This past Saturday afternoon I drove across town to pick up my son Sam’s custom ordered birthday cake at Costco. I figured that would be a great time to do it because the University of Texas vs. Oklahoma football game was currently being played, and when UT football is on, the city of Austin basically shut down until it’s over. (Seriously—check the game schedule and plan your B&E’s accordingly.)
Once I got to the warehouse, I wove my way to the bakery only to discover that the cake I needed for Sunday morning’s party had been taken by someone else. Yep, someone actually went into the custom cake self-serve refrigerator and self-served their lousy ass to my son’s birthday cake. What the hell?
I immediately jumped on the only person still working in the bakery and told him what happened. “The cake was personalized!” I yelped. “It was a football theme and it said ‘Happy 9th Sam’! And just how many nine-year-old football fans named Sam can there be in Texas?”
“Um, probably…a lot?” he mumbled as he quickly maneuvered a rack of bulk muffins between us in case things turned ugly. (And thereby confirming my belief that most bakery employees know hell hath no fury like a suburban mother the night before a kid’s birthday party. In fact, they’re probably even required to attend a training session on it right after they learn how to tase a raging Bridezilla.)
“What am I supposed to do now?” I moaned. “It’s too late to order another cake. And it’s not like I can go home and MAKE one, right? I mean, not unless the birthday party theme is ‘Sad White Trash’ and Sam actually wants a cake that tastes like wood chips and looks like a skateboard park designed by a heroin addict. And don’t even tell me to pick one up at the grocery store because the frosting on those babies has enough dye in it to kill an elephant. I’m screwed! Totally, absolutely, 100 percent screw….wait! Do you think the kids would notice if I just stuck a candle in a pumpkin pie and told them to chew until they find a Silly Band?”
“Um…” the bakery guy said from his crouched position behind an industrial mixer. “Or you could just fill out another form and come back in the morning? That might be…more safe? Can I leave now?”
Fortunately everything worked out and the great people at Costco had a new, perfect cake waiting for us the next morning before they even opened for business. (Obviously they know the importance of keeping their best $8 wine/bulk toilet paper customer happy.) But once the cake drama was over, I realized how foolish I was to get upset over such a first world problem. After all, I’m truly lucky that all I had to be worried about this weekend was a stolen cake when there are so many people on the planet much less fortunate than me.
That said, I then started to wonder about the people on the planet who are actually more fortunate than me. Like, do you suppose Gwyneth Paltrow ever turns to her sort-of-cute-with-the-right-lighting-Cold Play husband and says, “Sorry I was such a pain about you spilling champagne on my least favorite Birkin bag yesterday, darling. I must always remember how lucky we are. After all, there are people on this planet who have to order their birthday cakes from a warehouse. A bloody warehouse!”
That may be true, but I know of at least one 9-year-old named Sam (and his little brother Jack) who seemed pretty happy we did.
Also, big news! My dear friend Ann Imig is bringing her fabulous Listen To Your Mother show to Austin, and I’m going to be spearheading it! (Ann tells me “spearheading” means getting paid $100K to sit around and be bossy, but that’s yet to be confirmed.) Anyway, if you’re in Austin & interested in talking about this with me, be sure to let me know!