Monkey Boy’s fourteenth birthday was approaching and, unlike both of us, we hadn’t given a great deal of thought to his cake.
Or, maybe, in hindsight, maybe he had, and I just thought he was being a smart arse.
You see, when I asked him, he told me he wanted “a statue of himself”.
Ha, ha, bloody, ha … I do not work well with terms like “whatever” or “you decide” or “surprise me”. I have enough going around in my head without having someone’s inability to just tell me what they want, dammit!
To a degree, it’s going to turn out exactly how I do things anyway; but I do like a bit of guidance. If you want something, tell me. Simple. As. That.
So I persisted.
“No, come on, just tell me what you want.”
He did a bit of the things I don’t like; “I dunno” and the like, interspersed with the “statue of me” which we both knew was utterly ridiculous.
Until I came up with a brilliant idea. I can’t take all the credit for it. It was him being a complete and utter arse, making my life a living hell (although it could have been much worse) and his simply being a smartarse.
Well, two can play that game, and it did cross my mind to ask him if he had any idea where he got his smartarse from. I didn’t. That may have clued him in to what I was planning.
I ran my Brilliant Birthday Cake Idea (BBCI) by a friend, who not only agree it was a BBCI, but gave a few ideas of her own and sent me some of the ‘ingredients’ I needed.
It was all a giant conspiracy, during which time I asked Monkey Boy if he trusted me, managed not to laugh an evil, maniacal laugh when he said “yes”, and set about working out how to fulfil the idea brewing in my own mind.
He did state that whilst he felt I was somewhat capable (and trustworthy – idiot!) that he did think the cake may look a little like this – and gave me a terribly good example of a hunchback, complete with grimace and claw-like hands. Had I gone with the concept in his mind, yes, yes indeed, it could very well have looked like that. But he had no idea what I was planning.
I commenced the BBCI creation on Wednesday, for this involved ice cream and black food colouring.
He did ask later that day why I had black on my fingers. I replied with “I’ve been supping on the blood of future, evil overlords” and his eyes nearly rolled out of his head.
The ice-cream part of the cake under way I had a few days to work out the rest of my idea.
The cake baking commenced on Friday, so I had time to see what I had to work with, and have a tangible and visual to work around; this is most helpful for one how is a Kineasthetic/Visual learner.
Basically, I need to touch and see to get stuff done.
I made the mistake of allowing Monkey Boy to choose the type of cake he would like. A mistake because there are three kinds of cake recipe I work with. And that’s it. Three. No more. No less. Each has their purpose and place and reason for being utilised.
He chose a recipe I have never worked with.
It did not start off well …
And it did not end well …
At which point, I swore a lot, then embarked upon a cake I knew what the hell I was doing with.
Funnily enough, it worked!
So that was my Saturday evening … full of fun and adventure and not at all wishing I was actually on a fun adventure …
Oh, yeah, and I also had this in the freezer, which did kind of add an element of fun to the day, and hoping the police didn’t show up to check to check my freezer … because I’m sure they do that, just randomly, for fun or something.
Anyhoo, it may have been difficult to explain.
Sunday morning was up early, not just to organise for the hordes of people arriving, but so I could complete as much of the cake as possible; that is, adorning it with a scrummy ganache – the Chocolate God of many arms – and a selection of his favourite treats.
This required considerable precision placement of said treats, much hand slapping to deter those stealing what they thought were “spare” bits, some equally precision stuffing-of-treats-in-face-so-no-one-would-see, and trying not to make a mess.
I don’t do that last one all that well, but I did manage to get the base of the cake to a point where I could add the topper.
He still had no idea what I had planned.
Family and friends arrived, we had snacks and chips, crackers and dip. a bbq lunch and then it was time for cake.
No one, at this point, other than Grumpy Pants, had any idea what the cake looked like. Which was fun.
Even his friends conspired against him, still not knowing the final creation, they blindfolded him anyway and sung happy birthday.
I admit, I was a little worried he would never, ever, ever speak to me again.
I do, however, think I did a rather remarkable job, under the circumstances and with my extremely limited abilities, in capturing the essence of him.
He also saw the funny side and thought it was brilliant.
Getting rid of the guests, really, was the hardest part of the whole day …