Fifty

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Since the invention of social media, I spend most my November 5ths giving out random Back to the Future facts, referencing an Engish insurrection, and thanking the hundreds of people who post birthday wishes to me. Honestly, I took a lot of pride to make sure I recognize each and every person who took the time to send me anything that suggests a well wish on my birthday. This year, I did not.

Last Friday, I turned Fifty. The big Five-Oh. The Half Century.

I shared my plans the last post along, but to suggest that it was just a little hockey game is to suggest I should have had the time to respond to all of you. Guess what … I didn’t.

The center point of the weekend was the hockey game between my long time favorite team New Jersey Devils vs the LA Kings, but we will get there.

Arguably, the party lasted closer to seventy-two hours, with very little downtime.

Somewhere around mid-day on Thursday, with the real chance that people might visit my house, I thought it was about time to actually clean in. You know, get the socks off the floor, wash the spilled wine off the walls, make the toilet look less like freckled granite and more like porcelain (and if you can figure out what that means, I’m sorry for the vision). My old friend from Kansas, Jeremy Phillips was due in that night to crash on the air bed, and I thought I better at least remove the ant bait traps that dumped their sticky goo on the floor. By mid-clean panic, my brother and sister-in-law called from the rougher neighborhood around LAX to let me know they made it in. Getting my first well wish from Laura Sherman, I celebrated with the most famous meal we ever shared … deep-fried Chinese take-out. 10 PM comes along, and I race the crazies across the city to LAX and pick up Jeremy who, ignoring the fact his friend was turning into an old man that goes to bed early, booked an 11 PM arrival. We raced back to the house, cracked open a beer, and said goodbye to my forties. For the rest of the next couple of days, I was joined with Jeremy at every step.

Sleeping in a little, we woke to my new age on Friday. Brunch was in order, so we dragged ourselves down to Montrose’s Black Cow – the best brunch place in our neighborhood. Joining us was my brother & sister-in-law, Eric Castillo, Lyle Barner, Josh Denson, and the party crasher Lauren Denson. Coffee, Montrose Cristo, and more coffee later; the birthday was underway.

An errand had to be run. With the rest of my weekend, we had to get Auggie the Doggie into his spa. It was a big day for him too, nine years prior I brought him home and into my life (where he promptly pooped the couch). Weirdly, he was well behaved … I mean, weirdly!! We cruised over to Montrose, dropped him off, and left him to play.

If you hadn’t heard me rant, November 5th is also referenced in the movie Back to the Future. The Flux Capacitor,that which makes time travel possible, was invented on November 5th, 1955 by Doc Brown. As it turns out, Doc Brown’s house in the movie was given the exterior shots of the Gamble House in Pasadena. So we stopped off, and I had my picture taken with my Back to the Future 1.21 Gigawatts jersey on.

We stopped at Trader Joe’s … because when in Rome … and picked up the essentials we would need the rest of the day. Beer and Peanut butter cups (with Dark Chocolate). It was 1PM and time to start day drinking. Brother and Sister-in-law stopped by. Micheal Gore stopped by. The Densons stopped by. Then Lyle and Tipti Barner arrived.

Now was the time for presents. My parents sent a symbolic book of coins and paper. My brother got me a ticket from the game when the NJ Devils last lifted the Stanley Cup in 2003. Then my JPL Friends brought out the big guns. They pitched in and got me an NJ Devils Jersey, and on the back, the name was NELSON and number 50. Even though I had planned to wear my Brodeur jersey, I was so taken aback by the new one, that I couldn’t not wear it. Literally on the edge of tears.

I had rented a suite for the hockey game. Including the day drinkers and brunch bunch, along came Dustin Tagawa (who was forced to wear the Brodeur jersey), Derek Garcia, Amanda & Alex Donner (aka “the Donner Party”), Derek Obergon, and a man only known as “Drummer Boy.” We had BBQ, beer, cake, beer, overtime, beer, and a Devils Lost; but it was still fun.

We post-gamed back at my house and rang into my 50+1 before crashing out.

Saturday, it was an early morning. We had to get Jeremy home, so an early run to LAX started the day.

Now comes the next phase of the weekend. I had to make the 3-plus hour run to Fresno to judge a band competition at Clovis High School. Of course, I was pretty tired from the day before, but nothing gets my energy back like judging a marching band show. What a show too, there were so many great bands performing at high levels and bringing their best. One group in particular absolutely blew me away, and given the chance I told their director their kids gave me one of the best birthday presents of the weekend.

I got into the car this morning way too early. Daylight savings didn’t hit the hotel’s wake-up call network, and hitting the road to get home just in time for the early football games got me home an hour earlier. Sprung the pup from the spa, got us home and here we are.

And I am tired.

Not just because I am fifty, but because it’s been a long long weekend.

From this point, I am going to order some Buffalo Wild Wings, another classic Laura Sherman meal. She couldn’t make it here for this weekend, so I am dragging her here in spirit.

Plus there is leftover day drink beer.

Plus there is a football game.

Did I mention I am tired.

If I didn’t get to thank you all for all your well wishes, take this as my thanks. It’s weekends like this that I am reminded how lucky I am to have so many people in my life, and it reminds me that I need to stick around for another fifty years.