How Could I Let it Happen Again

Twenty two years ago I did something that when I think about it even today, makes me blush with embarrassment...
The year was 1988.  I had already graduated high school, and it was the end of my first year of college.  "Best Bud Ed" is a year younger than I am - and so it was the end of his senior year.  By this time Ed and I had been hanging around together for two, maybe three years - and we were pretty inseparable.  If we were not at school or work, wherever one of us was you'd find the other - especially on Friday and Saturday nights.  They were usually late nights of fast food, rented movies, and (in all likelihood) several games of late night cribbage till the wee hours of the next morning.
On the day of Ed's Graduation open house I was scheduled to work, but I had told Ed that I would attend his celebration afterwards.  Saturdays at the hardware store were long - 9+ hours on my feet the whole day - so when it came to quittin' time, I was exhausted.  I hoped into my car and headed home. 
Once home, I plopped down on the couch, and zoned out.  At one point my parents even asked me where Ed was that evening (because it was so unusual to not see us hanging around together).  I remember thinking to myself that it was indeed odd that I had not heard from him, so I told them that I didn't know, but I was sure he'll call me when he was available.  Next thing I consciously remember was waking up the next morning, and rushing off to church - then work. 
Somewhere during the day Ed called and asked me what happened to me the night before...
Sounds of crickets chirping as the dark lightbulb above my head slowly flickered to life.
OH NO!!  I MISSED YOUR OPEN HOUSE!!!  Yup, it's true.  I missed my best friend's "once in a lifetime" graduation open house.  Once I described the whole scenario (including my parents asking me where Ed was that night, and that we discussed how unusual it was) - we had (and still do have) a good chuckle out of the whole ordeal (despite my ongoing  embarrassment). 

I chose this photo specifically… This photo is Ed at MY graduation despite the fact that I missed out on his… 

Now, I bet you are all asking yourself why I am trudging up this bit of embarrassing FOF history, aren't you?
(Sigh....) Well, because I did it again... 
Joe sticking out tongue For the past month (or more) - a birthday party (a 40th birthday party) has been planned for another one of my long time (high school) friends.  His siblings had lured him back to the Twin Cities (he lives some distance away) and were hoping to gather many of his friends to surprise him for his 40th.  I had received (and returned) several emails about the event, and even added it in my Palm Pilot.  I had cleared my schedule.  It was a "lock" (and RSVP'ed that I would be attending).
The day before the party, I was working a scheduled extension to my shift when another co-worker called in sick.  This resulted in my working from 3am - 3pm (my alarm clock goes off at 1am) the day of the party.  The party was still in a "do-able" time frame!   
The day of the party was a pretty busy day at work.  On my way home I tried locating a "Redbox" that contained a copy of "Planet 51" for the kids to watch.  I stopped at EIGHT Redboxes, and was pretty maxed out after not finding the movie in even ONE. 
I decided to give up on the "Planet 51" idea, and move on to the second task I needed to accomplish before getting home. 
I made a phone call to a "close family member" who's husband underwent a "significant medical treatment" the day before.  I had wanted to check in, and let them know I had been thinking / praying about them quite a bit, and wanted to know how the recovery was progressing.
Arriving home, physically and mentally exhausted - I contacted Ed (to work with him on a couple of issues with, which ended up overlapping dinner.  By the time I was done helping Ed, dinner was over.  I grabbed a plate and joined the family watching our alternate movie choice "Aliens in the Attic". 
After the movie, (about the same time the party was starting) both boys (#2 of 5, and #3 of 5) needed a little help with one last requirement for their "Citizenship in the Nation" Merit Badge class they were attending in the morning.  It was getting close to their needing to be in bed (it was an early class) - so I was intently helping one while the other watched the world news (another requirement).
By the time the boys were finished, having gathered their needs for the class and tucking them into bed - I was completely zoning out - staring off into space, and nodding off.  I barley remember getting ready for bed, and was asleep before the second track Ten New Songs started playing.
I awoke at 4am with an ominous feeling that I had forgotten something, so I rolled over, turned on my Palm to check my work schedule (afraid that I forgot an overtime shift) when I saw "IT"...  "Joe's surprise party" it said on my schedule from the day before.  I was instantly wide awake (with horror and guilt).  I ran downstairs to the computer to check my email and Facebook accounts (the method that Joe's siblings used to get in touch with me), and there, facing me from atop my Facebook wall was the birthday boy Joe.  He had updated his status by sharing his surprise and thanking everyone for coming...
There, in the dark of night, sitting in front of my computer, my face warmed with the blushing embarrassment, shock, and horror I felt.  I missed another one of those "once in a lifetime" celebrations.  I missed a chance to see a friend (his family, and some other friends) that I have not seen in many years.
It's my hope that no one (including myself) view this post as a way of making an "excuse".  It is not. 
It is apologetic.  It is an admission to one of my (many) faults.  It is a means by which I can apologize to my friends and the hosts of the party.  It is therapeutic, because I feel so horrible about missing this party.
Happy birthday Joe!  I am so sorry I missed your party. 


  1. Stuff happens and I know you were thinking of naughty bits were tingling! We WILL get tobgether though this summer Mr. Father of Five and I will still have a great big hug for you :)

  2. We still luv ya Puff Rice

  3. With your schedule, it's amazing that you have time to attend anything.

  4. Just found your blog, and I have to say:


    I've told my family over and over ... if I'm missing something, call me. I've probably forgotten it, and just need a kick in the head to make me remember.

    Thanks for sharing!


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