Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Best Birthday-warming Barbecue!

I don't remember when I began toying with the idea of having an actual housewarming party, but I wanted to have something to look forward to, and a sort of goal that we could work toward, with all that we'd been doing.  Plus, we already started having some people over a few times.  I also figured that my 30th birthday would fall perfectly on the 3-month mark of move-in, so it seemed like good timing for hosting a big fat celebration.

There are a few birthday parties that I remember in my life.  The earliest one was probably my fifth birthday.  Mom and Dad threw me a birthday party at Discovery Zoom (like a Chuck E. Cheese sort of place) and invited my whole kindergarten class from Montessori School.  I don't really remember any of the kids, but I definitely remember the awesome handmade pinata and how special I felt that day.  I don't remember having another one until my 18th, which was planned in collaboration with two other girls in my high school class who also had October birthdays.  We had a gathering at my apartment-style student housing at UCI - it was pretty major, because I was finally out of the house and living life as an "adult."  I got my first big-ticket gift: an iPod Nano, which my friends had all chipped in for.  The next big one after that was my rather ratchet 21st, when I tried to take 21 shots of the worst alcohol that I proudly purchased myself at the Ralph's by USC.  The night ended poorly, I think the last thing I remember was falling into the cardboard box that we had designated for recycling.  Onto the next chapter of my life - 25.  I was living with Wes and happily engaged by this time, and we squeezed at least ten people into our tiny apartment kitchen and rolled fresh pasta in many shapes and sizes!  Then, we had a carbalicious time tasting them all.  Since I am finally neither renting a place nor interested in getting drunk for the first time since I graduated high school, it is about damn time to throw the biggest and most sophisticated party in the history of me.

At first, Wes was a little hesitant of this ambitious undertaking, but I think he was 100% in when he realized that this meant that he could buy the smoker of his dreams and perfect his pitmaster skills.  Literally a few days after the decision was made, he reported to me that he found someone who was selling the smoker brand-new on OfferUp for an amazing price.  This does tend to happen with Wes.  He sets his heart on something, and then he finds a deal almost instantaneously... anyway, he borrows my car and drives away.  He comes home with the perfect little workhorse of a smoker that it is: the Traeger Timberline 850.  By the end of the day, it was all set up and standing under our tree in all of its glory.

Anyway, we decided to invite about a hundred people to our house.  We don't know how it happened, but the guest list just kept adding up.  It was pretty fun to see the RSVP's roll in.  Then, we realized what we had done... cooking all of the food didn't scare us as much as having to buy tons of folding tables and chairs.  And trash cans.  And a huge ice chest.  Tablecloths.  Lawn games.  Etc.  Did we even have enough space in the refrigerator?  Hmm...

Luckily, our good friends who have been throwing parties for a while lent us their tables and chairs, and I thought about buying picnic blankets as an alternative option.  While planning out our menu, we completed projects and realized some plans that we had always envisioned for the house.  Those included a very large painting for the living room that I had to literally take entire Saturdays standing in front of the easel, a side table that Wes built out of our tree slab wedding cake stand, a live edge coffee table that Wes built from a reclaimed tree slab that we had been saving for years, the gallery wall in the hallway of travel photos, the collage of collectibles from trips, painted corn hole boards, and certain living room statement pieces.  We definitely felt the urgency to decorate when we put the housewarming party on the map, but it was a fun and exciting sort of urgency.