Well, that was an AWESOME birthday.
Despite an initial hiccup in getting to Charlotte (we got on the plane, taxied out to the runway, sat on the runway for a long while, then taxied BACK to the gate and deplaned to wait out a weather delay for an hour, then reboarded and finally took off), I arrived in NC on Friday afternoon and Allison and I dove right into our girls' weekend.
When we got to our room at the resort, we found a very generous gift card from my parents (which I used my for hot stone/deep tissue massage on Saturday) and a single long-stemmed rose and, shortly thereafter, a bottle of wine and a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries arrived, courtesy of Joe (he is really gunning for Husband of the Year (and winning), wouldn't you say?).
We moseyed down to the bar and had drinks and shared a bunch of appetizery dishes for dinner, then returned to the room for some pajama time and tickle fights (ok, not really -- just seeing if you were paying attention). We went to bed at a reasonable hour since we had to get up at the buttcrack to run a 5K, although some women decided to park themselves outside our room and CACKLE their heads off for a very long time so it took a while to get to sleep. When we got up at 5:45 (OOF), I considered running through the corridor, laughing maniacally and pounding on the walls for payback, but I restrained myself.
We headed out in the steamy dawn toward the Panthers stadium, where the race started. Then we rocked the ass off that 5K!
Twinsies! (Check out the forearm definition on both of us. We are Muscle Women!)
I did my best to comport myself with grace and dignity.
And Allison did her best to pretend she didn't know me.
After the race, we headed back to the hotel, freshened up, and ate an enormous breakfast worthy of an Everest expedition. I wanted to climb into my dish of grits and weep, they were so good. You can get grits in New York, but they are never quite right (see also: biscuits -- why doesn't anyone up North know how to make a proper biscuit?). Then we did our Fancy Shopping at Target, Ulta and a Border's (RIP) that should have been GIVING it away what with being bankrupt and all, but instead only offered moderate discounts. I still bought some books, though, because it SEEMED like I was going to save a bunch of money, what with all the fluorescent signs everywhere, screaming about deep discounts, and the almost-empty shelves. WhatEVER, store!
That afternoon, we had our spa appointments, and ooooooh, man. That massage was tremendous. I hadn't had a hot stone massage before, and this incorporated deep tissue as well. It was one of those experiences that is kind of an agony/ecstasy thing. Like, WHOA NELLIE I THINK MY HEAD IS GOING TO POP OFF OW OW OW, but then afterward you feel like you could just slither off the table onto the floor. I came out of there looking sort of shaken, but in a good way. Also, I had gotten a scalp treatment so my hair was full of oil and sticking out like an Eighties hair band gone wrong. But I did not care, because all my knots had been kneaded out and my system was flushing out toxins (or something -- all I know is I always pee a million times after I have a deep tissue massage) and I was in a state of bliss.
After we collected ourselves and drank some fruity water, then sauna-ed and showered, we headed out to the pool and took a dip. But then the golf course alarms went off and we were ordered out of the water by a boy who probably did not even have a driver's license. The thunder and lightning descended, so we retreated to the room and watched the rain pour down as we drank wine and read Allison's old diaries on our terrace, then ordered room service and talked late into the night.
I learned from perusing Allison's journals that I spent a great deal of the time between about fifth grade and the end of high school "being kind of a butt" or "getting on [Allison's] nerves." This is hilarious, and not really surprising, because I have no doubt that I WAS kind of a butt and not as good of a friend as I should have been. As Allison noted in one tenth grade entry: "Meredith has an official new best friend: BALLET" -- which was true, plus I know I could be an insufferable know-it-all as well as boring and self-absorbed.
But hey, we were teenagers, so self-absorption comes with the territory, and as was apparent from these archival documents, we were both jealous as hell of positively everyone else, including each other. And my own diaries, by the way, bear this up as well; I spent a tremendous amount of time worrying that Allison had changed -- meaning that she had DARED to find friends other than me since I was always at BALLET -- and thinking that I deserved things that she had (usually attention of some kind), and generally being a total ass.
God, I would not accept ANY amount of money to go back and be a teenager. But I do love that we documented so much of our tortured existence, because it SURE is funny to go back and look at now. And also, it makes me all the more appreciative that Allison and I stuck through all the rough times and stayed friends, and now even though we live (WAY TOO FAR) apart, our friendship is one of the best things I will ever have in my life.
On Sunday, I had an easy trip home, and I came back to find a pile of cards from friends and family, an exhausted husband who went out into the hot afternoon to get me some birthday cupcakes, and a bright-eyed toddler who shrieked with delight as we played hide-and-seek over and over again.
And I didn't even have to make a birthday wish, because I already have so much more than I could ever ask for.