Monday, March 10, 2014


My mom turned a year older this year, shocking I know; and as fate may have it my brother and I had something up our sleeves to make this birthday one to remember. In our family, birthdays are a big deal, and we tend to go all out on the one day a year when it is all about the birthday girl or guy. From time to time my brother and I get a wild hair and like to surprise our parents with fun out of the box gifts for their birthdays. This past Christmas Chad and I were unable to travel back to Oregon to spend time with our parents for the holiday. Something happened when we joined the workforce, this thing called responsibility seemed to take hold of our lives and we simply don’t have the opportunities to take time to visit family during the holiday season like we use to. That being said, talk about surprising mom for her birthday came up in December when I realized my work obligations would not allow me the time to fly home for Christmas. I may have been the one that caused the talks to start due to my busy schedule, but my brother….he was the mastermind behind the surprise. After much coordination, discussions with my father, internet searches, many DC to Denver phone calls, plans were set. We were going to fly to Oregon the evening on February 27th Chad and I were going to stay in Portland for the evening, we were going to drive to Lincoln City, get there early (this piece of information is critical to the story), and meet mom and dad at a pre-selected restaurant on the 28th. The plans nearly came to fruition until I was taken on guided architecture tour of Downtown Portland by my architect brother Chad and his girlfriend Ashley who also happens to be an architect. The morning was beautiful, which in February is hard to come by in Portland so our tour ended up taking slightly longer than anticipated resulting in a less than planned late departure. This late departure may not seem like a huge deal to most, however when you have a father who happens to run a tight ship and is typically always prompt, a father who if by the grace of God has his phone on, will never answer it, and a father who when things do not go exactly as planned tends to have difficulty improvising. All of these elements proved to be a huge hurdle when trying to problem solve how to notify daddy that our caravan was running behind schedule so it was essential he stall or he was going to arrive with the birthday girl at said restaurant before we do. I tried to call his cell phone and as anticipated it went immediately to voicemail. I knew we had two choices, 1) we could keep all our toes and fingers crossed for the remainder of the drive, and well that was not going to be comfortable, hoping and praying that we beat them to the coast or 2) I could call mother and figure out a reason in which I needed to talk to dad, in a state in which it is illegal to talk on the phone while driving I guessed mom would ask if she could just relay a message to him. As our caravan saw it, it was a lose lose situation, so I threw caution to the wind and dialed my mother’s cell. It rang……Hello? I thought crap now what do I do, here is the exchange that took place. J: Hey what are you up to? M: Well dad is driving me somewhere. J: Where is daddy driving you? M: I don’t know. J: Well that sounds fun! M: How is the weather there? J: Partly cloudy, we are supposed to get snow tomorrow. M: I think it is supposed to rain here this weekend. As I was making headway the call dropped so I did what I would do any other time a call drops, I called her back M: Sorry we are going through a bad area for cell usage. J: That is okay. J: Can I talk to the man in charge; I would like to know what he has planned for you. M: He is driving, but I can hold the phone up to his ear. J: Great thanks (while thinking to myself……holding the phone up to his ear, I am going to have to be super cryptic incase she can hear me) D: Hello? J: Hi daddy, what are you guys up to? D: Driving mom to Lincoln City. J: That sounds fun. J: How is your day going? D: Good! (my daddy is a man of very few words) J: My day is going well also, I just seem to be running behind in everything I try to do today. D: Me to. D: Well I am driving so I am going to put your mom back on. J: Okay love you daddy! D: Love you. M: Hello? J: So I guess you heard you are going to Lincoln City! J: That will be fun! M: It will be a fun weekend. J: Well I better let you go; I will talk to you tonight. M: Okay, love you! J: Love you. I hung up the phone and received a round of applause from my caravan, Ashley follow-up with ‘well played……partly cloudy’. I felt as though we dodged a bullet and was still confident we were in disguise and mother didn’t catch on. The rest of our drive to the coast was beautiful; in true Jennifer form I embarrassed myself on many different occasions, but as a result kept the car laughing. We talked about how I missed my calling to work for the CIA, any of you who know me, know I did not in fact miss my calling. We talked about Ashley’s deep desire to move to Oregon (I have a little secret; she doesn’t like the rain...the things that make you go ummmm). It was a truly delightful drive and as we neared Lincoln City the anticipation grew. The restaurant we chose to meet at was tucked away a bit and our caravan driver missed the turn, as we drove up the road to turn around I spotted mom and dad….see these eagle eyes of mine, confirmed to everyone in the car that in fact the CIA will be calling to employee me soon. Mom and dad were turning around in the same parking lot we were so the chase began and we followed mother and daddy to the restaurant, we pulled up right beside them. Once the car was in park and when I say once I mean .0000078546 seconds after the car was put in park I jumped out and said “what are you guys doing here?”. I wish I could have taken a picture of my mother’s face, I don’t think she knew what was going on, what to say, or what to even think… was priceless. After our hellos, hugs, and smiles we headed inside for an over the top yummy coastal cuisine.

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