Really?

I got an email last night. The title of which, made me cringe. The title of the email was the name of the dating service I used more than five years ago. This service still bothers me with phone calls and emails. They always sound excited and have a great opportunity and they must speak with me before the end of the day! The emails are usually about a speed dating event. I can’t imagine what they’d charge for something like that given their normal cost. So back to the email…

The email wasn’t from the service. It was from #15. Who was #15, you ask? Here’s what I wrote way back when…

15. Ray – nice guy and interesting. Persistent. I figured out that Indian men (East not Native) just don’t do it for me. Plus, it’s really hard to have a phone conversation because you’re missing the visual cues.

I find it quite interesting that I used the word persistent. If emailing someone after five years isn’t persistent, I don’t know what is. For the sake of privacy, I’ll just say that he hasn’t met anyone in the last five years and apparently I left quite an impression. He’s wondering if I’d be interested in giving him another shot.

I can tell that I used my “standard” break-up line. You’re a great guy and I had a nice time. But I just don’t see this going any further. Good luck in the future. I wish you well. Or some version very similar… He said that I told him that “he would do well,” but he hasn’t met anyone like me since. As a non-native speaker, I can see how he would misinterpret the standard break-up spiel. The sort of scary part of the email is that he thinks he still remembers my phone number. Let’s hope not.

To get an email like this is this strange mix of being flattered, creeped out and a little freaked out. Now that I’ve gotten the email, I sure hope I’ve never done that to someone. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that relationships are a two-way street. It’s got to go both ways for it to work. And if you’re on a one-way, it’s not happening. I’m not on the same street as #15. It’s unfortunate. But it is what it is. I’m not sure if I should respond or if it’s better to leave it be. I don’t have to decide that yet. So for now, I’ll just let it go.

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Surprise!

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A week ago I was so excited I could hardly sleep. It was the eve of the surprise party that we had been planning for months. I had just flown into Denver and was staying with my friends, Samantha and Richard. Way back in September, Sam was in my town for a conference we hatched this plan to throw a surprise party for Liza‘s 50th. Probably after a month or so, I called her husband to pitch the idea to him. He was game and was going to see what her family thought while they visited over Thanksgiving.

After Christmas is when we started to ramp up our plans. At first it was general plans. As we got closer to the date, it became more specific. Jim sent me recent pictures of Liza for making an invitation. I got addresses for people from her work, golf league, relatives and friends. Jim took care of all of the food. He can do that in his sleep. He used to manage the food and beverage stuff for huge sports stadiums, so a party for 40 people is nothing. Laura, Liza’s sister, took care of the decorations. Her brother, Jimmy, ordered the cake. We all had our parts and miraculously, we all were able to contribute what we do best. The hardest part was keeping Liza in the dark.

I talk to Liza several times per week. She usually calls me on her way home from work. So for months, I had been talking with Sam, Jim and Laura and had to act like I had no contact. I’m a terrible liar. Laura and I had a conversation about avoiding Liza during the week prior to the party. Jim and Sam weren’t so lucky. I don’t know how they did it. But they totally pulled it off.  All I had to do was make sure I didn’t slip up and say something that I wasn’t supposed to know. A few times I had to act like I was telling Jim something new when I had just spoken with him earlier in the day.

The day of the party, Sam dropped me off at the golf course (the party location). I know a lot of the people there and soon Jimmy and Laura arrived. Liza’s parents and Laura’s daughter also arrived with her. We had a fun afternoon getting ready and decorating for the party. We all thought we did a good job at keeping the secret but we couldn’t be sure until the party actually happened.

Since Jim had to work, the plan was for Sam and Liza to go to dinner. Jim called at the last-minute and asked Liza to drop the camera off at the course before they went to the restaurant. When they finally arrived at the course with the camera, Liza came in and saw that there was a party going on. Jim said that she should come out to the patio because she knew the person. She came through the door, we all yelled “Surprise!” and the rest was a priceless reaction.

She absolutely had no clue what we had been planning. It took her a little while to process that she was seeing people that she thought were in other locations. She thought that Laura would have been at her son’s baseball game (state tournament). Her parents would have been there too. I was a little further back in the crowd. It was totally worth all of the planning to see her reaction to realize that I was there too.

As it turned out, we had invited everyone whom she would have wanted to be there. She thought she was going to have a ho-hum 50th birthday that turned into a fabulous weekend surrounded by friends and family. I jokingly say that I’m the 4th child in her family. But I honestly feel like I’ve achieved that status. I’m a “mija” now. If you know anything about Mexican families, the term mija is used as a term of affection and I could totally feel my new mija status. Mi hija = my daughter, shortened to mija in Spanish.

What made this so much fun was being able to do something for someone else. All of us had a goal of making Liza feel special for her birthday. Making the effort to plan, fly in and have a party was something that we all enjoyed and had a blast carrying out. Wherever you hear the phrase “tis better to give that to receive” I’d have a tendency to agree. Whenever you put forth that much effort (or even just a little) to make someone feel special, it’s worth it.