Last Thursday, I left directly from work to the airport. I caught a flight to Salt Lake City and was kindly picked up by my father-in-law, who drove me back down to Provo. I had a midnight dinner with my in-laws and went to bed in their very dark guestroom (you will never get such a good night sleep, as you will wake up at 10:00 a.m. and it will feel like the middle of the night).

The reason I was flying across the country on a weeknight was because it was my dad’s 51st birthday this weekend. Last year, Bart and I went to Las Vegas for his 50th birthday bash and good times were had by all. This year, my mom called me a few weeks ago and asked if we’d like to come to Salt Lake and spend the weekend with the family, as they’d be there for Dad’s birthday and they’d also be going to see Frankenstein, which my sister Landen had done all the costume design for.

It took me about half a second to say yes.

It was a bit complicated by the fact that Bart was out of town last weekend and it was a little unclear whether or not he’d be done on Thursday or Friday, but after 9 (no exaggeration) different tickets on Southwest, we got it straight and he flew in from Minnesota on Friday afternoon.

I spent the morning on BYU campus with Landen, feeling so nostalgic it hurt, and then an hour or so with various members of Bart’s family, until my mom called to say “Dad’s in the bathroom, so I’m calling to tell you that we’re here in Provo and you should show up at the costume shop.”

Oh, that’s right. He didn’t know we were coming. There is nothing my family likes more than a good surprise.

I walked into the costume shop and Landen was facing me; my parents had their backs to the door. Landen (who I’d seen that morning), waved at me and my parents both turned around to see who she was waving at.

The look on my dad’s face was priceless. He said later it was like an out of body experience.

We headed up to Salt Lake for a big birthday dinner at my grandparents’ home, as I lied through my teeth about Bart being in Minnesota (he had just landed in Salt Lake). He arrived minutes before we did and when he walked into the living room, we got to watch my dad’s jaw drop a second time.

It was a delightful, wonderful weekend, full of my favorite people, an excellent stage production, and a nice flight passed by reading good books. I’ll have to start saving my pennies to fly out next year.


P.S.: The most amusing part of the weekend was this conversation between me and my four year old niece:

C: Are you pregnant?
Me: No.
C: Well you will be soon. And then that will be a cousin for me. And you and Bart and my cousin can move into my basement.

I’ll have to think about that basement offer.

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  • Reply Karina November 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    sooo cute…about your neice 🙂 And I love surprises too, so that was super fun to read. I had an out of body experience once too…when I delivered my third baby at home. You don't want that kind of out of body experience!

  • Reply Jenny November 6, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    We were living in a parallel universe, crossing time zones…
    I flew my son back HERE from BYU to surprise his dad for Halloween weekend. We took a late night drive into Boston (my Hub fell asleep) and when we pulled up to the curb at Logan, he was so surprised, I think he thought he was dreaming! It was priceless. Nothing I like better than a good surprise. And it was SO good to have our son back for the weekend! I know just how your dad felt.

  • Reply Kristi November 6, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    To think you were so close! I didn't even know to try to feel your presence in the great state of Utah.

    I wish I could fly as much as you, it gives me a twitch just thinking about it! I have to fly in January and I cry a little about it every day. 😛

  • Reply craftyashley November 6, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Basements are perfect for cousins!

  • Reply Packrat November 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Sounds wonderful. I'm crying happy tears.

  • Reply Jess November 6, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Aww, how fun! Your family is so cute.

  • Reply Katie November 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Did you see 30 Rock yesterday? I totally thought of you.

  • Reply Yankee Girl November 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    How fun!!!

  • Reply Peaceful Reader November 7, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Hey, I had a similar experience with a 4 yr-old at a wedding-he breezed past me, put his finger to my tummy and said I was going to have a baby…I did 11 mos. later but didn't know at the time!! Stranger things have happened. Glad you had a fabulous surprise visit!

  • Reply Ben and Summer November 7, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Ahh, I love southwest:). Sounds like a fabulous weekend!

  • Reply megan November 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I love surprises. That is way fun of you guys.

    I heard later that another neice said you might have 14 children. To which you replied you didn't think so. Ah, but "you don't know the future," she came back.

    Had to laugh at those girls! Wish we could have spent more time with you when you were here! Didn't even know you were around on friday–looks like you have a favorite sister in law, which isn't me. Just kidding. Don't answer to that.

  • Reply megan November 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    P.S. I wish I would have known about Frankenstein. Way to go Landon! I hear it was excellent!

  • Reply Anonymous November 8, 2009 at 2:16 am

    You two look mighty comfortable with 4 children.

  • Reply Brianna Soloski November 8, 2009 at 4:09 am

    How cute is your niece? Glad you had a fun weekend. I love surprising people for their birthdays.

  • Reply emandtrev November 9, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I love the conversation you had with your niece! Even better that you got to surprise and be with your dad on his birthday.

  • Reply Beth F November 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    What fun! And I love the basement offer.

  • Reply Kelly December 29, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Janssen, I got behind on blog reading during NaNoWriMo and am just now catching up. I just wanted to tell you that you have JUST the right mix of reviews, personal stories, and other book-related posts on your blog. And you're hilarious to boot!

    I love reading your posts, and catching up all at once like this made me realize how much I've missed you. 🙂

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