 4, so I was getting a bit nervous. I wrapped it and headed out. I was just GIDDY all evening, since I couldn't wait to give it to him. We agreed he'd open it while the lasagna was cooking. It was finally time, and I started to worry--maybe I had over-estimated the awesomeness of this present. Maybe he didn't like this artist as much as I thought he did. He started to open it and saw the back of the book first, which had one of his paintings on it--but he still didn't get what it was. He finished tearing off the paper, flipped it over....and oh my gosh, I wish you could have seen the reaction. His mouth dropped open, he kind of gasped, and he looked from the book, to me, to the book, to me a few times. Then he kind of said, "What did you DO? How did you...?" Then he came over and just gave me the longest hug. You could tell that he was genuinely touched and happy. It was truly one of the coolest moments of my life, watching that kind of reaction. It was so genuine and pure and just...HAPPY. When he was able to speak again (truly, it was a while--he sat down, looked through the pages, periodically looking up to say, "Jen, thank you so much. This is just awesome/amazing/sweet/wonderful"), he asked how in the world I thought of this. I just kind of shrugged and explained how I came about finding it.
Anyway, the rest of the night was great. We ate dinner on the balcony again with jazz playing. He had 2 bottles of champagne for the occasion, which we went through pretty quickly, LOL. We had the cake. We watched TV until midnight (officially his birthday). Then we went to bed, because hey, he ain't gettin' any younger. ;)
This morning, he made fruit salad and we had breakfast outside. He kind of poked around his fruit and said, sadly, "I'm old." "No you aren't, babe," I said supportively. "These days, 37 is nothing. Especially for guys." "Yeah, you know what they say," he replied. "37 is the new 4."
Oh my god, I laughed so hard.
So yes, this post in lengthy but seriously, that moment of him opening that present will stay with me forever. The look on his face--how truly touched and just shocked he was--was priceless. When he looked up at me, we had kind of a moment. A big one, actually.
Oh--and his parents DO know about me now. ;) Whoo hoo!