Monday, December 22, 2008

Alex's 2nd Birthday




With Christmas 2006 over, it was only a two day respite until the next big event: Alex’s 2nd birthday. The actual day of his birthday was a work day for me, and I struggled with what to do for his birthday for weeks. I wanted his second birthday party to be very special. He was too little for a skating party, too young for an arcade party, my house was a wreck after Christmas just days earlier, and I didn’t have the time or energy to clean up for a big party at home, and I’m too cheap to rent out O2B Kids for the day, so I was unsure what to plan.

I decided to make it a day at the park, in spite of the weatherman’s week-long prediction for cold and rain. And a good call it was, because the day turned out to be perfect: cool, but not cold....not cloudy, and not hot. Just a beautiful, breezy, mild winter day.

I had ordered his cake a few days before; rather, I had sent hubby/daddy to the bakery to order the cake. I wanted a “Bob the Builder” cake for Alex, to represent his new and passionate devotion to all things construction equipment. Over the last few months, he became fascinated (hog wild, in other words) with dump trucks, bull dozers, back hoes, bobcats, road graters, crane trucks, front end loaders, you name it. If it moved, and better yet, came in contact with DIRT, then he was crazy for it. So a lot of his Christmas presents just days before were “Bob the Builder” videos and toys.

So off Pete goes to the bakery and orders the cake. We assume it’s a done deal. The morning of the party, Alex comes with me to the park to set up for the party, and hubby goes to pick up the pizza we’re serving for lunch, and the ice cream and birthday cake for dessert. He gets to the bakery and gives our name. The following is what took place:

Bakery employee: Um, did you place that order, sir?
Pete: Yes, I did, about 4 days ago.

BE: Could it have been under any other name?

Pete: No....try maybe our first names....Pete? Jamaica? Alex?

BE: Sir, I just don’t find your order in the book.

Pete: Well, how about just getting me the cake. It’s the “Bob the Builder” cake.

BE: (after looking) Sir, we don’t have a “Bob the Builder” cake today.

Pete: What do you mean, you don’t have one? I ordered it. Four days ago.

BE: Sir, I apologize, I just don’t know what to tell you. We don’t have a “Bob the Builder” cake for pick up today, or any order under your name. Are you sure you placed the order here with us?

Pete: Yes, of course, I’m sure. I told you, four days ago.

BE: Well, did you place it over the phone?

Pete: No, I came in and ordered it.

BE: Who did you talk to?

Pete: Well, I don’t know her name, but it was a woman, and she told me it was she herself that would be decorating the cake.

BE: Well, I can’t explain what happened, but it appears she simply did not write down the order, and did not decorate the cake.

Pete: Please tell me you are kidding.

BE: No, sir, I’m not.

Pete: But my son’s party starts in half an hour!

BE: I’m very sorry sir.

Pete: Sorry doesn’t help.....do you know my wife? What am I going to do?

BE: Well, we have plenty of cakes to choose from.

Pete: But, you have no “Bob the Builder” cakes.

BE: Well, we have a nice Elmo cake here.

Pete: Alex doesn’t care about Elmo!

BE: Well, how about a dinosaur cake?

Pete: Alex isn’t into dinosaurs! I need that birthday cake!

BE: Well, does it have to be a “Bob the Builder” cake?

Pete: Do you know my wife? She wants a “Bob the Builder” cake for our son, she sent me four days ago for a “Bob the Builder” cake, and THE EARTH WILL OPEN UP AND SWALLOW ME WHOLE, THE SKIES WILL RAIN FIRE, OCEANS WILL FLOOD ALL THE LAND, AND SHE’LL PROBABLY KICK ME IN THE NUTS if I don’t show up with a “Bob the Builder” cake for our son’s birthday party that starts in 20 minutes!

BE: Sir, I’m sorry.

Pete: Can’t you make me a “Bob the Builder” cake, like, right now?

BE: Sir, there is only one cake decorator in this bakery, and she’s not in today...she called in sick.

Pete: Can’t you make it.....please?

BE: I don’t know how...it’s a pretty precise talent, which I don’t have. I can bake you some nice loaves of bread if you want some?

Pete: Bread? Are you nuts? Did I mention what my wife is going to do with my nuts if I don’t show up with the cake she wanted for our son’s birthday party? I spent a week in the hospital the day after my son’s birthday last year, and I don’t want to do it again this year. Please, you gotta do something!

BE: OK...let me see. Your son likes building things, I take it.

Pete: Yes.

BE: OK, how about we do this? Go to the toy aisle and get me 4 small Matchbox trucks....whatever you think your son would like.

Pete: OK.

Pete returned about 15 minutes later, and this bakery employee, who was an awkward, scared, very young kid in fact, was getting increasingly nervous as the conversation went on, ended up saving the day, as well as Pete’s nuts. He took a chocolate cake, mounded some more chocolate frosting on top to make it look like a big pile of dirt, added some thin, wispy chocolate shavings on the top of that, and then placed the 4, tiny, toy-sized bulldozers Pete had found in the toy aisle on each of the four corners of the cake, and had written “Happy Birthday, ALEX” in the middle with red icing. TAA-DAA!

So hubby arrives, albeit about 20 minutes late for the party, with pizza, cake and ice cream. He hurriedly tells me what happened and waits to see my reaction. Now, I admit I can be a tad exacting and precise (OK, anal-retentive, Type-A, OCD, you name it), but I don’t really think I would have actually kicked him in the nuts (at least, not in front of witnesses, geesh). The cake was fine, and even more of a hit because of the story behind it.

The whole party turned out to be a wonderful success. Lots of family came, lots of friends with little kids, someone brought their gentle, sweet dog. The kids played for about an hour on the playground, exhausting themselves. Then it was time for pizza and soda and chips. Then on to the masterpiece: the cake! Alex had a great time, the weather cooperated, the food and cake was great, the love shown to my firstborn was overwhelming. The kids all went home partied and played out, which made for a nice afternoon for all the parents who came: long naps!

And many, many thanks to the bakery employee who handled a very tough, potentially disasterous situation with great finesse and caring and quick thinking.

What a great day, and a great end to the year 2006. We kept it quiet on New Year’s Eve, as we almost always do. So we caught a breather before 2007 began....and what a year it would turn out to be!

1 comment:

Karen L. said...

I bet the next time Pete ordered a cake for you he had the bakery workers give him a ticket signed in blood ... lol. Well the party was a success and thats all that matters!