Double Birthday!

September 9, 2020. My son Tyler turns forty! My sister, Linda Sue, turns seventy! How did that happen?!

I’m all about the party. Preparations must be made. Cake! Champagne! Balloons! Dancing girls? Well, I’ve been known to toss a feather boa about…Okay, wait. Pandemic? So, no social gatherings. Oy vey!

I got a request from the birthday girl for a rich chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I decided to splurge and order from the world-famous Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola. Under the present regulations, I went to their website to order the cake well in advance of the forty-eight hour rule. The list of cakes included my favorite Princess Cake, a Chocolate Mousse Cake, German Chocolate, but no plain old Devil’s Food. Surely I missed it. I scoured the list again. Not there. Maybe I’m just not seeing it. I called the bakery. No answer. It was, after all, Labor Day weekend.

I tried again. And again. “Hello! I’d like to order a chocolate cake, please.”

She quipped, “I don’t take cake orders. Hold please.”

I waited. And waited. Finally, “How may I help you?”

I perked up. “I would like to order a chocolate cake for Wednesday.”

“You have to order online.”

“Yes, I tried that. I couldn’t find the chocolate cake so I’m calling.”

“If it’s not on the online menu we don’t have it.”

“I only see German Chocolate or Chocolate Mousse.”

“That’s right. That’s what we have this week.”

“So, I can’t get a regular chocolate cake ?”

“Not this week.”

“But I’m calling you directly. It’s five days away.”

“No chocolate cake this week. Sorry. Have a nice day.”

What??! Well, I’ll just have to call the other best bakery, The Buttery.

I went online to find the cake. There it is! Under the category of Brochure Cakes – “Our Favorite Chocolate Cake.”

Whew! Now to change it from ganache to raspberry filling…should be easy. But no, it cannot be done. I was instructed to go to “custom cakes” for that change. An additional fee will be charged.

This is absurd. I’m just gonna call them. Oh. It says right on the site “for any changes please send us an email. Do not call (there was no phone number anyway).”

I emailed the custom cake department with the request for the raspberry filling and the message to read “Happy 70th Birthday Jackie Rainbow-Gold.” I checked my email every fifteen minutes for a reply. No answer. I still had plenty of time. Patience. I checked the next day. Nothing. I resent the email. I still had four days.

Now the weekend was over and it was only a day before the big birthday. I went to the Safeway site. When my neighbor suggested that a few days ago I had a knee-jerk reaction. “No! No Safeway cake. They use Crisco!”

At one time, many years ago, I made cakes. My home-based company was called “Sweet Cakes.” I know a thing or two about cake. What I also knew was that I did not want to make this cake myself. I hung up my pots and pans ages ago.

I was getting desperate. I pulled up the Safeway order form. Sure enough there was a chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I entered the message. Too many letters! I couldn’t fit the name in. It MUST say Jackie Rainbow-Gold! It simply must.

Breaking out in a sweat I called the Buttery on Tuesday morning. I was panting as I explained the problem to the calm, friendly voice on the phone. She listened patiently while I explained about the email order. I’m glad she answered so I didn’t have to go stomping down to the bakery and do a hands-on-hips confrontation in the style of Grandma Gussie when she suspected her whitefish wasn’t fresh. “What’s your phone number?” she asked. I shouted it out, hoping my confidence would help accomplish the mission.

“Ah, yes, here is your order. The best thing to do is to cancel this one and start a new one which I will take over the phone. Your refund will come in forty-eight hours. What color writing would you like?”

I breathed a sigh of relief. Not five minutes later, and twenty-four hours before I was to pick up the cake, I got a text from my sister. “I’m so sorry, but I have to cancel. Health issues.”

My lips clamped shut into a thin line. No screaming. You can’t argue with an about-to-be seventy-year-old woman about health issues. I would just pick up the cake as scheduled, set it on my dining table, pull out a fork and pop the cork on the bubbly to go with it!

Besides, I was all set to watch my favorite movie, “Princess Bride,” for the fortieth time on my son’s fortieth birthday. If I couldn’t be with him to celebrate in person it was the least I could do in his honor. It was he who introduced me to the 1987 classic so many years ago.

The original cast, including Robin Wright and Cary Elwes, are streaming a reunion performance on Sunday, September 13 which I wouldn’t miss for the world.

Lucky me. My neighbor was able to join me for the cake and bubbly! Happy Birthday to all!

26 thoughts on “Double Birthday!

  1. Always love reading your posts. Just gave Ron an assignment to locate Princess Bride … “CJ viewed it 40 times!”
    PS: Love the way you make lemonade


  2. If I didn’t know that really was a photo of you, I could swear it was a clipping from a magazine. I am always amazed how you turn lemons into lemonade and give us a smile reminding us of the silver lining that lies behind those clouds. Hey if one metaphor is good, two has gotta be better, right!


  3. I loved this story!!!! Seems like when the glass is half empty you find a way to fill it to the brim!!!

    Sent from my iPhone



  4. I really felt your anguish there! It isn’t easy ordering anything, especially cake in these weird times. Your sister missed out on some good-looking cake! I would love to have seen you march into that cake shop, hands on hips…ahem…glad you still had a good time! xxx


  5. Cute story! The Buttery is my absolute favorite. Eric and I ordered our wedding cake from there. Our caterer warned that Gayle’s was way overpriced back in 1995. The bottom and top tier was the chocolate (Ganache in the middle but  white on the outside ). The middle tier was carrot cake. It was great to have two options for our guests and then I didn’t have to choose between my two favorite cakes in the world.  It’s  good that I’m not enamored with Gayle’s. Living so close it would be too much of a temptation. I would have a lot of trouble if I lived this close to the Buttery. Another issue I had with Gayles, besides being overpriced, was when a friend visited a couple years ago and she wanted to walk over to Gail’s for lunch. She ordered a tuna sandwich on a baguette (is it just me?  isn’t that a weird thing to order out?). Anyway the sandwiches as You probably know are pre-made, and displayed in their case. But it didn’t have lettuce on it. My friend asked if she can get some lettuce on it and they said No, they come as is. I said can’t you just put a piece of lettuce on it for her?  They said she could order a side salad and put it on herself (and pay for it). That was the last straw for me  So I was doubly happy to hear that you were finally able to get what you wanted from the Buttery. 



  6. Hi Carolejean! Glad you are still writing & the cake sounds delicious! I’m going to watch “Princess Bride” while I’m making lavender tooth fairy pillows for the sale tomorrow at the MCSC – hope you can stop by 9-12 — take care, stay safe – Your friend, Sue Andre


  7. That was very entertaining! Yes, how covid has changed many things.
    After all your hard work you still got to enjoy cake and champagne. Nicely done:)
    Happy Birthday Tyler!
    Happy Birthday Jackie!


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