Monday, April 16, 2007

Vicky’s Birthday – What Did and Did Not happen…

“Thank you so much for joining us tonight.” Who is this strange man, I wondered, and why is he shaking my hand. Vicky and I were leaving La Vie En Rose.

… but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

This all started three weeks ago.

Actually, it started earlier.

As soon as I got hired, I knew I wanted to get Vicky something great for her birthday. But I had no idea what to get. She wanted a purse but… come on. In fact, the response (when I polled her friends) was a nearly unanimous “… come on!” That wasn’t going to happen. Vicky has more purses than she knows what to do with! And I’m tired of buying my wife stuff.

Let me rephrase. I’m tired of helping her acquire a bunch of useless shit that she doesn’t need. In fact, once I realized that it became much easier to shop for her birthday. Last year, I got her into a racing car (with Trish and Billie’s help). This year, I decided I’d get her a nice massage and a day at a spa.

… but… um… where?

The only spa I knew of was Burke Williams at The Block in Orange. So… I found the place!

Then, while driving home one day, we passed by La Vie En Rose, and Vicky said, “I’ve never been there. I’ve always wanted to go.” She didn’t realize I was still looking for a place to take her for dinner. So… I found the place!

The week that followed was a nightmare. I was on the phone non-stop with Burke Williams, as they changed the plans for Vicky’s day daily, making me have to change reservations with La Vie En Rose – daily! Finally, after more than a week passed, I’d had it! They had screwed up the schedule. They had screwed with my patience. They had even screwed up my credit card, causing my bank to think someone had stolen it – yep, another nightmare! I was done!

… and I rescheduled my reservations at La Vie En Rose… again. The woman on the phone knew I was trying to arrange a day for my wife though and, anyway, she said, “My boyfriend’s name is Ken. I like Kens.”

So, I told Vicky that we’d only be doing dinner – though I didn’t say where.

Which still left me without a gift.

I even tried putting a day together for her at Burke Williams online – no luck there, either!

But we live in southern California, a hedonist’s paradise! I could just make reservations at another spa… right….?

Ugh! More headaches!

Finally, I thought, “I should just pick Vicky’s favorite place!” So, I called Trish and asked her, “What’s Vicky’s favorite spa?”

And Trish said, “Burke Williams.”


But one problem I’d been having with putting together a whole day for Vicky was that she would be spending the whole day by herself, and she’d have nobody to share it with. Then, Trish mentioned that she’d been given a gift certificate. DING! IDEA!

So, I drove to the Burke Williams location and went inside.

Now, just to paint you the picture, there are three registers as you enter. On both sides, the walls are lined with “product”. On either side of the double-doors leading in, there’s a chair.

The woman at the far left register said to me, “Oh, just take a seat, sir. I’ll be with you in a minute.”

Okay, no problem. I sat down.

I saw her finish helping the people she was with… and start helping someone else.

That was it! I had had it! I got up, fuming, turned to leave, and heard, “Sir? I can help you?”

It was the woman to the far right…. If she hadn’t been so cute… anyway, I still had to get Vicky a present. So, I told her everything I’d been through and she apologized. Then, she looked up my name in her computer… and saw page after page of notes and how many times things had been screwed up. And then, she really apologized.

And she gave me a freebee to give to Vicky, in addition to the gift certificate I bought her.

I told Vicky that I’m done with surprises for a while. Next time, I’ll talk to Vicky and see what she wants. (NO PURSES!)

Thankfully, her surprise dinner went off without a hitch.

I asked Vicky to be ready at 6:15, although our reservations weren’t until 7:00, because that usually meant she’d be ready by 6:40… but she was ready at 6:15! Miracle of miracles!!!

I was a little worried about arriving at the restaurant early, but I figured we could drink until the table was ready.

It was ready when we arrived at 6:30, a lovely table in an alcove. Now, I knew the place would cost a small fortune but I wanted to give Vicky a lovely dinner. We had steamed mussels, and soup (lobster bisque for her, French onion for me), and beef tenderloin in black truffle sauce (me) and roasted lamb (Vicky). We drank champagne and an absolutely wonderful French pinot noir. For dessert, Vicky was given a lovely, little birthday pastry and we shared a Grand Marnier soufflé, and we ended the night with cappuccinos.

I only wished we could have gone dancing or something. Instead, we went home and shared a little bottle of Muscat. (That turned out to taste like ass… you can’t win ‘em all…)

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