Yay! Marriage survived the birthday surprise!

My husband turned seventy on March 29th. Which, weirdly enough, is also my ex-husbands birthday.

Jim’s son, Jason, made the decision to fly in for the day and surprise his dad. I wanted to save the “kid” (in his 40’s) cab fare so offered to pick him up at the airport. Needed to keep his visit a secret therefore told Jim we were picking up a friend.

“Who?” he asked.

“Charki. And she’s flying in on Southwest, landing in Tampa.” That was the first friend who popped into my brain. Charki lives 45 minutes south of us in St. Petersburg. Charki is a retired United Airlines employee. Naturally she always flies United because it’s free for her.

Happily, Jim didn’t pick up on that odd bit. Truly lovely to be married to a vaguely obtuse man.

We boogied to airport at about 3 p.m. “Charki” was to land at 3:50. Parked in the cell phone lot and began watching the giant light up board for arriving flights. The plane departed from Midway, Chicago. YIPES…there were NO Chicago flights are on the electronic sign.

Jim began to grill me, “Are you SURE it’s coming into Tampa? And you SURE it’s not St. Pete.”
“Yup, I’m certain.”

Five minutes rolled by and again he said, “Are you certain? There are no Chicago flights on the board. I think you should call Doug!” (her husband)
“Don’t have his number” Lie lie lie
“Then call (mutual friends) Brookie and Earl. Get Doug’s number. And
what’s the flight number? You should always get the flight number!”

I couldn’t call from my phone. The call would have been broadcast loudly from my bluetooth, which I have no idea how to disable because that would require reading the manual. I don’t do manuals, I just pound on buttons and turn knobs until (maybe) something works out.

Texted B and E saying, “I’ll be calling, please play along.” Then I called. Hooray, neither picked up.

Emailed Jason, “DO NOT TEXT OR CALL ME WHEN YOU LAND. (damn Bluetooth again)
” JUST EMAIL. And, oh by the way, are you landing in Tampa?” (Please please please be landing in Tampa or I’m toast.)

By now my normally rarely-wants-to-murder-me husband was fuming. No Chicago flights on Big Board. No way to reach Charki. And furthermore, why did Charki not fly directly to St. Pete where she lives?

At long last Jason emailed, “On the ground. Will be standing at Southwest arrival wearing plaid shirt and red back pack.”

“Hooray Jimmy, Charki landed. She will be wearing plaid. And a red back pack.”
That bit caught Jim’s ear….Charki, in plaid? Charki is known for crisp white shirts, flowy scarves, hip jewelry, cute color coordinated cross body bags. When he pointed out the curiousness of this I simply said, “She likes plaid for flying.” Seems I’ve easily grown into being a big fat liar.

We cruised along arrival area until I spotted Jason. Jim, looking keenly for Charki in her unique new ensemble, never noticed Jason until Jason pounded on the driver side window. The look on Jim’s face was worth all the lying, sweating, fretting and enormous anxiety attack.

Secret kept! Cloak and dagger stuff accomplished. Marriage survived! Yay. Altogether great day.

Plus neighbor Lynda baked him an awesome Girl Scout Thin Mints birthday cake. That’s it in the photo. 5 candles, one for every fourteen years. Needed a calculator to figure it out. 🙂 Just to be sure I counted it out with my hoof.

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