Southgate Celebrates Crystal's Birthday -- Plus Crystal's Comments

Rusty, Marie and a crew of five girls, we certainly know how to celebrate birthdays around here. And, it’s always nice when these special events are spread out over the year, giving us more excuses to party! On Saturday, January 31, we had just such an occasion marked on the calendar in honor of our very own Crystal (even though her birthday was technically on Sunday, February 1st). And of course, when someone reaches the quarter-of-a-century milestone (oops, I didn’t reveal that, did I?), you have to pull out all the stops! Read on for more...

 Crystal’s birthday cake at Southgate Coins

Now, if you’re familiar at all with Southgate’s traditions, you’ll know that 90% of the party is in the planning. We’re all about scheming, sneaking, and telling little “white lies,” in order to keep the VIP in a peaceful state of ignorance. This occasion was no different. Christmas had barely passed when Marie, Cara, and I (Maya) started pouring ideas into the Pot O’ Conspiracy.

For one, we found out that Crystal hates the sweet, sugary frosting on cakes, which presented us with quite a challenge in finding the perfect birthday cake. Luckily, using sleuth-like tactics, Marie was able to find out that Crystal loves pineapple-upside-down bundt cake (minus the gooey icing, of course). With that knowledge, we were able to check off the biggest part of any celebration planning—the food!

Now, for the birthday presents. We all had to put our heads together to find something that little Crystal would use and enjoy. Cara astounded us all with the perfect idea, and here she is to tell you about it:

A week ago (last week of January 2009), Maya came up to me (Cara) and told me that we would be celebrating Crystal’s birthday on the last Saturday of the month. I had completely forgotten that Crystal’s birthday was that weekend, and since it was quickly approaching, I needed to figure out the perfect gift for her.

 Southgate Coins employee Crystal hides among the birthday decorations at her desk

As I was preparing to open that morning, I thought about what were some of Crystal’s favorite things. The first thing that I could think of was her brand new Playstation 3, which she purchased as a reward to herself for the good grades she got at UNR last semester. I thought we could get her a game, but I wasn’t quite sure which games she already had. So I thought about just getting her a gift card to GameStop. When I finished opening the store, I asked Maya what she was going to get for Crystal, and she didn’t have any ideas either, so I told her my idea, and the minute I did, she had a brilliant idea herself: We could all chip in and get Crystal a new Guitar Hero game. Guitar Hero is one of Crystal’s favorite games. After she played it at the game store she purchased it right away. We shared our idea with Marie, and we all decided that Maya would secretly figure out which Guitar Hero game Crystal had, so we could get her one she didn’t have. We ended up getting Guitar Hero – Legends of Rock: a perfect sequel to her first version of the game.

Thanks, Cara! Now... onto the party!:

The night before the big event, Rusty told us that he had to “leave work early for an appointment,” Really, it was an excuse for him to go pick up some necessary party supplies. After everyone except Marie and I left for the evening, Rusty brought back candles, balloons, and various Happy Birthday signs so we could decorate the store. I stayed late to assist with party preparations, and the next morning, from what I heard, Crystal was floored.

 Southgate knows how to celebrate a birthday!

On Saturday around 2:00 p.m., some of us were in the back, putting the finishing touches on party setup, while Nicole, and some innocent, but very friendly customers, were keeping Crystal distracted up front. As soon as the customers left, we started playing a lively birthday song over the boom-box Rusty brought, signaling the girls to bring Crystal to the back of the store so we could start the party.

Of course, Crystal immediately set her eyes on her pineapple-upside-down bundt cake. It was decorated with flaming spiral candles, as well as a clever little Invader Zim sign and flower centerpiece created by Marie.

After snapping pictures of Crystal with her cake, we all gave Crystal her birthday “card.” You see, it wasn’t actually a card—it was a book all about February 1st. It listed celebrities sharing her birthday, as well as famous events in history that occurred on that date. In the back of the card-book, there was even a chart that shows how many heartbeats, breaths, and meals a person has experienced, depending on her age.

 Nicole Hoff brings out her tongue for Crystal’s birthday at the coins shop

Forgetting about the presents, Rusty brought out the orange Dreamcicle sherbet to complement the modest, but decadent cake. Before we realized she hadn’t even opened her presents, Crystal had already eaten her piece! She finally got around to opening the fairy-queen decorated bag, and inside were three gifts: soothing bath salts, a $25 iTunes card, and the popular Guitar Hero—Legends of Rock videogame.

Now, here are Nicole’s comments on her first birthday celebration at Southgate Coins:

My first birthday celebration at Southgate Coins was filled with excitement and surprise. I had such a difficult time trying to hide the surprise from Crystal throughout the day. Every time I looked at her I had to hide my grinning. It was such a pleasure to see the look on her face when the spirited birthday song started playing throughout the store, and when we (myself and Marie) walked her to the back where Maya, Cara, and Rusty were blowing their birthday noisemakers and laughing. Some of the other girls were pretty reluctant to eat the interesting-looking pineapple-upside-down bundt cake and the orange Dreamcicle sherbet, because most of us had never had either of them before. However, I had no problem eating my share of both, and I even asked Cara if she was going to finish hers, and when she handed me her half-filled plate, I happily gobbled down hers as well! I highly enjoyed Crystal's 25th birthday celebration and I look forward to the parties to come!

Here’s Maya to finish us up:

Needless to say, Crystal was very pleased with her presents, and was surprised at how cunning we’d all been to find just the perfect gifts. Even though she’s a little ambivalent about her 25-year-old status, we all assured her that she’s nowhere close to being “over the hill."

We all hope that Crystal gets many hours of enjoyment out of her gifts, and that her 25th birthday was a day to remember.

Happy Birthday, again, Miss Crystal!

-Maya, Cara, & Nicole

Comments from Crystal:

A very nice birthday!

I thought you’d like to read what I posted on My Space.

"It has been a very nice two days for this birthday of mine. (weekend of Jan. 31/ Feb. 1 2009)It all started yesterday (Saturday January 31) when I went into work and all the lovely people I work with had balloons and signs everywhere saying happy birthday. It was something that seemed so very simple and yet something I have never really experienced at work before. It was so very thoughtful.

Then, when it was the end of the day, I heard the music in our shop turn off. I had an idea what would happen next, but I just continued helping our last customer. As soon as he left, I heard over our loud speakers, birthday music playing. I couldn't help but laugh as I walked to the back and started hearing the kazoos. Everyone was wearing birthday hats (even I got one placed on my head), and then I got seated in the birthday girl seat and we all took pictures. Yes, we take TONS of pictures where I work. My bosses had a pineapple-upside-down cake and orange dreamsicle ice cream waiting for us all to eat. I don't really know about everyone else, but that was freakin awesome cake! (he he he), and anyone that knows me knows I don't like cake (I hate all that frosting). So, it was just perfect.

And then the birthday present (or rather I should say presents) came along. First thing I opened was an Itunes gift card (so sweet)... and before you ask, yes I already spent the gift card. I have been wanting the album by Goddess & She, so I just got that and then I noticed that there was Death Race on Itunes, so I ended up getting that as well… lol. I know I should really have gotten more music because I kind of had an unfortunate downsizing in my music... but, *shrugs* I LOVE Death Race. After the gift card, I opened my next present, and it just happened to be bath salts. I have been kind of lazy in my working out and outdoor activities because of the weather, but man are those salts going to be nice when I start training more again… lol. I may have to hide them though, ‘cause I saw my mom eyeing them… lol jk.  And finally, I opened my last present, and it just so happened to be GUITAR HERO III!!! Lol. That was totally awesome. I just love Guitar Hero.

My bosses really are the absolute best, and there is no way I could forget Maya. All three of them, I know, really took the effort to make my day special. They even went down to the smallest details; like an Invader Zim card on my cake, a SpongeBob balloon, and even one of my favorite places to eat for free lunch Friday. Thanks guys."