Pandemic Birthday pt 2

Video editing…easy-peasy, right?

With two weeks left, I had a 5-page spreadsheet made (ok, it was handwritten), a great collection of vidhug videos, and a brilliant plan to make my own video of why The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World made everything better.

That was the good news.

What I didn’t have were the people NOT on facebook, about 50 videos from people who wanted to contribute, no clue how to use video editing software, and no way to reach the super important Baba so she could record a message.

It looked like I’d taken one step forward, then two back, slipped on some ice, banged my head, forgot my passwords, then pooped myself.

So I made a list. Bug people. Sneak into old-folk’s home. Get boyz to help me with video editing. Eat lots of donuts.

I knew I could get at least one of those things done, but the others…?

I hated bugging people, but I had to. Like Francis Ford Coppola obsessively making Apocalypse Now, I had to get it done! So, my apologies for harassing people a lot. Blame the box of donuts and 14 cups of coffee I had each day.

Then, I contacted people to get non-facebook ways of getting in touch like email addresses, telephone numbers or names of people who once knew someone who once talked to someone who once saw someone who once heard of someone who might have seen the missing person.

Slowly, but surely, the remaining vids began to come in, which made me so very grateful, and my non-Facebook friends began to reply. But Baba, yeah, that was going to be tough.

First of all, even talking to her might let the cat out of the bag. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World chats to her at least once a week, and I could just see Baba saying, oh, and that husband of yours came by and we did the most wonderful surprise video for your birthday.

But since she was on lockdown, how to even get that video?

Oh, I know the residents sneak out. Heck, I saw one making a run for it with her walker (if ‘run for it’ is the right term.) So getting Baba to sneak to the gate might be doable. I could also sneak in like some chubby ninja, but was that the right thing to do?

In the end, the problem was solved by a family member who said they could phone up the home and get THEM to take the video! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. He took on contacting them, bugging them, and reminding them, and in the end, I got a video of Baba wishing The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World a happy birthday.

I was super happy. The vidhug part of the birthday plan was working.

Now all I had do was figure out video editing and find photos of the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. The latter would have been easy in the old world, but with her home and always wondering what I was going, why I was looking in the closet, why I was asking about her photo box, well, it wasn’t easy.

At one point, while she was in the shower, I found which box had all the photos, took it downstairs into my dungeon, then replaced the box with the exact same box so she wouldn’t notice. Sadly, she sees everything, remembers where everything has been put, and instantly notices if something is out of place like a movie continuity supervisor.

But when I got those photos, I began to make my video of awesomeness.

So with a week left, I tried to learn video editing programs. First I tried Photoshop video, but that was like a monkey trying to learn the correct lyrics to The End of the World as We Know It.

So I tried out a few other programs, finally settling on Filmora. It wasn’t super fancy, but it was built for stupid people like me. Satisfied, I worked on adding pictures, special effects, and text to that video while more vidhugs rolled in.

2000 hours later (well, it SEEMED like 2000 hours), I had our personal video done and gave it over to The-Oldest to add a musical score. The last of the vidhug videos came in, and I was able to finish that project as well!

Things were looking up.

I had 86 vidhugs, complete with a Baba message. I had a 20-minute video with an amazing musical score. I had a 30-minute video from her mom filled with amazing pictures of her growing up. Hell, I had cake, I had flowers, I had a card, and The-Oldest had shaved.

We were good to go, right?

Not quite. I still needed something more. Something special for the actual event.

So the boys and I came up with a plan at the last moment. The-Youngest took his mom shopping on the day of her birthday (not shopping for her, you understand since that’s a bridge too far for him, but for some bike parts), while The-Oldest and I transformed our family room into a birthday-mega-theatre, complete with blackout curtains, purple balloons, and streamers.

And movie popcorn.

By the time she got home, we had done all we could.

Sure there were a few tears when she opened the cards. More tears as she listened to the song her son had written about her, and tears during the videos, but they were tears of happiness, of joy, of thankfulness.

But I cannot tell you how happy The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World was to see her birthday videos. To see all her friends and family was gold. To have them all wish her a happy birthday, made her cry. To listen to their stories, hear them sing, watch them form a human pyramid, or light a cake full of candles made her laugh and smile.

We’d done it. All of us, her friends, her family, and her boyz. We’d given her a great 50th!

So, thank you everyone for making The-Kindest-Loveliest-Prettiest-Smartest-Girl-in-the-World’s birthday so special!!!

I know how busy everyone is so I really, really appreciate all the time and effort taken to make and send her a video.

The best of times

So much love was shown that it’s kinda overwhelming, but it’s so awesome to see all the love she puts out into the world reflected back at her, strong and bright.

I’d like to share the video, but we wanted to get permission from everyone who contributed (a few already asked that we keep their message private), but once we have that all sorted out, we’ll send out a link.

In the meantime, thanks again for proving there is still so much good in the world.

Until the next blog, stay safe, stay healthy, and respect the new world.

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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