Birthday Mania Part 1- The Daily Spotlight for 10/28

Well I’m back…and I’m better than ever…

Ok I won’t give you my rendition of Eric Bischoff’s 2003 WWE theme but it really is great to be back with all of you on  I apologize for the brief hiatus but this has literally been one of the craziest and most fun months of my recent years.  For one, I’m now 30 which is scary as all hell but I will say that my loved ones totally stepped it up and really knocked it out of the park to make my birthday one for the ages.  I’ll be completey honest I was going through a stage where I was walking around with a massive chip on my shoulder, some wouldn’t have even been wrong to say that I had become quite the curmudgeon from time to time over the past year or so.  Thus, when my brithday was approaching this year I really didn’t want to acknowledge it.  Frankly, I contemplated changing my bday date on Facebook just so I wouldn’t need to go through all that trouble of trying to figure out who all of the people were who replied with the “Happy Birthday” formalized comment that facebook allows you to auto enter or “reply 1” to say happy birthday on the facebook app.  This was certainly not the way that I had always been about my birthday as for years I used to set up a week’s worth of different events from a pre party, to a family party to a best friends dinner leading up to a huge drunken blowoff that often ended with my friends and I being asked to leave the beer gardens, sometimes not even asked.  But this year birthday mania ceased to exist.
It all started when my buddy Joe had a 30th birthday party that his girlfriend and mother put together for him back in September.  There was a big barbecue filled with all of his closest friends and family.  He had family members at every turn, 30 year old decorations hung up all over the place, a table full of his closest childhood friends, a table full of his friends he had met through his wife and…me! I’ve always been a huge fan of nostalgia and this party was full of it.  It was also the first time that I ever considered doing something for my 30th.
Over the next week or two I tried to coordinate schedules and put feelers out there to people seeing if they’d come or where I could even have an event.  If I’m being completely honest, it was pretty darn stressful.  I realized pretty quickly that times had changed from the days where you’d be able to plan an event at a moment’s notice and everyone would be ready to party on a Friday afternoon.  Many of my friends and family moved far away and the one’s around here had families now or demanding jobs that just would not allow for them to be able to come hang out, not even for a 30th birthday (the mantra of avoid excuses had been all for naught!).  I eventually gave up figuring that it wasn’t worth it to have the event and understanding fully why joe’s party was planned by his mother and wife.
The week of my birthday I had made a plan with Eri, my mom, sister and Eri’s brother Deej to head on out to Aunt Bella’s for my birthday.  The place has always been a family favorite  it’s always good to get away with the family.  I knew this was going to be a tough year as it was also the first birthday without my father.  Each year I would always look forward to his midnight calls and his reflection about how old he and i were getting as we would both groan.  When the clock struck 12 at midnight, my phone exploded with text messages and phone calls from friends and family the like (many of whom did not even know of the tradition) as my mom and sister brought out a cake.  From there my phone was non stop as I was able to chat with people all day long and catch up with folks who called for my birthday.  Many know I’m an old school guy who appreciates a good phone call and this was just great.  When I got to work my boss was waiting there with a bag of sour patch kids ( my fav) and for the first time ever social media really came through.  I’ve been hard on the Facebook birthday shout out as it’s very impersonal and if someone sent me a birthday shoutout, I’d honestly not even read them all.  I’d even grown tired of the generic “thank you all for the birthday wishes” mandatory post that has to go out at the end of the day. But this year was different.  My buddies Steve, James, LP and, of course, Eri put out just incredible social media tributes and I got a lot of messages from people I had not seen in a long time but always wanted to reconnect with (one of which was a guy I knew in college, Mike, who served our country for many years and I always enjoyed his workout tips that he’d post for years as they really helped me when I dropped some 60 pounds back in 2008.  He left me a message and I was able to thank him for service, something that I felt good doing and it was something I wanted to do for a long time).  Dinner was also outstanding as we know the folks at Aunt Bellas well and they seemed as excited for my bday as I was quickly becoming. We had a great meal where I remember really picking mom’s brain about how much she remembered from giving birth to yours truly some 30 years ago.  When we got back home Mom revealed that for my birthday she had booked a trip for the five of us to go away for a weekend to the camelback lodge in the Poconos which longtime readers know I’ve always been fond of.  It was just an incredible day that reinvigorated my birthday spirit (I feel like Walter Hobbs after a month with Buddy The Elf).  So much so….
That I decided when I woke up Friday morning that, hell, with exactly one day of notice I would try to put together a last-minute birthday party for myself!  This was going to be like old times as I was going to invite all of my buddies and we were going to drink until they sent us home!  Not only that but I was going to ask that all of my friends converge out in Poughkeepsie (about 30 miles from me)! For about a year I had heard about this place called the Brickhouse Brewery and so due to my love of a good craft beer and my disregard for anyone’s convenience, we were on our way!   This was going to be awesome…Birthday Mania was truly running wild brother!  There was nothing that would slow me down baybay!! Well, not exactly…
To be continued tomorrow