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Put a Sock in It

A text from me to Cap’n Firepants regarding an afternoon surprise for our daughter.

Can you guess what the surprise was?

Cap’n Firepants came home from work to take us out for lunch – and a few other things.  Our daughter, Dimples (9), a summer flip-flop gal asked us, before leaving the house, “Are we going anywhere after?”  She held out one foot with her new leopard-print flats adorning it.

The Cap’n and I looked at each other.

“Why do you want to know?” I casually asked.  At the same time, the Cap’n blurted, “Why don’t you wear your new tennis shoes?”

Have I mentioned that the Cap’n is horrible at keeping secrets?

“She doesn’t need to wear her tennis shoes.  Why would she need tennis shoes if all we are doing is going to lunch?” I said, very slowly, turning to open my eyes very wide at him.  This is my secret way of saying, “Shut up, Cap’n Firepants!”

“O-o-kay,” Dimples said.

On the way to our surprise destination, Cap’n Firepants took the most ridiculous circuitous route possible, weaving behind strip malls, and taxing my “Take the straightest line possible to your goal” obsessive/compulsive mini-disorder to its greatest extent.  This was partly because he did not want Dimples to know where we were going until the last possible minute, and partly because he did not know where we were going at the last possible minute.

“Where?” he loudly whispered to me when were almost there.

“Best Buy,” I hissed.

When we finally arrived at our destination, I said, “Surprise!” to Dimples in the back seat.

“I knew where we were going before we got in the car,” Dimples grinned.  And she wasn’t lying.  I could tell.

“What gave it away?” I asked.

“When Dad told me to put on tennis shoes.”

I glared at Cap’n Firepants as I whipped out the neon green socks I had secreted in my purse.

“You can still bowl, though, because I brought your socks!” I bragged.

“I know,” she said.

She may not have been surprised, but she was happy.  Dimples’ dimples were in full evidence as we bowled and skee-balled and wheel-of-fortuned our afternoon away at Main Event.

My one fervent hope is that she inherited our crappy ability to lie.  That could come in handy during her teenage years…

Now, Who’s the Control Freak?

Anyone who has ever met my husband, Cap’n Firepants, will probably agree with me that “spontaneous” would not be included in his list of character traits.  Unless you were to say, “He is a man who might spontaneously combust if you throw him into unpredictable situations.”  Therefore, on the Cap’n’s 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago, I felt that I was doing him a favor by at least giving him a card with the directions to not plan anything for the last weekend in March.  I felt like two weeks would be ample time for him to prepare for an “unplanned” adventure.  In retrospect, it does not seem very logical, I suppose, to tell a man whose father had a heart attack on his 40th birthday that I am going to take him to an unknown place using an unknown method of transportation to participate in unknown activities at an approximate date and time.

I finally revealed where were going the day before the trip.  Cap’n Firepants seemed happy to be leaving town, and that we would be using the automobile as our sole method of transportation.  I probably could have told him that we were heading to a shack in Death Valley, and he would have been fine as long as we didn’t have to fly.

As usual, several factors conspired to make us leave later than planned.  Which added to my stress level because I had another surprise waiting for him in Fredericksburg – our destination point.  But, we finally left town, and I allowed him to choose our route as long as he promised not to offend my virgin ears with streams of obscenities if we ran into any traffic.  Which we did.  And he didn’t.

We arrived in Fredericksburg, and I immediately rushed the Cap’n to drop off our bags at the hotel and walk to Main Street, declaring that we had reservations at a local restaurant, the Fredericksburg Brewing Company, for dinner.

We did not have reservations.  As a matter of fact, Fredericksburg Brewing Company does not even accept reservations.  And that could have ruined the next surprise.

Entering the restaurant, my moment of truth swiftly greeted me.  If something didn’t happen before the hostess swooped on us, I was going to have to admit that we had no reservation, and the Cap’n was going to think receive further confirmation that I am a lunatic for rushing him for no reason.  Or, I could start yelling at the hostess, claiming that someone on the phone had taken my reservation, and demanding to be seated at once.  Thereby making it Cap’n Firepants’ worse birthday gift ever because he is absolutely mortified by any public confrontations.  The last time I asked the waiter to bring a straw that he had promised, the Cap’n turned beet red at my gall.

But then the Cap’n saw them.  Our cousins, the Globetrotters, seated casually at one of the tables, waving.  They had driven down from Houston to help him to celebrate his heart attack special birthday.

Surrounded by family – and the immense beer stills of the brewery – the Cap’n was finally able to relax.  Of course, that’s only because he didn’t know that I had a couple of other surprises up my sleeve…

photo credit: The Fresh Dish

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