Jen and Katie

Jen and I have known each other 22 years.  All but 4 years of our friendship has been long distance, which makes it even more remarkable that we have not only stayed in touch but have gotten closer over the years. I think she’s remarkable and hilarious and the more time I spend with her, the more time I want to spend with her. Our friendship has been marked by several amusing moments and in honor of her 40th birthday (officially tomorrow!) I’ll tell one of our many many stories.

One year Jen came to visit me in Tucson intending on a relaxing, rejuvenating “spa” weekend but without the requisite cash for a resort. Because we’re resourceful girls who love nothing so much as a challenge, we worked up a “ghetto spa weekend on the cheap.” It went like this:

Night #1: Jen arrives in town. We eat sushi for dinner and spend the rest of the evening driving around looking for yoga places advertising free first classes. She picks up several yoga flyers, free passes to the YMCA and then we find a community pool right down the street from my house. “$1 per visit? Perfect!” Jen says.

We go home and spend the next several hours on line searching for “cheap massages” only to find that there’s no PG rated way to make that search. After an hour of interesting websites and even more interesting speculation, Jen abandons the massage search and makes a list: “Tomorrow I’ll start at the YMCA with a cardio-kickboxing class, do yoga at 2 and go to the pool at 5.  I’ll pick you up after work, then it’s the sweat lodge and dinner.”

The next day she does her classes, drinks green tea, gives herself a facial and calls me “Think of all the money I’m saving! she says. It’s all going so well! Why doesn’t everyone do a spa weekend on the cheap!?” Full of success, she gets into her swimsuit, grabs her giant sunglasses and her beach bag with and walks down the block to pay her $1 only to discover a small blood-temperature community pool surrounded by an acre of blazing hot concrete. Not deterred, our fair maiden throws her towel on the concrete, slaps at the line of ants marching across her ankles and ducks as small children skid into her, eating potato chips and dropping crumbs hither and yon to feed the aforementioned ants. She’s not a quitter and hung in there for an hour as the sun blazed and pool practically boiled before calling me and saying “I’ve discovered the “ghetto” factor in my ghetto spa weekend. I can see why people don’t do this. Let’s go to the movies tonight. I’m as rejuvenated as I’m going to get.”

Day #2: I come home to find that the spa weekend has taken an interesting turn. Jen has cleaned out my freezer (This says 2006!!! I’m throwing it away and you can’t stop me!), grocery shopped and done my dishes. As we hang out she spends the rest of the evening making critical comments about the way I organize my living room while I drink beer and nod at the appropriate moments. None of this is unusual. When I visit her, she cleans out her own freezer, grocery shops, does the dishes and makes critical comments about her own living room. I drink beer and watch her. Ordinary people would consider this the demise of the spa weekend; but for Jen, organization is relaxing.

Day #3: I come home to a newly reorganized freezer and refrigerator containing the few remaining things deemed worthy (You have had this as long as I’ve known you! It goes in the trash!). We eat a dinner Jen made (delicious) and dessert (even more delicious) and then she does the dishes while I write in the living room. I finish up and put my laptop away where I ALWAYS put it, where it ALWAYS lives in my house, where it works PERFECTLY for my lifestyle. Jen comes in the living room, watches me and says “Did you notice that I created a new space for your computer?” Without a pause for me to respond, she walks over, takes my laptop away, turns to the shelf next to me, moves my bag from the place where it always lives and puts my laptop down. “See?” she says. “Now you can hide the cord.” And then she shoves it under the rug. “Perfect!”

Wanna guess what happened when she went home? Yep. But there’s always next time…

Happy birthday, my dear unstoppable-force-of-nature friend. I love you.  May your next 40 years be full of friendship and laughter. You can come organize my house and my freezer any time.

Actually, the sooner the better because you know how I get…

40th Flamingo Fun

My best friend in all the world turns 40 this week!

And her family

Dressed for the occasion

And her friends

Gathered in her yard for a cookout:

with appropriate decorations:

 

 

That lasted well into the night:

Happy birthday, girlie! I hope I know you for 40 more.

This is part 1 of 2…