Erin Turns Thirty (305th new thing).

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friend Erin turned thirty in December, but because of crazy schedules and a hectic life, she neglected to go all out in celebration. Her husband Tyler made up for it on Day Three Hundred Five when he arranged a surprise post-birthday dinner for Erin at South City Kitchen. For the first time, I ate at the restaurant and yelled, “surprise!” with everyone else as Erin walked into our upstairs alcove.

I almost didn’t make the meal after suffering from a crippling stomach bug all day. But I didn’t want to miss out on one of my oldest and dearest friend’s 30th, so I downed some over the counter medicine and headed across town.

Tyler managed to put together one of the most organized surprise parties I have seen. With a fixed menu selection and open bar, he had catered to everyone’s dietary and alcoholic desires. Being one of the first to arrive, I grabbed a seat at the end of a table and looked over the food offerings for the fete. Fried Chicken, Shrimp and Grits, Filet Mignon…I cursed my weak stomach for not being able to labor through the pains of a virus.

The menu of the evening

After a short time, the two tables filled with Erin’s friends and coworkers, and eventually Erin and Tyler arrived. My eyes watered as we cheered her arrival. She looked so surprised, although she did in fact have an inkling, seeing one of her fellow Zoo employee’s car parked behind the building.

After Erin took her seat, the food began to arrive. I tried a touch of each appetizer, and vowed to return to taste the rich starters in full once I felt better. I finished a salad and ended up taking the Shrimp and Grits to go, which Tyler and Erin fully endorsed, although I thought myself a little tacky. But at least I could share the experience with Patrick the next day as he ate my leftovers, right?

I wistfully said my goodbyes, wishing I could have stayed for the duration of the party. Tyler did a great job at “elegant surprise thirtieth,” and Erin was a radiant recipient. I was glad I was able to share in the day, even if only for a little while.

Softball Ringer (184th new thing).

October 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

I got an email from my friend Tyler saying his new softball team was short of ladies, and he wondered if I could fill in that evening. I didn’t have anything planned, especially not something new, so I responded with an enthusiastic, “Sure!” And then I remembered that I had acted as a fill-in lady once before, for Andre’s Starbucks’ softball team. But this time we played in Brookhaven, and I peed in the woods, so have your pick of Day One Hundred Eighty-Four’s new activity.

I walked. And scored. Winning.

I arrived with a full bladder and a pair of cleats. Erin’s coworker Danny (who saw HP6b with us) was in charge of the team and was busy with the line-up. He asked another lady fill in what she liked to play. “I can do second base or outfield, that’s what I usually play.” OMG. She stole my line! That was going to be my response. I was probably going to end up at catcher.

Then I remembered I did not pay to play on this team, I did not know most of these people, and like anyone we recruit as a fill-in, you play where you’re needed. Which just so happened to be at catcher.

I played my position well enough, stopping most of the balls and covering home a few times. I never realized how scary standing behind the plate can be. Not only is a ball being lobbed at you from twenty feet away an average of three times per hitter, but there’s also a bat being swung erratically, near enough to your nose to cause unconscious wincing. And the umpire is hiding right behind you, so no running away. Fortunately the pitches were pretty accurate, but I still found myself missing the large ball on its bounce over the plate. No one wants to step any closer to the batter and his giant metal club, even to stop a ball.

We won, and would have without me. I did learn an important lesson. Catching in softball isn’t nearly as easy as it may look. I have so much more respect for catchers. And for ringers.

Day Nine. Green Beer.

March 22, 2011 § 4 Comments

Day Nine was St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve never been a big celebrator of this holiday, so figured I could make my task St. Paddy related. I would drink green beer.

The only problem with this was finding a bar that actually served green beer. I knew I could go to one of the few Irish pubs around, but being smushed in with a bunch of Guinness-swilling drunks didn’t sound very appealing. I had planned to meet my friends Erin (who has a very Irish name) and Tyler for a drink. We decided on the Midway in East Atlanta. Not knowing if they would have food coloring for their booze, I brought my own. Better safe than sorry?

Turns out, they did not dye their beer. As the waitress explained, the Midway is a very organic eco-conscious bar, and the organic green food coloring is very expensive. Whatever; that’s why I brought my own. I didn’t know how many drops of the coloring to add to the Ommegang Hennepin (chosen for its lighter color so we could see the green). I’m pretty sure I overestimated because not only was the liquid a very dark forest green, but it also tasted a little chemically. Oh, if only my food dye was organic!

Green Tongue

So yes, the beer did stain my tongue. And after drinking about 3/4 of it I changed my order to a Guinness. It was much more fitting to the holiday, and better tasting. I also brought my tea cozy/hat from day five in case Erin and Tyler opted out of the green attire. I even got Patrick to pose for a picture. Sort of.

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