Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nan's Charmed Birthday

The Cleveland Cavaliers playing the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 8, 2010Nan's birthday is today, but since today is a Monday, we celebrated over the weekend instead. Last year, we stayed in Grand Junction and went ice skating. I know, it would be hard to top that! Well, when I started looking for something fun to do, I discovered that the Denver Nuggets would be playing the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, January 8, at the Pepsi Center in Denver. I gritted my teeth and clicked the "Best Available" button on the tickets website. The tickets were expensive, but I figured, when would we ever get to see LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal play again?

We had good weather and light traffic for the drive to Denver. When we pulled up in front of the Hotel Monaco, the valet informed us that because we were driving a hybrid, the parking fee would be reduced by half. Nan mentioned at the front desk that we were there to celebrate her birthday, and the clerk upgraded us to a suite. And when I plugged in the laptop, I found out we belonged to the hotel's free Internet access program.

We had dinner reservations at The Capital Grille before the game. We had never eaten there before, but we had heard only good reviews so we were eager to try it. They must have known it was Nan's birthday. The table was decorated for the occasion and there was a gift card for a free dessert. The food, wine and service were excellent. As we were finishing our dinners, one of the restaurant's partners, Charlie Sauter, came over and chatted with us like we were old friends. If he had been a dog person instead of a cat person, I would have offered to send him a copy of Raising Charlie. A little while later, while we were eating Nan's birthday dessert and sipping coffee, Charlie came back to tell us that a person who preferred to remain anonymous had picked up our dinner bill. We thought he was joking, but he took the bill from the table and walked away with it. We were so overjoyed that we slipped our server Sydney an extra tip and a hug as Charlie escorted us out of the restaurant.

Feeling flush, we decided to take a bicycle rickshaw to the Pepsi Center. Our driver Chris wove deftly in and out of traffic while Nan and I sat in the back, awed and laughing at his fearlessness. He dropped us right at the door, and we rode the escalators up to our seats. As you can see from the photo, they weren't too bad. That's LeBron at the free throw line and Shaq back at the center line. The Nuggets played extremely well, despite missing Carmelo Anthony from their line-up, and squeaked out a 99-97 victory in the closing seconds.

It certainly was a charmed day for Nan's big celebration. When I told a friend about it today, he said she should have bought a lottery ticket!

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