As of August 29, I’m a year older, probably not wiser, but having more fun than anyone approaching his mid-thirties should be allowed to have.
The fun started on Friday night, where I dropped by the Eagle’s Lodge for my obligatory birthday jam. Several other jitterbugs have birthdays at the end of August, so I seemed to be in good company on the dance floor (even considering folks like Troy and Ben Peet who didn’t join us in the circle).
Of course, any exercise I got dancing on Friday was quickly negated on Saturday when I decided to take on the horrifying “Stellanator” hamburger down at Stella’s in Bellevue. As a previous corn-eating champion, I didn’t think devouring the sandwich (consisting of six 6.5 oz burger patties, six fried eggs, twelve pieces of bacon, six pieces of cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños, and peanut butter all on a bun served with a basket of fries) would be as painful and nauseous experience as it was. I came close to cleaning my plate, but not clean enough. Fortunately, I didn’t have a heart attack, and what went down stayed down.
It was enough to get me to swear off meat for the rest of the afternoon.
That evening (after some proper digestion) Vivian and I invited a bunch of our friends over for drinks and banana splits. I’d realized earlier in the month that I’ve never actually eaten the uniquely American dessert before, so Vivian made one (small) banana split for me with some homemade ice cream. We were up until nearly stupid o’clock gabbing and playing everyone’s favorite new party game, Telestrations. We were fortunate enough to have Dan Wondra among our ranks drawing such things as a Jamaican on a hamster wheel and an angel pulling a king’s tail.
On Monday (the big day), Vivian made up a chocolate cheesecake that I was able to enjoy along with a sweet birthday lunch) Then when I arrived home, I got to see some fun decorations that Donna had left in our yard, which included a pink lawn flamingo with a birthday hat. (I’ll have to consult my dad to figure out what we can name him.)
That evening, Vivian took me out to a restaurant we’d driven by about a hundred times but had never gotten around to visiting — The Bohemian Cafe. It’s an old-school ethnic restaurant that started back in the days when Omaha had a “little Bohemia” just south of downtown. I’m not a huge fan of Czech food, but the Jaeger Schnitzel and dumplings were quite good.
Much to our surprise, someone else was celebrating his birthday at the Bohemian Cafe in Monday: the oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett! I’d heard stories of Buffett dining at such humble places as Gorat’s and Piccolo Pete’s, but I never thought I’d bump into the third richest man in the world myself. On his way out, I worked up the courage to approach Buffett and ask if he’d be kind enough to let me get a picture with him just to prove to my friends that I wasn’t crazy. He happily obliged.
Vivian and I drove up to Dave & Buster’s to spend the rest of the evening playing games together and racking up a few cups full of tickets. Vivian actually hit the 1000 ticket jackpot on Frogger, so we were able to walk out with a trio of cute Angry Birds plushies. Vivian took me home afterward to have some chocolate brownie-mousse birthday cake and presents to round out the evening.
It was another wonderful birthday weekend, and I can’t thank my lovely wife Vivian enough to helping to put it together. What we both discovered, though, is that so many fun things can’t be planned or even expected — they just have to happen.