Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Perils of a Big Surprise

So over the weekend we flew to Alberta as a surprise for my hubbie's family.  His grandmother really wanted us there for her Christmas dinner (this is the year everyone is going away for Christmas so family dinners were scheduled earlier).    So she decided to fly us out as a surprise.   

Surprises are always somewhat complicated - what is the cover story/what are the real details/who knows/who can't be told for any reason?????  But for us the surprise was further complicated by social media, forgetfulness and the weather. 

Who was in on it?  Omi, me, hubbie and his father (as this was a celebration with the mom's side of the family we felt he would be a good reliable conspirator) 

#1 - Social Media Silence

Why social media?  While my hubbie's family couldn't be told, his friends could.  But hubbie didn't think he needed to tell his friends it was a surprise, as they don't talk to his family.  He forgot about that big melting pot of friends and family... facebook.  So I kept getting facebook wall questions about our trip.  Thankfully they all got removed before they were seen. 

Then there is my affection for twitter.  After I tweeted about waiting on the phone for West Jet for 2 hours, it occured to me I would have to go into "twitter radio silence" about our trip.  Now my brother and sister-in-law aren't super active on twitter, but they might notice if I was tweeting about a trip to Calgary.   And since I tweet about almost everything it was hard to keep my big mouth shut for 2 weeks.

#2 - The car seat

Got to the airport and as we were checking in we realized we had left the car seat in the car... which had by now left and was driving home.  PANIC!!!  Now my sister-in-law (SIL) in Calgary usually has an extra seat... but we can't call her or we'd give up the surprise.

So my father-in-law had to stop and buy us a new car seat on his way to airport to pick us up.   Now we really didn't need a new car seat, as we already have 2 at home.  But he didn't have time to rent one and couldn't figure out a viable lie to get the one from SIL.

So with our brand new car seat we were driven to Red Deer, met by Omi and then drove out to her place at the lake.  Got settled into the house... realized how dreadful the dial-up internet was and waited for people to start to show up the next day.  But they didn't!!! 

#3 - The Storm

A huge snow storm hit Southern Alberta on the Friday and highways were closed or labelled critical. 

Now what do you do when you are stuck inside in a snow storm?  Go online is likely a common answer.  Besides it being painfully slow, I also couldn't bitch about the weather or the family will figure something out.  So what do I do?   I gloat about the Vancouver weather of course!   Hey I had to do something... Mommy boredom mixed with a toddler going stir crazy is a bad mix. Something had to be done.

#4 - The Dinner

The big dinner was planned for Sunday and the fingers were all crossed that the weather would clear. It did. But then the family started to talk about car pooling... well that would 'kill' our ride back to Calgary.   Again we couldn't ask anyone to leave space in their car for the 3 of us and our luggage.   Thankfully Omi talked them out of that without giving anything away (that woman really does lie well on the fly... kind of scary reall).

#5 - The Surprise

Hubbie's mom arrive at the house a few hours before the dinner.  Omi told her she was babysitting a neighbours kid and we let the little guy run into the room.  She stared at him and said "Boy does that little kid ever look like T".  Then I stuck my head out and my MIL's jaw dropped to her knees.  The best part of a surprise is when it is a real surprise.  Same went with her husband as he arrived from the car a few moments later.

The rest of the family was met at the restaurant with similar surprise and excitement.  I can't believe that Omi had done such an excellent job at lying that there were even gifts for us there (she had told everyone she was coming out to vancouver on Dec 26th for the holidays and to bring our gifts with them.... she really really is a good liar). 

Dinner was fantastic. Seeing everyone was fantastic.  Omi was so happy with everything.  Plus because of the storm she got to spend a very intimate weekend with her great grand son. 

As for us. Thankfully we were able to squeeze our stuff (split between 3 cars) and ourselves back to Calgary, where we had a little after party at my SIL's house.  It really was a lovely Christmas family celebration.  

And then we realized bear and bunny got left behind at Omi's house.... but that is another story.


  1. That sounds hectic and crazy but I'm glad it all worked out well!...with the exception of forgetting bear and bunny. I don't think forgetting kitty and bunny would go over very well at all!

  2. This is like an edge of your seat thriller. I'm glad you were able to pull it off! And I hope that bear and bunny are home safe and sound really soon.

  3. Amber - Thankfully Omi put the pair on the greyhound and the little guy only had to spend 1 night without them. Cause that 1 night was looooooong enough.