Oh, we had great plans for an incredible 50th birthday party for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World: Maui. An epic luau with kālua puaʻa (pig cooked underground). And The Rock with a bunch of half-naked Hawaiian dancers.
Sadly, the pandemic shot that plan in the head, buried it in a pile of garbage, then pooped on it.
So, as with most of 2020, it was time for plan B.
A ‘Something special’ plan B.
First up, I wanted The-Oldest to write a song, especially for her. It was his first commission. $50. (Though he said he’d do it for free, I thought it would be fun for his first paying gig to be for his mom.) He got to work on that right away.
Then, what else could I do to make her 50th special?
It hit me around July. If I couldn’t bring The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to the party, maybe I could bring the party to her. Virtually.
Being me, I researched options on how to do a video where everyone could wish her a happy birthday, but it wasn’t until I sent my first requests for videos that I found a good platform. See, I’m terrible at learning new things, being old and no longer the brightest bulb in the chandelier.
The idea of learning a video editing program was very daunting, so when someone suggested Vidhug, it seemed to do the trick – It was easy for people to upload, and this was vital since I knew some of the people would be like me, about as comfortable creating a video as James Cordon doing Tom Cruise’s stunts.
With the easy-peasy platform chosen, it was time to send out requests, but being me, I still worried something would get buggered up, so I started a month earlier than her birthday.
I sent out messages to her friends and family on Facebook. That was about 25 messages right there, but that was easy. I knew those people, I have them as friends as well (those who haven’t blocked me), and I knew they’d LOVE to help out.
But was that enough?
The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World has lots of friends. LOTS!
But how to find them all?
So I snuck onto her Facebook. She has 346 Facebook friends!
She had her library people that she loved, her PCB people, her TSI people, her high school friends, her elementary school friends, her book club friends, her exercise friends, my friends who seem to like her way more than they like me, and at least one friend who was a hobo who she thought needed a friend.
Some of them I knew from all her stories, but there were, like 20 Michelles, so how was I supposed to figure out how she knew them? See, nothing on Facebook helps organize your friends despite everyone who wants their friends in neat categories. Like me.
Ok, it might just be me, but whatever.
Then, I thought, well, I could message everyone and see what happens, but spamming 347 people would likely fail, so I sought help. I contacted a library person I knew, a super kind person who I’m not sure I can name, and another amazing woman who helped put together The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s high school reunion. Those two helped a ton, contacted whole groups on my behalf, and corralled the cats to contribute.
My quest had begun. Everything was going as I hoped. I would get tons of vidhugs, and it would be awesome, and they would all come in on time and I would…
Well, a ton of people sent out videos quickly, but with all that’s happening, quite a few didn’t. After two weeks, I had 52 out of 167 sent. Hmmm.
Some had probably got lost in FB junk since I had to blind message people with “hi, this is ****’s husband, and I’m stuck in Nigeria and need $100 to get my bank account, which has $20,000,000 in it. If you…”
But with 167 messages out there, I had to make a spreadsheet with who had replied and who hadn’t. Similar to a Santa list.
I bugged them like I was Russel Brand on cocaine.
Sure I got blocked by another 20 people, but whatever, I was on a mission!
Then it hit me as I filled out the spreadsheet, and consulted the family tree, not everyone was on Facebook!
And, worse, one of the most amazing people, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s Baba was in a home and they’d just gone back into lockdown, again!
How was I supposed to make a video of her if I couldn’t see her?
To all this stew of stress, I added my own personal brand of tasty stupidity – I’d decided to also make a video of why her being born made the world a better place. That meant I had to find where she’d stored all her pictures, then learn the one thing I vowed I wouldn’t have to learn – a video editing program.
Cool, right, but maybe, looking back, not super necessary.
But I was fixed on making this an amazing day.
Although I started out great, by me expanding and complexifying (gosh that IS a word) everything (something I may have done once or twice in my life) horrifically, it began to look like I was going to bugger this one up.
Was I on track to create the worst 50th birthday ever?