So when Dad called me and told me he wanted to surprise Joe by showing up on his 30th birthday, I couldn’t have been happier. I selfishly realized that more family in the house means more help with the whirling dervish (Violet’s new pastime is spinning). Plus, when Dad and Sue are involved, so is good food and drink. We began planning.

I asked Joe if he’d like Rob and I to take him and Merritt out for dinner on Thursday, his birthday. But when he arrived, Dad was standing in the foyer. Joe just stared at him for a second, like he was trying to reboot his brain. Ha! Tricking my brother is just plain fun. Thankfully Merritt knew about the surprise, so she was prepared for the parental onslaught, if not the photo-album montage of Joe’s life they were forced to look at.

We didn’t do much while Dad and Sue were there, except play with Violet, cook, eat and watch crazy storms. Of course they also helped us fix things around the house. (But there is more to do! Oh so much more! A never-ending supply of more!!) On Saturday morning we went to the farmer’s market. Violet got her 6th skinned knee and ate loads of organic strawberries. On Sunday we tried to hike at the greenbelt, but it was closed, probably due to the storms. So we decided to explore the Zilker Park botanical gardens. Luckily for us the Japan Festival was going on. We watched taiko drumming and a kendo martial arts demonstration. Violet got her 7th and 8th skinned knee, one of which was so bad her sock and my shirt looked like horror movie props. She soon fell asleep in her backpack.

Monday came too soon. We had to say goodbye. Violet was in a terrible mood for the next couple days. Apparently Mama is extremely boring. Let’s just hope Apa finishes his airplane soon so they can zip down here more often. Either that, or we win the lotto and are able to quit our jobs and fly where ever and whenever we want.


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