As Luck Would Have it...


Torrential downpours. Tornado alerts. Lightning. Thunder. Flood warnings. That about sums up your typical Texas rainy-day experience.

My cozy memories of growing up in Canada, spending what seemed as endless grey, rainy days curled up in front of a window with a good book are long gone. Here, I am strongly advised to stay clear of windows and seek immediate shelter as I gawk at hail stones the size of baseballs. It's been like this in Dallas for as long as I can remember. Rainy or sunny. Not much in between. Oh, we will get a little ice on occasion in winter, but it is usually gone by the time the sun comes out. So, when the weather report issued a "Severe Thunderstorm Warning" a couple of weeks ago, I barely raised an eyebrow.

Despite the suggestion of my "retired-firefighter-paramedic-husband-who-is-always-right", not to "drive in this shit", I chose to meet a girlfriend for lunch. Who's afraid of a little rain?
About ten miles from home, my 'inner voice' advised me to exit the highway until the rain died down.

As if.

Within minutes of ignoring my internal warning, my little car spun out of control, crashing into the concrete barrier separating me from the oncoming traffic.

My first thought was ..."I'm alive".
My second thought ..."Not for long".
The 70+ mph traffic was heading straight for me in the pouring rain.

Remembering the advice of  my "retired-firefighter-paramedic-husband-who-is-always-right", not to get out of a disabled vehicle on the highway, I stayed inside and called 911.
I consider myself to be very lucky. It could have been so much worse.

From this experience, I assume a healthier respect for my 'inner voice', Mother Nature and for my "retired-firefighter-paramedic-husband-who-is-always-right".

The Surprise Retirement Luau... The Party


The Ruse:
Our friends, "BobKat" were having a Luau and "yes" we had to go. On the day of the party, I had Mr. Something's third talented son, Brent keep him occupied.

As I drove forward, past the stream of parked cars, ignoring my husband's yammering advice on where I should park and why, the party-goers greeted us with raised glasses. He still didn't get it. I had to tell him, "Honey, this party is in your honor, look around at who's here." to which he responded "You've got to be shitting me" and put the car in reverse.

The Hosts
 "BobKat" - great friends, and as close to 'family' as we could ever ask for.
The Help 
Friends and family arrived 3 hours before the party started to cut fruit, blow up balloons, make salad, prepare appetizers, etc.
The Hula Girls 
 Arrived prior to the party start time for traditional Lei greeting of the guests, followed by a beautiful Hula performance.
Other Luau Activities: 
Trophies were awarded for "Best Lei 2012"
  as well as the short-lived Hula Hoop contest...
the winner ended up receiving his for being
 "Most Persistent".
The party lasted well into the night. 
The following morning, we received the ultimate compliment from our niece's FB post...
"I had tons of fun at my uncles retirement party! I'm only just leaving... And there are still a lot of people there... I thought old people were supposed to go to bed early!"
As if.

The Surprise Retirement Luau...The Prep


In April of this year, Mr Something announced that he would be retiring after thirty-six years with The Dallas Fire Department. Sounded like a great excuse for a party to me, but knowing him as well as I do, a safe assumption would be that he wouldn't be so keen on the idea.

A generous, caring and thoughtful man - I've often referred to him as "Burnt Toast Guy". You know the type. Everybody is gathered around in the kitchen for breakfast and sure enough, there are a few pieces of burnt toast. He's the guy who says with enthusiasm ... "Mmmmm. I like burnt toast!" as he snaps it up, slathering it with jam. He does this, not because he really likes burnt toast, but because he wants others to have the good stuff. That's just the kind of guy that he is.

And cheap. I would be remiss if I didn't include "cheap".

Once, while my sister was in town, we gave each other Indian-names (long story). He chose his own..."He-Who-Speaks-Like-Bird" (cheep).

While visiting Washington, DC,  he pounced at the opportunity to have his picture taken in front of "The Office of Thrift Supervision".

Although those that know him, tease him about his penny-pinching ways - I know for a fact that he would give away his last dollar - he would just have trouble spending it on himself.

Party planning would have to be under his radar.

Choosing the date and venue for the party was first priority.
Great place for a luau...don't you think?
Then it was time to make some difficult guest list decisions. Mr. Something's closest friends, fellow firefighters, their spouses and our immediate family were given the heads-up to save-the-date.

The rest was fun.

  • Invitations were from
  • Stamps were ordered from the US Postal Service online. Hawaiian Shirts. You can get any kind of stamp - who knew?
  •  Food: Traditional Hawaiian Barbequed Chicken, Rice and Macaroni salad. Pork Ribs were added (smoked by Mr. Something's talented son, Brian). A green salad and skewered fruit finished off the buffet.
  • Pina Colada Machine: The Pina Colada guy said that the machine should dispense 60 Pina Coladas. What he failed to say was...those would be very small drinks (4 oz). Our guests had 12 oz cups. Note to self...order more Pina Colada mix and/or supply smaller cups in the future. We ran out of Pina Coladas soon after the party started but had beer, wine, soft drinks and water as everything worked out OK.
  • Entertainment:  DJ vs. Hula Dancers - DJ vs. Hula Dancers  ...Definitely Hula Dancers. A quick Google search found a nearby Hula Dance troupe. Music responsibility was assigned to Mr. Something's eldest (and equally talented son), Ben
  •  Cake:  Maryann out-did herself.

 Stay tuned for the next installment of The Surprise Retirement Luau...The Party.


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