Sunday, September 25, 2011

Choking at the Fur Ball

Last night, my husband and I attended the ASPCA Fur Ball at the Anatole Hotel in Dallas. We were invited to the event by our close friends, who for privacy sake, we'll call Sweetie Pie and Jug Head. Love you, jug head, no offense intended. J

The event was a sold out success and if you don't know already, the ASCPA ( ) is a charity close to my heart. I was astounded by the generosity of some of the donors of the live auction events. American Airlines, the very best local gourmet restaurants in Dallas, a year's worth of wine ****drool****, and suites for the Dallas Cowboys, etc. I readily admit that the fundraising geniuses certainly know how to execute these events. Have an open bar, get everyone liquored up, feed the guests well, then, BAM. Hit them with fantastic live auction items that mere mortals have NO ability to resist. If they're sloshed already of course, which - pregnant and fat - I was not. My husband, in direct contrast, was tempted beyond all reason.

At the announcement of the first auction item – a ski trip for two to the Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – my hubby turns to me whispers, "Where's our number? Give me our number!" I start to look around, my thoughts fogged a bit by baby brain anyway, and the whispers turn frantic. "Come on Kelly, where is it? Faster, dammit, faster!" Now my heart is pounding and I'm sweating a little, the auctioneer trilling in that nonsensical way that's guaranteed to whip bidders into frenzy. Finally, I find the auction sign tucked into the back of the program bulletin. Thomas snatches the card from my trembling hand and waves it wildly in the air.

What is his problem, I think. And why is he bidding on this? It's a trip that the winner probably has to take within a year, and I'm five months pregnant. Everyone knows you can't go skiing in your third trimester, and the trip isn't going to hold ski season at the end of 2012. So I grab his arm about to jerk his butt back to reality when I realize people are bidding on this trip left and right. All men. Well, of course. That makes sense. You say the word "Grand Tetons" and the eyes of men glaze right over. It doesn't appear we're in any risk of actually winning this thing, so I encourage my sweet husband to drive up the bid price. It's for the puppies, after all.

The moment my husband raised his hand the second time, a hushed silence spread across room. Holy shit. "How much did we bid?" I asked. Thomas told me, excitement glittering in his gorgeous blue eyes. I looked anxiously around the room at those men who previously bid and their eyes are down, the women beside them looking thin lipped and dangerous. Oh CRAP.

Keep in mind, this is the first auction item of the night. People aren't warmed up yet. Some are probably still looking for where they hid their brightly colored auction sign. Only my husband is mentally lubricated enough to think this trip is a bargain and he's clutching the bid card like the yellow cardboard is solid gold. A hot flash had me reaching for my glass of ice water.

The auctioneer's victorious cry of "Sold!" had me choking into my glass, which I suddenly wished was filled with scotch. And I hate scotch. Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled the homeless cats and dogs are getting my hard earned cash, but the experience was over so fast. When I give away that much money to charity, I want to savor it a little. This felt like a hit and run to me; while Thomas was positively giddy, flushed from the excitement of winning.

After I was able to draw breath again, the bidding resumed and more packages were auctioned off. Over the course of the next forty five minutes, I find that Thomas is right. We did get a bargain. As the libations flowed liberally, inebriated couples bid up to $6000 for a dinner with wine accompaniment for ten guests at a local, chain steakhouse. Seriously? Yes, seriously. Good for them. Good for the puppies, I say. And great for the tax write-off.

Now sitting at IHOP with my trusty laptop on the morning after, contemplating the cost of ramen noodles and if the server wouldn't mind just bringing me toast instead of that rooty-tooty breakfast special I've been eyeing… I'm warming to the idea. With baby number two knocking at the door of my uterus at the beginning of 2012, this will be the last chance for Thomas and I to get away together for what will probably be at least another two years. And here we are with $1000 worth of American Airlines vouchers, three nights at a luxury boutique slope-side hotel, gift certificates for mountain passes and two 5-star restaurants on the mountain. Exciting, right? Should be, but the earliest we'll be able to go is December if we want guaranteed snowfall to accommodate my husband's need for kamikaze skiing, and I'm going to be so round by then it will take two seats on the plane just to accommodate my girth. No skiing for me, obviously, but I'll amuse myself at the spa while Thomas tackles the black diamonds. He'll find friends to ski with – he's remarkably good at that sort of thing. Now the only wrinkle is finding someone to watch the first child while we go. Any takers? J

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