By Mir
December 4, 2010

So yesterday I ran around doing various pre-party prep things, and then I made Otto come home early so he could be here when Monkey got off the bus, because I had a therapy appointment go talk about MAH FEEEEEEEELINGS.

“We really need dog food,” I told him, before I left. “Do you think I could just run over to the pet store after, and get that? I mean, assuming I don’t spend the entire hour weeping?”

Otto looked a little bit alarmed at this. I assured him that I don’t ALWAYS spend the hour weeping. He relaxed a little and told me to take my time, but I reminded him that I am Bad At Directions (yes, even with my GPS) and that I wasn’t sure how to get to the pet store from my doctor’s office. He explained it to me and I sort of understand and said fine, I will go to my appointment and then go grab some kibble and be home.

I kissed him goodbye and I left.

I went to my appointment and didn’t weep at all (YAY ME!) and then went to “go get dog food.”

Here we understand “go get dog food” = “not getting dog food at all.”

Here you further have to understand that I have NEVER successfully pulled of a surprise for anyone. There was some brief musing about trying to make Otto’s party a surprise party, and when I told him a few months ago, “Sorry, it’s just going to be a party you know about because I suck at surprises” he immediately agreed with me. I wanted to be offended, but… it’s true. It’s true under NORMAL circumstances, and life around here lately has been anything but normal. The idea of pulling off any kind of surprise in my current frazzled state is completely laughable, really.


Upon my arrival at home, I found Monkey playing games on the computer and the other two members of my immediate family upstairs doing something.

“Hey, Otto?” I called up the stairs. “Can you come help me?”

“We’re busy!” called Chickadee.

“It’ll just take a second, I just need your arms.” I called.

Otto came down the stairs, eyebrow cocked.

“The dog food slid back in the trunk and I can’t reach it,” I told him. “I need your long arms, please.”

Otto chuckled and came outside and walked around to the back of my car to get the dog food.

Whereupon he discovered one of his brothers lounging in my trunk. It’s possible the only other time I’ve seen him grin that big was on our wedding day, and as he laughed and helped Nearly Nickless out amidst a few hearty “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”s, Wild Thing (his other brother) jumped out from around the corner of the house, too.

Happy birthday, baby. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the solid month of dark grumbling about how your family was too selfish to bother coming down for your birthday—because I kind of did, because you completely fell for it—but the look on your face was actually more of a present for us than for you.

NOW it’s gonna be a party. Woo!


  1. Neil

    Congrats. I think to successfully create a surprise works better than any therapy session!

  2. Kerry


  3. Rebecca

    That’s so great! Good job, Mir and brothers, and Happy Birthday to Otto.

  4. Jen

    Well, dangit, Mir, you had to go and make me tear up on a Saturday morning. What a great surprise! I suck at surprises too, so you give me hope that maybe someday I can pull one off. :-)

  5. Brigid

    Yay for surprises! Have a great time.

  6. Em

    I love that surprise!

  7. Karen

    Oh, not that’s just awesome. You rock at the party thing, Mir, who knew?

  8. Karen

    What’s with my speedy typos?… sigh.

  9. ttulizzy

    Awesome! Happy Birthday Otto! I hope you all have a fantastic day!

  10. ccr in MA

    Good job, Mir! (I thought for sure this was going to be a Lost story; you surprised me, too.)

    Happy birthday, Otto!

  11. elz

    Yea! You totally rock at surprises. Congrats & Happy Birthday, Otto.

  12. Karate Mom

    What a sweet and wonderful surprise!!
    I got to do something like that for my mom for her 60th birthday. I arranged for my aunt to come from Ohio and visit. I had my mom over for coffee after she got off work and then my aunt popped out of the kitchen. It was awesome!
    I wish I’d thought to have her in the trunk, though. That would have made it extra awesome!

  13. divrchk

    Happy Birthday, Otto! Have a wonderful weekend of celebrations!

  14. addy

    Congrats Mir – you did it!! Have a great party with the bros guys. YOu all deserve the fun…..

  15. jessica

    Whoo-hoo for pulling off a surprise. I suck at them, too (mainly because I want my husband to know and be excited along with me when I’m planning a surprise — which, I know, defeats the whole “surprise” part of it. *sighs*), but I’ve managed to pull of tiny ones — nothing of this caliber, though. Brilliant to think of using family as the surprise. :)

  16. Kim


  17. Kim

    Plus, I totally wish I could be at this party. Just sayin’.

  18. Brandi

    Man, my husband surprised me with my best friend for our anniversary. “Hey, love, I have a surprise! It’s your present! Come outside.”


    And there she was. Standing. Just grinning.

    Best present ever, I do say :)

  19. Katie

    That is pretty awesome. Happy Birthday Otto!

  20. Midj

    You are the best! Congrats on the surprise, Congrats your birthday, Otto, and Congrats on making it through the unweepy therapy hour! Have a fanastic weekend!

  21. J from Ireland

    Aw jaysus now am crying….so lovely.

  22. Dsilkotch

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  23. dad

    Hold it. He opened the trunk of your car and his brother was inside!

    Baby, don’t try anything like that on anyone over 40 unless you brush up on your CPR.
    Nice going to both of you. Enjoy!

    The best is yet to come.

  24. Anna

    Fabulous! I am impressed. :)

  25. Carolyn


  26. MomCat

    So…I don’t get it…was his brother at the pet store? ; )

  27. Randi

    Awww, that was awesome! Such a sweet and thoughtful gift! Happy Birthday to Otto!

  28. Lucinda

    Love it!

  29. Cele

    That is incredibly awesome, and dudette you kept a kewl secret.

  30. Karishma

    Stories about your families make me so happy :) You all are just too sweet for words.

  31. Beth R

    Whoo hooo! Way to go, Mir! How fun is that – especially with how close his family seems to be :)

    Happy birthday, Otto! We’re all thrilled that you’re part of the WCS family :)

  32. pam

    Oh Mir you made me cry!

  33. Heather

    That would be truly a wonderful, wonderful birthday present. Yay! :D Aw I wish now that my sisters or best friend had magically appeared on my birthday :P Oh well, there’s always next year!

  34. Debbi

    lmao@ your dad!! I so agree with him, my husband (who just turned 46) would have had a heart attack and died right there if someone was in the trunk. He is sooooo jumpy! haaa

    glad your surprise worked. Super Happy Birthday to Otto!

  35. Arlene

    LOL! That was great…too fun!

  36. Lady M

    So awesome. Congrats, Mir, and Happy Birthday to Otto!

  37. chris

    Love it! Happy Birthday to Otto.

  38. Wendy

    AWESOME!!! That is a GREAT idea.

  39. Julie from The Party Blog

    Yay YOU! I know how difficult pulling off a surprise is ~ especially when it’s your husband! Hope the party was fun!

  40. TC

    Even I was surprised! You rock!

  41. alicia

    Happy Birthday Otto!

  42. Ingrid

    Nice! Happy birthday to Otto! :)

  43. Headless Mom

    Rocks. Totally.

  44. Bibi

    So cool. We did something similar for my mom’s birthday. It was really fun!!

  45. HogsAteMySister

    Well played deceit and b-day planning. But maybe don’t try this one again when you get a bit older. Because then? In a week or two, after you remembered that you forgot about the dog food and the, what was that, oh yeah, the birthday party and the… what’s that smell in the trunk.

  46. Brigitte

    Proud of you for keeping something so big SECRET for so long! Awesome one.

    BTW, you’re not alone in never having had a birthday party. I like to blame my socially clueless mom, but the fact that she was starting with 4 kids already in a teeny house, and it’s New Year’s Day, may have been factors. ;-)

  47. Mary

    Great job! Good for you!

  48. bonuela

    you all are missing the point of the story. mir found the airport without getting lost!! go mir!!

  49. Katie in MA

    Awwww! Happy Birthday all over again, Otto! My sibs flew cross-country to surprise me for my 30th and I have to say – nothing feels as awesome as knowing you mean that much to someone. :)

  50. Aimee

    That’s AWESOME! I think I’m enjoying it double because Friday morning I flew up to Seattle and had the pleasure of knocking on my sister’s door without her having ANY idea that I was coming, and listening to her scream like a siren (seriously, sister has LUNGS) in surprise. And THEN the additional fun of seeing her get surprised again the next morning when we went out for brunch and three of her best friends from Massachusetts were there waiting for us. It was FANTASTIC and it’s so cool that you surprised Otto in a similary way.

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