Last Friday, the day before my birthday, my husband asks me to take the afternoon off, because he has a surprise. Of course I get all excited about this, and abandoned any hope of getting any work done that morning. When I get home, he looks at my attire, which was casual Friday, and tells me I just need to change my jeans. So I change into my favorite Gap low-rise dark gray slacks. He also says to wear comfortable shoes, but I stick with my high-heeled open-toed ones.
"Where are we going?" I ask about 178 times during the drive. His reply would be to turn up the music so by the time we get to our destination I have lost half of my hearing. When he takes the Carmel/Monterey exit off of Hwy 1, I smartly point out "We're going to Carmel!"
"You've got me, but I have to drop by my dad's first to pick up something." I still knock myself in the head today for believing that! So he drives up to Dad's house in Pebble Beach, and lo and behold we see around five cars on the driveway. The excitement must have eaten my brain cells that day for I still didn't pick up on this. I said I'll just wait in the car. Then he laughs and tells me to "Come on!".
Inside the house I was surprised to see my brother-in-law and his kids who flew in from Boise, Idaho in the living room, and Rich's step-sister, her friend, and their daughters mulling about in the kitchen. But they didn't yell "Surprise!" for me.
What's more, they're all dressed to the nines! What's this? What's going on? My mind was rambling with all these questions. I visit with my brother-in-law, and he tells me we're going to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. I start to panic, and he tells me "Don't worry, we're only going to the Lexus Fashion Show."
Don't worry?!! You're all dressed for a ball and I shouldn't worry?!?!
My father-in-law and mother-in-law walk into the room and greet me a happy birthday. I was half-listening for I was looking for my dear husband, whom I wanted to run over with a Lexus at that moment.
As we walked to the Pebble Beach fairway towards the humongous Lexus tent, I feel a knot in my stomach. Everywhere I look people were dressed in their finest, complete with their bling. My mood quickly went downhill, such that I couldn't hide it in my face. My mother-in-law, who's one of the sweetest people on earth, hugs me and says I look great, and not to blame Rich for she's the one who said to wear casual. Rich's stepsister and her friend gather around me and tell me not to worry because I had the best figure of any girl there so I look great. Of course that's not true but that's not even the point! It gets so bad that at one point I take Rich aside and tell him I'll just drive back to Dad's house and wait there for them. When he tells me I looked better than anyone there (hey, he's my husband), I said it's bad enough that I'm the only brown creature there, but to not have the appropriate attire! I've been to big shindigs at Pebble Beach before, where yes, I felt uncomfortably out of place, but at least I was dressed for the part. I started to tear up. He feels bad and offers to drive me home. I said no, I'll tough it out. I accept the glass of wine, check out the hors d'oeuvres, and really try hard to smile. But I told him if people start to hand me their empty wine glasses I'm out of there.
As the day wears on, I start to see some women in slacks and even some young ladies in jeans. This made me feel better. The fashion show begins, and I thought I might as well take pictures. Since we ran out of seats, I walked up next to a pole to get a better view. This proved to be a vantage point, for I was able to get great pictures of the models, and the car with the celebrity in the end.
We headed back to Dad's house where we had a huge family dinner and they had cake for me. We talked, laughed and watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics. By day's end, I didn't want to leave. On the drive home, Rich apologizes once more.
I just replied, "You better have a kick-ass birthday planned for me."