It was MY day, bitches.

I probably shouldn’t write this post, but I honestly don’t give a shit.

And that’s a weird way to start a post about my 40th birthday, but seriously, I in no way want to seem as if I am bragging (My sisters will testify that I HATE doing anything that even resembles bragging. They even have a recent example to prove it.), but I have shared almost a decade of my Pittsburgh journey with you guys, and I don’t want to withhold from you this latest, interesting leg of the trip.

So suck it up and read this and feel free to comment about how I’m bragging and a bitch and also how fabulous I look for 40 because 40 … WAH!

Anyway …

I turned 40 last Friday. I’ve already written about how I am not too happy about turning 40. Yes, it’s better than the alternative, but these gray hairs and these wrinkles and these failing eyes and this flabby butt are not endearing me much to 40. Of course, I’ve known my flabby butt since my twenties, but still … 40, you are not welcome here.

40 started out great. Breakfast in bed. Two sets of flowers. Two balloons, one of which informed me that I had crested the proverbial “hill “and was indeed on my way down it. Screaming. In terror. Like a three-year-old approaching the Jack Rabbit’s double dip.

My husband had spent the better part of the previous week being blatantly, intentionally mysterious. Dropped hints about trips. Suitcases. His parents in Mexico.

Were we taking a trip? I secretly hoped not because while if YOUR husband handed YOU two tickets to Greece and an already packed suitcase, you’d probably jump into his arms and try to rip his pants off in ecstasy, that’s pretty much my worst nightmare. Not the sex. The travel.

I need to prepare for travel. I need to take care of shit. I need to get my affairs in order. I need to mentally prepare myself for getting on an airplane.  For possible burny death.

I know. I need drugs or something.

Anyway, my husband headed for the restaurant for the day and left me to be nervous about whatever the hell he had planned. I knew we were going to dinner, but that was it.

Fast forward to about 4:00 p.m. when my mother arrived to pick up my children so that we could have our date night. And she said, “Gin, since you’re going away for a few days, why don’t I –”

And I said, “WHAT?! AM I GOING AWAY?! AM I GOING TO DIE IN A PLANE CRASH TOMORROW?! INTO WHICH OCEAN WILL I BE PLUNGING?!” Internally, I hit my knees in prayer.

Mom looked aghast. Threw her hands over her mouth and quickly ushered the kids out the front door without saying another word to me.

A while later, my husband drove us to the South Side. I was sure we were heading for my favorite South Side spot Dish Osteria for dinner, but he pulled into Nakama valet. “For a drink.”

Ugh.

I sucked down a cosmopolitan like it was a tequila shooter and demanded to know where we were going. What were we doing. I AM 40 AND YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE ME A FRICKING HEART ATTACK.

Maybe that was the plan. Kill me at 40 so I can’t complain about 50.

Drinks imbibed, we retrieved my filthy momdorkmobile from valet.

“We need to swing into the Pirates offices to pick up my tickets for next week and then we’ll go on from there.”

Huh?

His cell phone rings. “Yeah? Hi, Jordan [our sales rep]. We’re almost there. Where will you be? Okay. See you in a few.”

Huh?

At PNC Park, I started to get it when we headed inside and suddenly there were employees directing us to the 3000 Club.

SURPRISE, GINNY!

Look who is here! All of your family! Many of your friends!

But wait. Look who is also here. Your nutty OCD sister who had a mental breakdown just a few months ago. She got on an airplane for the first time in more than a decade to be here.

And that got me. Because she got on an airplane. For me. If you’ve ever read her blog, you understand what a huge, huge, huge deal that it. Inconceivable six months ago. Completely inconceivable. She didn’t attend our sisters weekend last fall because she couldn’t get on a plane.

So I cried. Because it meant she was really well. Finally, she was whole again. Here’s my ugly-cry face. Memorize it. You won’t see it again until the Bucs win the World Series:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.18.08 AM

But that’s not all, Ginny. Close your eyes because we have another surprise!

I opened my already teary eyes to find myself staring into the face of my best friend from college who I had not seen since 1996 on account of the fact that I live in Pittsburgh and she lives in Newfoundland, Canada.

I was stunned that my husband was actually listening to me when I talked about her. That he contacted her and managed to get her there. Can you imagine how creepy that would have seemed? “Hi! I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Can I get you a hotel room in Pittsburgh?”

So I cried some more. Who knew 40 makes you so damn weepy all the damn time. And sweary. Really sweary.

Damn.

Shit.

Hi, dad.

As the evening progressed, someone special swung by.

Mayor Bill Peduto. And here’s why I had to write this. Because he walked in and took control of the room like a badass, asked for quiet and then boom.

Proclamation. That he wrote. Himself.

proclamation

peduto

I almost cried. Especially at the part about all my faults.

Hah! Kidding.

Remember how much I’ve made fun of people with proclamations? About ridiculous days named after people we’ve never heard of? Remember that?

I’m one of those people now.

A hundred years from now they’ll be looking through old books in city hall all, “Wow. Books. Haven’t seen one of these in 20 years,” and they’ll find the proclamation copy and say, “WHO THE FRACK IS VIRGINIA MONTANEZ?!”

So I had a day. It was proclaimed. Virginia Montanez Day. And I didn’t know about it until 8:00 p.m.

And I was like, shit (sweary!), I have only four hours TO RULE. THIS. CITY.

I wanted to run yellow lights with the proclamation held up to the windshield. Suck it, traffic light camera. It’s my day. I would make duck lips and the peace sign. Ticket THIS.

I wanted to jaywalk while holding it in the air like Lloyd Dobler and a boombox. (If you don’t know who Lloyd Dobler is, you must leave now on account of your disgusting youth. Gross.)

I wanted to kick down Dunkin Donuts’ doors and demand free pastries.

Park for 30 minutes in a 15-minute loading zone.

Find Lukey and do the running man dance in front of him.

runningman

Punt pigeons all, “It’s MY CITY, VERMIN BITCHES (all the swears!). POW!”

But I stayed at the party and had a blast.

Look at my gorgeous sisters, including the crazy one who got on a plane:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.57.57 AM(Left to right: Princess Aurora, Ta-Ta, the 40-year-old Virginia, Tina Fey, and Pens Fan)

 

Look at my mom and dad:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.59.08 AM

Look at me showing them how I was going to cross every street, outside of the crosswalk, until midnight:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.59.16 AM

Haters gonna hate.

And look who else showed up:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.05.36 AM

 

That’s David Conrad surrounded by my nieces and nephews who are all big “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” fans. He is the bad guy on that show, but he is truly a good Burgher.

(I am six episodes behind. If he is no longer the bad guy, DO NOT TELL ME.)

My sister Marcia (OCD Tina Fey) gave out a scream when she saw him. And then I realized that 60% of the reason she got on an airplane and risked burny death was because there was a 50% chance she was going to meet him.

Bitch. (Swears!)

So many more wonderful friends I’ve made since I started this blog arrived. It was touching. Unexpected. Sally Wiggin gave me a shirt that says “Ohio.”

I turned 40, and it didn’t suck.

Also, if you got a parking ticket in the City of Pittsburgh on May 30, 2014, get at me.

I think I can cancel those for you.

[awkward kung fu moves]

 





30 Comments

  1. Mary Lou Bradley
    June 4, 2014 11:17 am

    Virginia – I am here to testify that 40 is not so bad. You look at all these little pishers in their 20s and 30s and laugh knowing that they still have to figure it out. I think your party looked fabulous. I hope you have a great year!



  2. redpenmamapgh
    June 4, 2014 11:18 am

    You are at the top of your game, Ginny. The 40s rock, and I’m betting yours are going to be spectacularly spectacular. Have a great year until your next day!!



  3. rose
    June 4, 2014 11:19 am

    But you don’t even live in Pittsburgh!!!

    ;)

    Happy birthday, young’un.



  4. AngryMongo
    June 4, 2014 11:25 am

    There needs to be addendum “WHEREAS Portland will suck it.” Because we have you and they don’t!



  5. elizabeth
    June 4, 2014 11:49 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a fantastic birthday! So spectacular! Wishing you all the best in your new decade :)



  6. SusanV
    June 4, 2014 12:09 pm

    What a great day! That is fantastic! Happy birthday!



  7. Suz
    June 4, 2014 12:18 pm

    What a way to step in to your 40′s! Your husband sounds awesome. Wishing you the best year ever.



  8. Tina Fey
    June 4, 2014 12:21 pm

    It was actually 50% you/50% David Conrad. And don’t tell him, but he and I are dating. Love you!



  9. tee
    June 4, 2014 12:36 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    This post made me all teary and smiley. I love seeing all the love you were given and deserved. You look spectacular!



  10. tee
    June 4, 2014 12:37 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    This post made me all teary and smiley. I love seeing all the love you were given and deserve. You look spectacular!



  11. Allison
    June 4, 2014 12:38 pm

    Dude. What an amazing experience! Happy Birthday.



  12. SteelCityMagnolia
    June 4, 2014 12:39 pm

    I had a much harder time with 30 than I did 40… and that was um…. well… let’s just not say how many years back that was, even though it wasn’t THAT many!!!

    As I was reading this, I’m thinking “Oh, dear God, please DON’T LET HER HUSBAND HAVE PACKED HER SUITCASE FOR A VACATION!!!” I’d be more upset over that than someone surprising me with a trip. Because men just don’t pack like women do!

    What a wonderful surprise your husband planned…. He’s definitely a keeper, Ginny. Definitely! Happy, happy birthday!!!! I’ll be proud to celebrete Virginia Montanez Day every year!



    • bucdaddy
      June 9, 2014 8:50 am

      “Because men just don’t pack like women do!”

      Sexist.

      During the great Flood of 1985, my wife had just gone back to work after having our daughter. I was alone in our apartment with our 1-month-old and warily eyeing the dyke holding back the Roanoke River from our apartment complex. I dozed off on the couch. When I woke, I looked at the clock for a minute, and noticed it wasn’t running. That must mean the power is off. That must mean oh shit.

      We lived on the third floor. I opened the door to find an elderly neighbor from the first floor, sitting in the breezeway, with a few of her belongings.

      The entire complex was flooded, and eventually would be up the the top of the first floor.

      The neighbor lady was in a panic. She’d lost everything. I had her come in and gave her the job of watching the baby to a) get her to focus on something and calm down, and b) since I’d noticed some people with power boats ferrying residents out of the complex, I (here’s where you need to pay attention, SCM) packed a bag with clothes for my wife and I for a couple days and all the baby stuff I could fit in.

      We eventually took that power boat out and wound up in a disaster center at the Salem, Va., civic center. I actually made a nest in the bag I packed for the baby to sleep in. Some very kind women kept an eye on her while I stood in a long line to use the phone and eventually contact my wife, who was holed up across town. We arranged a meeting place and an awesome hero of a man drove us across town, around flooded roads and downed trees and all that, to our reunion.

      We lived with one of my wife’s employers for a couple days until we could get back into our apartment. My wife was astonished that I’d thought to pack everything we needed.

      So tell me again how “men just don’t pack like women do!”

      :-)



  13. Emilie
    June 4, 2014 12:50 pm

    But wait – did you end up going out of town? Either way – happy birthday. 40 looks fabulous on you (and PS your butt is NOT flabby!!) xo



    • Virginia
      June 4, 2014 12:52 pm

      No. My mom was just messing with me! Evil. And those jeans are deceptive. Flabby butt!



  14. Juli
    June 4, 2014 12:53 pm

    You rock! I no longer live in Pittsburgh but I grew up in the area and attended PPU. Over 20 years later and currently living in NC, my heart STILL belongs to Pittsburgh. Happy Birthday – welcome to the sexy 40+ group!



  15. matt
    June 4, 2014 1:10 pm

    Although I think this whole post is fantastic, I really like your mom for messing with you.



  16. Pa-pop
    June 4, 2014 1:23 pm

    Outstanding proclamation! Be sure to make a laminated wallet-size copy for those days when you might need a get-out-of-jail-free card. Best belated birthday wishes from your admirers up the Turnpike in the YO.



  17. Barb
    June 4, 2014 1:28 pm

    What a great birthday surprise! Love the Mayor’s proclamation and all of your surprise guests! Happy Birthday!



  18. Cassie
    June 4, 2014 2:26 pm

    GIRL. Brag all damn day! This is awesome!! He forgot to mention all the things you do for sick kids. SICK KIDS LOVE YOU!

    Happy Birthday!



  19. bluzdude
    June 4, 2014 2:48 pm

    This post almost made ME teary-eyed, right down to my crusty heart.

    Yinz looked amazing. I’m so happy that Tina Fey made it!

    Now, you have to see to it that the Mayor ensures that EVERY May 30th is Virginia Montanez Day.

    I love that so many of your regular subjects (as in topics, not those over whom you rule) showed up. I just feel sorry for your husband now, who will have to work even harder to top this, in another 10 years.

    Happy birthday!



  20. Suzie-Q
    June 4, 2014 5:42 pm

    Happy…Happy Birthday Ginny!!! You are an incredible YOUNG woman….enjoy the new decade that is about to be upon you!! And please keep doing all of the wonderful things you do to help others…and to bring such goodness to the Burg!!!



  21. Ginny's Dad
    June 4, 2014 7:21 pm

    It was a great party but there are some losers in all the festivities. Can you imagine what Chad and Jason will have to do in a couple years when Princess Aurora and Pens Fan turn 40? Instead of PNC Park, the twins will expect Heinz Hall. Instead of the Mayor, David Conrad and Sally Wiggin, the guys will have to get the Governor, Scott Baio and Diane Sawyer. Thankfully, I am off the hook because Mom has been stuck on 39 for over 20 years. If she ever decides to turn 40, I will probably call David for help.



  22. Lisa B
    June 4, 2014 9:41 pm

    WOW. Wow wow wow. I’m so happy to see that you got back some of that wonderful love for the Burgh and its people that you spread around every day. That birthday was almost…almost as fab as you are, girl!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!



  23. Estelle Accrossthepond :-)
    June 5, 2014 2:55 am

    OMG Virginia!

    This is AMAZING! You writing is so smooth and you are SUCH a WONDERFUL writer and person!
    The fact your family and friends gathered up to celebrate you proves how wonderful you are… and now a DAY states it too, for your dedication and love to Pittsburgh.

    I get how freaky this can be, when people want to surprise you and have you litterally RUN into what turns out to be a lie… sweet lie for the love of you :-)
    Have great friends here who did this for me too on “milestone BDays”…
    I think I’ll celebrate my own 40th several times, including one in Pittsburg HA!
    And it’ll happen quite fast…
    Will make sure to invite you and to check with you the best spots to hang out, dance etc.

    So you have YOUR DAY! Yeeeee-haaaaaaw!
    With the title of your post, I thought: “Man, who tried to steal her thunder? On her BDay???”
    Am beyond relieved and happy :-)
    I LOVED the comment written by “Ginny’s dad” ;-p

    You have amazing friends and family!
    Thank you for your spontaneity, your great writing and your sharing your experiences and love of Pittsburgh!

    Much love and a warm friendly hug from the old continent,
    xxx



  24. Robin
    June 5, 2014 1:59 pm

    My gosh, what an AWESOME birthday surprise. You are loved, girlie!



  25. bucdaddy
    June 9, 2014 9:11 am

    Your sisters are adorable, but YOU … YOU are the hot one.

    And I ain’t just sayin’ that.

    And you’re young enough that if we went out together (just one time, David, OK? Promise I’ll have her home by 6 a.m., maybe 7 at the latest, OK noon) people would be all, “Dirty old man out with the young, hot chick, who does he think he is blah blah blah.” It’s all relative when you’re standing next to a (going) silver gentleman of 57.

    I also think if you asked Mrs. Daddy, she’d LOVE to be 40 again. For one (very big) thing, it doesn’t sound like you’re within spitting distance of menopause yet. Go through that motherf***er and THEN you can talk about feeling your age. And from my POV, there’s a lot you need to do before you get there, every day and maybe twice on Sundays, if you get my drift, because certain abilities … they can be taken from you. It’s one of the many nasty tricks nature plays on women.

    In the meantime, though, you are, as a woman, at the height of your physical knowledge and power, and you still have a window of time to exercise them, flabby butt (I call bullshit) and all. You are one of nature’s most beautiful, awesomely designed creatures. You know who you are and you know what you want and you know what you’ve got. You are free of the tedious bullshit and games so many younger people concern themselves with. You see the bigger picture, you are blessed with perspective. You know there’s a larger world outside your personal universe, and you fully engage that world, do your best to make it better. I’m certain that like the rest of us you have your problems and disappointments. In that, you are never alone.

    But as a follower since the PittGirl days, even though I’ve never met you in person, I feel like I’ve lived your life right alongside you. You are a marvelous and brave and funny and fearless writer and human being and goddamnit I am tearing up sitting here writing this, so I can’t go on any more.

    Happy birthday.



  26. Katie
    June 17, 2014 11:27 am

    I love your blog, and I love this post. I’ve been a reader for several years now, and to me you are a local celebrity and deserve a day. So much so that when I turned around at the Arts Festival last week and saw you two feet away from me, I gasped. (Was it your daughter next to you who looked at me like I was crazy?) Then I ran over to my friend and whispered, “Oh my God! It’s PittGirl!!! Over there, with her family!” I’m pretty sure my reaction would have been the same if you had been Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams.



  27. Virginia
    June 17, 2014 12:48 pm

    Aw. You should have said hello! I always always always have time for Burghers. Next time …