Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pop's Birthday Bash ~ Preparations

I loooove surprises – particularly when I am not the recipient of them.

My dad’s 60th birthday was five months ago – according to some people’s math (you know who you are!) that makes today his half birthday. Since we (Dutch, Audrey and I) were unable to attend his birthday extravaganza (thanks to Evangeline who while in utero gave me the ‘gaggy vomits’) we decided to surprise them with tickets to fly down into the desert for our own birthday celebration.

Audrey and I spent all day preparing. We made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and adorned it with fresh blueberries.

We filled Easter Eggs with miniature Almond Joys (his favorite)...

...And spent almost all afernoon crafting an enormous bow for Pop's present.

PLUS we picked up a family favorite movie, "The Italian Job," which is very apropos - for the tone of the weekend and the spirit of the man.

MY FAVORITE PART? Torturing my parents – particularly Mom – who knew nothing other than that they were about to be the recipients of some sort of 'surprise' involving a trip to an undisclosed location.

She called me two nights ago as I was running into the grocery store.

“I can’t stand it,” she squealed (seriously, squealed). “Please tell me.”

“Can’t,” I said matter-of-factly. “Dutch made me promise.”

“Can’t I have just one hint? Just one little one?”

(I know from my spies that she had been trying to needle it out of my brother and sister for days).

“Well…” I said, feigning reconsideration. “I suppose I could give you one hint. But just one little one! And you have to promise not to breathe a word to Dad”

More squeals - this time of delight. “Oh, yes! I promise it will be our secret.”

“Okay… well... I can’t say much but how would you feel about a lifetime supply of singing telegrams?”


“That means you could look forward to one singing telegram every day for the rest of your life.”

More silence. Then: “That would be horrible.”

“I thought so. But how about yours and Dad’s …very own… personal… midget masseuse?” (Sorry if you find this humor distasteful but this is a family joke - Mom hates massage or, as she puts it, "strangers touching me," and has been frightened of midgets for years…).

“This isn’t funny.”

“No, but it’s fun, isn’t it?”

I called again yesterday afternoon.

No answer on Mom’s phones so I left a somewhat urgent message: “Mom, I can’t believe I forgot to ask you before now… but it’s of the utmost importance… for Dad’s surprise… that you pack your snowsuits. Call me as soon as you get this!”

I received a frantic call back 20 minutes later. “Snow suits?! We don’t have snow suits!”

“Well, don’t you at least have hats and gloves? I could manage to get you the suits myself but it will be much easier on everyone involved if you bring your own cold weather accessories.”

“Is this a joke? Where are we going that we will need snow suits?”

“You know I can’t say. But it’s very important that you bring them.”

I made a similar call to Dad 20 minutes later. “Dad, hi. I almost forgot to remind you. Can you pack your splunking hats?”

“B-but I gave my splunking hat away years ago!” (Incidentally, Dad gave an identical response last fall when we planned our trip to be photographed with President Bush in the Oval Office (thanks to my sister, Kate). Dutch (teasingly) suggested that we color-coordinate: me and Mom in blue, Kate in red, and the boys in white suits. Dad's response was not, 'What, are you crazy?' but rather 'I gave my white suit away years ago!').

“That’s too bad," I went on. "I suppose you could rent them but-”

“Are we going in a cave?”

“I really can’t say but I promise you this: you’ll thank me later.”

Finally, on the way to the airport the rents received one last kindly set of calls from yours truly.

“Hi, Heather,” mom said. Her voice was humorless.

“Mom, hi! So glad you answered. Listen, I know it’s last minute but can you run into the airport bookstore and grab a book called Swahili for Dummies?”


“Seriously. You’ll also want a Chinese dictionary.”

“For what?”

“Well…I don't want to give too much away but I promise that when you get to where you’re going, you’ll be so glad you brought them.”

I made my last call to Dad as he was about to go through airport security. “Dad, hi.”

His voice was likewise without mirth.

"Can you go into the bookstore with Mom and grab a book called, Walking Tours of Mexico City? It has a great section on the most polluted areas to avoid; as well as a chapter on which streets have the highest incidence of tourist kidnapping … If there’s one thing that could put a damper on the ‘surprise’ it would be Mom getting kidnapped and having her ear cut off for ransom. ...I want this weekend to be memorable but not in that way."

This time he laughed, hard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is Hi-LAR-ious. I can;t wait to hear what the surprise actually is. Please send our love and birthday wishes to your Dad.

And that cake looks soooo yummy!