.Week 16, August 9th-15th is the beginning of the end for us. There’s just one more treatment left before surgery at the end of September.
This is the time Trish is most fatigued, so it takes extra fun stuff to keep her spirits high.
We need to turn Cancerpalooza up to 11. So, in addition to the usual fun stuff, we have the greatest surprise ever coming up this Friday.
There’s not a chance in hell that she knows she’ll be re-enacting cancer surgery as a crazy doctor in front of an huge audience of friends. Cancerpalooza is awesome.
Q-street and Central
Somehow, under our Broadway musical radar, a puppet show called Avenue Q, won the Tony for best show in 2003.
What were we doing in 2003? Neither of us had heard of it. Maybe we weren’t the only ones because it wasn’t that hard to get good seats for tonights (August 6th) performance at the Shakespeare Theater downtown.
Before the show we grab a quick bite at Michel Richard’s Central restaurant. It was only a few weeks ago that we tasted the luxury of Citronelle, his most famous eaterie. Central is designed to be affordable, faster, but still provide great food.
It is much less expensive, but we weren’t amazed. Her roast chicken was just okay, and my steak tartare was pre-mixed and too mustardy for my taste. The service was fine, just normal. Can a top chef go down-market and still satisfy people? Expectations are so high that I think it’s difficult.
Avenue Q is a snarky ‘finding yourself’ musical about young people in New York City. It uses muppets and is stylized like Sesame Street.
We laugh a lot, which is what we pay for, and songs like “The Internet is for Porn” and “There’s a fine line between love and a waste of time” are memorable.
It’s nearly the same show we saw in Philadelphia.
Is Komi the best restaurant in DC?
According to Washingtonian Magazine and the Washington Post, Komi is the top restaurant in D.C. It’s not the kind of place you do before a movie or show, because it’s a chef’s-menu, multi-course, experience that is designed to be slowly savored.
The rain pours heavily, a common experience this August, and I barely make it from my office to Komi without getting drenched. Inside Trish is already there looking beautiful. Trish tries to take a picture of the food, but they (very nicely) tell her that pictures inside the restaurant are not allowed. (oohhh-kaaayy) The illicit picture of raw scallop two-ways is below.
The food is indeed good, greek-inspired, modern, local cuisine. The suckling pig final entree is mouth watering. Some of the greek deconstructions (baklava, spanikopita) are fun, but this doesn’t end up on our top-five from the summer. I would say Komi is great, but not the best.
Hiding food from Trishthis recipe – add corn, cumin, no corn chips, – which uses french techniques and results in a great chili)
I could make the Asian vinaigrette for the veggie salad ahead of time inconspicuously. But the 40 moroccan tagine chicken thighs (use less cinnamon) with preserved lemon were harder to hide. I had to store stuff in my neighbors refigerator.
The rice and rattatouille would all have to be last minute. The refigerator is bursting with food, some of which Trish innocently asks to eat. “Uh, sure, you can have a little of the four gallons of chili”
If you were following our adventure in June you will remember we had a fantastic surprise party in New York City early on in the summer with our long-time, beloved friends from Columbia J-school and New York City.
This one will be bigger, but even harder to disguise because it’s being held in our house. AND I’M FREAKING OUT!
But mid-August is a tough time to throw a party, everyone is on vacation. So I patiently crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. LOL, right. I impatiently re-sent the e-vite a dozen times to the lazy ones that didn’t respond. I will HUNT YOU DOWN people!
I’m determined to make this a blow-out, hilarious, party that we all will remember forever.
A week of preparation
The week of perpetration begins with my car-filling trip to Costco, Sunday. I packed and pushed two giant carts up and down the busy asiles and twice, was asked by workers, where my wife was. WTF? Can a thin man not buy $800 of food at Costco by himself? I’m outraged at these female chauvinists.
It’s Monday, and in between my concealed cooking, I was glued to my laptop, sending out task lists, making spreadsheets, and handling at least a hundred emails. This party is easily the most complicated thing I’ve done this summer and I really feel the pressure. Luckily some of Trish’s closest friends, Randi, Kristen, Jen, Amy, Allison, Betty and Kasey are helping.
It’s only Wednesday and I have 48 hours left, cooking like crazy, trying to put together decorations, party favors, party games and special events that will make this hilarious. Thank you to anyone that helped me keep my cool and laugh.
Endless boxes come to the house. Boobypens, tittygum, fakeboobs and more fake boobs, a boob trophy, booby balloons a boob inspector badge, 200 glowsticks that say “I survived Cancerpalooza” and fake blood. I guess in Trish’s chemo-haze, she doesn’t pay too much attention to the parade of cardboard that arrives at the door.
The plan to set up the surprise begins Wednesday when I casually drop that Amy and Allison want to do something with Trish on Friday – maybe drinks and a movie. I’ve been planning and scheduling most of Trish’s life for the past few months, so it’s not unusual to arrange something with friends. I offer to have them over for dinner too, so they have a reason to come up to the house with her.
As she goes out the door, I have to encourage Trish to dress-up a little. “Why, it’s just a movie?” she says. “Yeah, but the girls want a sexy girls night out, so put on a skirt and some wedges” I know she won’t want to be at the party dressed in the pajamas she was going to wear.
300 minutes to surprise
Cooking like a madman, the first few hours go by quickly. Then the help arrives. Randi, Kristen and Betty set up the decorations, chairs and finish the cooking with me. There are boob toys and props everywhere.
This is the danger zone for spoiling it because someone might come to the door at the same time as Trish arrives. I sent out multiple, explicit warnings to people that they should NOT arrive between 7:15 and 7:45 – before or after is okay. But people make mistakes, so I’m getting nervous.
In Amy’s car, Trish worries that I’m not ready for Allison and Amy to come over for dinner. She’s completely clueless about what’s going to happen.
I see their car pull up and silence the room for the big surprise. It’s not often in your life that you get to participate in such a perfect surprise. Seconds seem like minutes as we wait in suspense.
SURPRISE! Trish is completely floored as she walks in the door. She had no idea that there was a party for her tonight. She needs the support of the wall to recover from the shock and hugs everyone in a gleeful daze.
Mission accomplished. I know that cancer hates the kind of jubilient joy Trish just got form 75 of her friends.
Pin the wig on Trish
The party is just getting underway…
Buttercream cancer surgery
Somewhere along the way, my brain had this idea that Trish would cut out a piece of the layer cake like a lumpectomy and save the boobies. A labcoat labled “Dr. Tits”, fake blood, and an electric knife completed the prop list.
Trish plays it up perfectly, cutting out the cancer and smashing it to bits before flinging the cake and buttercream at me and the other party guests. I squirt her with blood for extra effect and we all sign the lab coat as a memento (in case she forgets this somehow.)
The glowstick blender
Inspired by this greatest video on the interweb, my original idea also includes blending the smashed cancer lump with glowsticks in a radioactive puree and flush it down the toilet.
So now I need a new blender and I am determined to buy one that will cut glowsticks. Betty has pointed out a combustion engine blender, but I’m pretty sure that would be problematic to use indoors. I’m trying to decide between blend-tek and vitamix.
I will blend glowsticks if it’s the last thing I do on this earth.
If you ever doubted what happens when you mix alcohol and boob toys, I can confirm that you get mayhem. The volume and amount of laughter is overwhelming. The conversations are among the funniest I’ve heard ever. How awesome is it to keep dozens of people laughing uncontrollably for 5 hours?
With so many boob toys lying around, there are many side shows of hilarity. Here’s one from Caroline, Marsy and Betty. I didn’t even know they did this untill the next day.
The Boob Contest
Representing the boys are the moob-men, with artificially augmented decolletage. And representing the women is, of course, Trish.
It doesn’t take too much persuading to get the boys together. Thank you boys! What the boys lacked in realistic, attached cleavage, dancing skill, and smooth skin we make up with… uh, well I’m not sure how we make up for all that. It’s ugly.
Carol is our inspector and judge (and she has the badge to prove it.) She gropes every chest, and in the end, declares Trish and the girls the winners. The boys were disappointed, but it’s always better to lose to tough competition.
Best. Party. Ever.
Obviously being held on Friday the 13th is a good luck charm for this devilish family. Nothing went wrong tonight (well, except for my blender, but I have only myself to blame for not having industrial-strength machinery.) It was a complete success. I’m so relieved. A full set of photos and captions are at the bottom of this post.
People from out of town sent her gifts too: pasties from Austin, a Dolly Parton t-shirt and lots of bath stuff from New York.
Trish tries to tell me how thankful and amazed she is, but sweetly fumbles the words. I can tell from the look in her eye that she’s overwhemled and grateful for having such amazing friends. She heads straight upstairs and passes-out.
There is only one more chemotherapy session left, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks everyone that came, helped or sent good thoughts this week. You really helped push Trish through the difficult final phase of this ghastly treatment.
The party was such a huge event I barely remember anything before it, but there was a whole week of awesome stuff.
- 71) Greenday: We could see them 10 more times this summer and still want to go again.
- 72) Q-street: more enjoyable than expected from a ‘muppet’ musical.
- 73) Komi: Not on the go back list anytime soon, but we did enjoy it. It’s a little pretentious.
- 74-75) Surprise party: There are so many huge gifts in this party, that I’m letting it take up two spots in the 101 surprises list. Check out the faces of Trish collage from the party. That’s worth it’s own number.