Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Great Thanksgiving Surprise of 2008

Last week I was homesick. Very homesick. Because I go home for Christmas each year, I almost never go home for Thanksgiving. It's hard to justify paying for two plane fares in such a short amount of time. But since I was very, very homesick (did I mention I was homesick?), I decided to check out fares. And last Tuesday I found (and promptly purchased) a roundtrip ticket from Denver to Seattle for $154.

I needed accomplices, so I told my sisters Sarah and Bekah. Sarah would have the biggest secret-keeping challenge because she lives with my parents. Bekah and her husband, Ezra, agreed to pick me up at the airport. Yesterday I received and encouraging text message from Sarah: "Mom and Dad don't have a clue!" I arrived Wednesday night without a hitch and spent the night at Bekah and Ezra's.

This morning I helped Bekah prepare part of the meal. She and Ezra were hosting his family and ours — a total of 13 guests! As we prepared the food we plotted. "I think you should hide and wait for a few minutes after they get here," Bekah suggested. "It would be more dramatic."

So around 1, when the Hadfam rolled in, I scurried upstairs and waited in the hall. Unfortunately, my dad almost immediately got on the phone with my uncle. Ten minutes later he handed off the phone to my mom so she could talk to my aunt. Sarah came upstairs to say hi and sympathize about my predicament. It was then that she suggested a brilliant plan: When my parents were off the phone, she would ask them to pose for a picture. She would count to three and start rolling video, at which time I would burst forth with my surprise.

Mom finally got off the phone and I heard my cue. I raced down the stairs. The look on their faces was pure shock. Then Mom hugged me and cried and everyone cried. It was great. So I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. And it's kind of special when you get to make others' holidays extra-special. I told Mom and Dad I hoped this wouldn't cause disappointment in the future when I don't show up. Dad's response was that they'll just get me home every year. Yay! Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

(If you have Facebook you can
watch the video.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dad's Math: Starbucks Gold Card

Sometimes it proves very helpful that my dad is an accountant. Here's his take on the Starbucks Gold Card:

Break even on the card is $4.81 purchases average per week.


$4.81 times 52 weeks in a year equals $250.12 purchases per year.
$250.12 times 10 percent equals $25.01 savings

So.... if you think you will buy $250 or more at Starbucks in a year ($4.81 average per week) the Starbucks Gold Card is for you. :)

Brother Matt's comment: "Already got one! $4.80 per week is chump change."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Don't Like Cake

I've felt this way for some time, but I've finally decided to admit it. I showed signs of cake-hate at an early age. I would ask my mom to make me banana bread or a chocolate chip cookie cake for my childhood birthday parties. I don't remember a single birthday where I requested traditional cake.

I realized today that my dislike of cake has probably spared me a significant number of office calories. After all, we celebrate most things around here — birthdays, anniversaries, going-aways — with cake. Usually the standard kind — chocolate or white with lots of fluffy frosting. Ew. Not tempting.

Now a good chocolate chip cookie or a brownie — THAT is a temptation. Fortunately, American offices are obsessed with cake. And not to brag, but I'm not too keen on ice cream either. Don't worry. Christmas cookies are around the corner, and I'm sure their presence will push me to the brink. In the meantime, I can have my cake and (not) eat it, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Second Cousins

I snitched these pics from my cousin Brooke's Facebook page. Last weekend, before my adventure in the Dallas airport, I spent a few days with Brooke and her family in Charlotte. The fall colors were gorgeous! Here are a few pics of me with my second cousins, Caroline (5) and Claire (1 1/2). Caroline calls me her "big cousin."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This is What I Live With

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

17-Hour Airport Adventure

This weekend I went to Charlotte, NC, for a writers conference. I stayed the weekend, so I could spend time with my cousin and her family. I had a wonderful time.

Yesterday, I arrived at the airport four hours early because that was a convenient time for my cousin to give me a ride. No problem. I love airports, and I enjoyed rocking in the famous rocking chairs that line the main corridor of the Charlotte airport.

I arrived at Dallas/Fort Worth at 5:30 p.m. My connecting flight didn't leave until 8:45, so I decided to enjoy a sit-down meal at Chili's. That's when I met Ramón. They seated him right next to me. Since the tables were in awkwardly close in proximity, I struck up a conversation with the college-aged guy. I found out he was from Switzerland and was traveling around the U.S. visiting people he knows from, get this, the professional skate slalom circuit. He's a professional long board skateboarder and slalom skateboarder. He was flying to Denver; I was flying to Colorado Springs.

We enjoyed a nice chat over dinner and then I walked to my gate. A few hours later the trouble began. A severe lightning storm shut down the airport for over an hour. All flights to Denver were cancelled. Soon I saw Ramón walking my direction. Since, the flight to Colorado Springs was not cancelled, he asked if I would know a place where he could stay should he be able to get on my flight. I called Jared, who was quite willing to host an International houseguest and even offered to drive Ramón to Denver the next day.

Thus the wait began. Ramón was able to get a seat next to mine, and our plane was set to leave on a slight delay. Soon word came that the flight that would be taking us to Colorado Springs was unable to land and had gone to Lubbock to refuel. The verdict: Our flight would not leave until 10:40. They sent us from gate 31 to gate 37 and then back to gate 31, which amused us. Ramón and I found a kiosk with free Internet and he took several videos as the weird happenings began. For example, at about 10:55, a crew of guys wearing hard hats and reflective vests approached the kiosk.

"I'm sorry, folks," the foreman said. "But we're going to have to disassemble that and move it 6 inches to the right. Fire hazard." Then the cots started coming out — every few minutes we'd be offered one. And there was the random police officer riding the two-wheeled upright scooter, which I thought looked like an old-school lawn mower. He kept zooming back and forth, and he wore a helmet.

Then the departure time slipped from 10:40 to 11:10 to 11:25. Our plane actually took off at 12:30 a.m., seven hours after we had arrived in Dallas. But I had a friend. And he showed me amazing pictures of European cities where he'd skated: Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna. Our good humor continued until I dropped him off at Jared's. He pulled out a Swiss chocolate bar. "It's such a small gift," he said, "for your help." But, of course, I thought it was a sweet ending to a, crazy day.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Little Fall Fun

Friday night I attended my church's costume party for fifth and sixth grade. My friends Courtney and Kelsey won most creative costumes and best duo. Anyone craving a hot dog?

I went as a hippie because I had the costume left over from my 70s birthday party. However, sixth graders don't seem to be familiar with the concept.

Jacob: What are you?

Me: A hippie.

Jacob: What's a hippie?

Me: What do you think it is?

Jacob: A bum?


Anyway, most kids thought I was a pirate or a gypsy. And I suppose I can see their point. The scarf and bangle bracelets made me reminiscent of each. By the way, this brunette wig is one of the best purchases I've ever made. I've worn it in costume six times.

After departing the costume party, I went to Grace and Abe's and played a little laser tag with Sarah Palin, a ninja and a member of Motley Crue.

Sarah also brought these darling cupcakes. She really can do it all! I wondered why I felt so terrible today; then I realized I'd eaten WAY more sugar this weekend than usual. Step away from the candy.