For my birthday on Thursday, Terry gifted me a voucher for a trip back to Orlando to spend some time with family. He knows how much they mean to me and how much I miss them and it was an amazing, touching, generous gift. Given that so much is going to be changing at work and how busy it’ll be for the next quarter, on top of it being uncertain mom is going to be living there, I cashed it in the very next day and spent the weekend with them.
I worked it out with Kevin to have the visit be a complete surprise: Aubrey and mom had no idea. I left Phoenix on Friday morning and, including the time change, I got into Orlando at 4:15 and Kevin picked me up curbside. There weren’t any solid plans crafted for the surprise. Since this was pretty close to the normal time he’d be coming home from the office, he suggested that he just stay back in the truck and send me to the front door to come in and they’ll just think it was him when they hear the key turn. Worked perfectly. I had to wiggle the key a little bit to get it to turn and Fisher heard me and must have said something to Aubrey… “Daddy’s home!” she said to him. I swung the door open and conveniently they were both in the living room as I announced “it’s not daddy!” She immediately recognized my voice and stood up, jaw dropped, eyes wide open as she started a string of about 10-15 repetitious “oh my god”s and “what are you doing here”s?
Sarah, one of her best friends, had gone into labor earlier on Friday so that was immediately the focal point of the evening after the shock of my presence had waned. She took a quick trip over there to see how the laboring at home was going and then met Kevin, the boys, and I at Dubstread for dinner. Mom was still working late and as we ate we planned that the surprising her with my presence would be an easy one: immediately after dinner Aubrey would be going to the hospital to deliver baby Brett and we’d invite Grammy over to their house to help Kevin put the kids to bed in Aubrey’s absence. Aubrey left for the hospital and Kevin, the boys and I went home to start baths and wait for Grammy.
Mom conveniently texted when she was leaving to come over and I was able to hide behind thin little wall by the kitchen that was in direct view of the front door for the surprise. When I heard her trademark knock, I ran for it. I gave it about 10-15 seconds for Fisher to have a moment to run and greet her just like normal. As soon as they finished hugging and she had stood back up, I peeped head out at the absolute perfect time. She was floored. After a pretty crappy day at work and emotions high already, she just threw her face in her hands at started to cry before I could even walk over there. “I gotcha!”, I snickered as she pulled me close for a long embrace. Mission accomplished.
We all waited up until about 1:30 am for Aubrey to get home from the hospital to hear about Sarah’s delivery and baby Brett’s journey here. Sarah did great and mom and baby were well.
Saturday morning Kevin, they boys and I went to the Winter Park Farmers Market and saw Linda and Karen and got some veggies, kettle corn, and flowers for Sarah. Later that afternoon, Grammy and I took the boys to the Orlando Science Center. Had a blast and so did I. That place is huge now. I remember it being a simple single story building and now it’s a sprawling complex with a new 6 story building with 4x the exhibits. So much for the boys to see, interact with and learn about. Fisher was so happy – it was an amazing afternoon. Later that evening, Kevin made an amazing steak salad; that dude knows what he’s doing in the kitchen. I always leave visits with Aubrey and Kevin inspired to try new things in the kitchen.
Sunday morning, Aubrey, mom and I woke up early and headed out to my first Barre3 class. Her good friend Amanda owns the studio. Barre3 is a mixture of ballet, Pilates and yoga; really, really cool. My legs were on FIRE and I learned some really awesome floor exercises for my buns and core. I really hope the studio grows and flourishes – it’s a beautiful studio and an amazing discipline. I’m so happy mom and Aubrey have it to share with each other. We came home and made scrambled eggs, bacon and cinnamon rolls. Fisher did such a good job frosting the rolls and beating the eggs.
Later that afternoon we booked 3 back-to-back haircut appointments with Raul – he’s been the boy’s barber their whole lives and even cuts my cousin’s hair; keepin’ it in the family. It’s significantly shorter than I usually cut it but I’m very happy with it. Afterwards we did a little shopping and came home for the evening. Kevin made a seafood soup for dinner. I was openly and candidly verbal about my hesitation with the plans. I’m okay with seafood in general, but usually only by themselves; those frutte d’marre concoctions I’ve seen out at restaurants usually look disgusting and smell worse. However, I have a lot of faith in Kevin in the kitchen and realize the sentiment was 99% fear-based so went with it. It was amazing. Mahi-mahi, shrimp, scallops, lobster base (guys boiled down) and a tomato sauce. I had 2 (and a half) bowls.
Mom went back to her condo for the evening and Monday morning Aubrey, the boys and I went over there for breakfast before she had to go to work. It’s amazing to me that scrambled eggs can vary so. They tasted exactly, e-x-a-c-t-l-y like I remember from growing up. Scrambled eggs have never tasted so good. The plan at that point was to use their season’s passes and spend a few hours at Sea World before I needed to be taken to the airport. We made a quick pit stop at the Apple Store to replace her broken iPhone 4 with a 4S. After a long discussion, I convinced her to steer clear of the iPhone 5 until scuff-gate and batter issues were cleared up with whatever model is coming after this one. Once we got it in hands, I was more interested in playing Apple-dork-brother and getting it all setup for her and getting Ghost Armor put on. We aborted plans for Sea World and grabbed some lunch at the mall and headed back to her place to play techie and wash the unneeded sunblock off so I didn’t stink on the plane.
The trip was amazing. And it was exactly what I needed. I have the most loving, beautiful family and the trip was exactly what I needed. Batteries recharged. I miss them already. Love you guys.