Post-Birthday Thoughts

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday. I was nervous about the whole affair since my wife had plans for me that she wasn’t telling me about. Throughout the week I was guessing little details here and there – what we were having for dinner and dessert, what we were going to be doing – the only thing that I didn’t know was who was going to be at the apartment to celebrate.

We have a small two-bedroom apartment. Our dining room table usually seats two, but can expand to seat six in a pinch. Trick is, we only have four chairs, the two that come with the dining room table and the two office chairs, so sitting six around the table is a little tricky. We also have the two mobile desks and a footstool that could be used as a chair in a pinch.

Visitors started arriving at around 7:00 pm. My first visitor stopped by for just a few minutes as she had a prior engagement during the evening, but it was great to see her. After she arrived, we had two more join us (they arrived at the same time), then two more (a married couple), and finally a friend who moved into the apartment complex a few months ago. So between the five visitors and the two of us, we had seven people in the apartment.

We extended the table and I was sat at the head of the table. One of our guests took my usual spot on the couch with my desk, and we had three more at the table in chairs and one who sat on the end of the chaise. My wife took the footstool and her desk, as it was closest to the kitchen.

It was pretty close quarters trying to maneuver around the table and chairs to do much of anything, but we managed to get everyone served. My wife made lasagna, her family recipe straight from southern Italy, and one of our guests brought a warm German potato salad. The married couple brought an expansive veggie tray and our friend and neighbor came down with a fruit tray and dip that we noshed on once we were done with dinner. Everyone was quite satisfied with the meal, I thought.

We settled for a little while and then had dessert, strawberries and bananas Romanoff served over angel food cake cups – one of my favorite desserts. My wife did her best Marilyn Monroe impression as she sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Everyone cheered and she was surprised to find her performance posted to Facebook not long afterward.

Once dessert was done, the two that arrived at the same time also left at the same time, and so the five of us that were left cleared the table, had a round of coffee, and settled in to play a game of Munchkin Legends.

Munchkin is a card game from Steve Jackson Games that initially poked fun at the fantasy/Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying genre. With monster and treasure cards that are full of fantastic puns, it’s a great game for most ages (younger kids may not get the puns, but they will appreciate the cartoony pictures on each card). There are now almost two dozen core games dealing with genres ranging from superheroes to zombies to westerns to sci-fi to steampunk, including several branded versions (Adventure Time, Axe Cop, Marvel, the Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.) and a half-dozen deluxe editions that include game boards and player tokens to track each player’s progress through the game. (Munchkin Legends, the version we were playing, deals with world mythology.) If this sounds interesting to you, you can learn more about Munchkin at its website.

Our neighbor had never played any version of Munchkin before, so we got to explain the game as we went along (something that’s easy to do, as many of the cards have their own rules that apply to them). At the end of the game – it was our neighbor who was victorious in her first game, continuing a long-standing household tradition that the rookie player somehow manages to win the game.

We put up the cards and conversations turned towards the mutual hobby that we all share, and finally at around 1:00 am the party broke up.

It’s the most socializing that I had done since my friend’s baby shower about three weeks ago. I had a great time and I handled the small crowd very well.

While I thanked my guests on Facebook by name, I also want to thank them again here for stopping by. It meant the world to me and it helped me to boot. I’d love to do more of these sorts of game nights in the future, since they help me to socialize where I wouldn’t otherwise do so.

I went to bed tired, but satisfied. It was a good birthday.

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