Surprising Visit

A couple weeks ago, back on the Thursday the 7th, I got an email from Scott, one of my two best friends. It was an invitation to a super-secret surprise early birthday party he was planning to throw for his wife Katie on Saturday the 16th. The party was to be at a restaurant near where they live in the Twin Cities, and since I live in Colorado now, I know he didn’t expect me to come.

I decided I’d at least take a peek at what airfares were, assuming it’d be prohibitively expensive just one week in advance. The first place I checked was, and I was shocked to find “Wanna Get Away?” internet-only fares for $159 round-trip. $159! Just eight days in advance! I couldn’t believe it. And because Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge bag fees, I didn’t even bother checking elsewhere, because they would’ve needed to be $119 or cheaper to beat Southwest, and I knew that was basically an impossibility. It only took me about five minutes to decide to pull the trigger and buy the tickets before they went away. It’s definitely the most impulsive purchase I’ve made on airfare before; my trips are almost always planned out well in advance. But this was just too good of an opportunity to pass up, especially since because of Scott’s new job that will take him who knows where around the world, I don’t know when I’ll be able to see him & Katie next.

I emailed Scott a copy of my flight itinerary, and then sent him a text recommending that he check his email. Needless to say we were both stoked that I was going to be able to come to the party! To keep everything a total surprise to Katie, though, I didn’t mention a word on Facebook or here on my website about going to or being in Minnesota until after the party.

So on Friday afternoon the 15th I flew from Denver to Minneapolis, but not before our flight was delayed for two and a half hours at the gate. Everyone had boarded, and I noticed that the engines still weren’t on. Then the pilot got in front of the cabin and made an announcement that ATC and the FAA weren’t allowing any new flights bound for Minneapolis to take off just yet. Apparently rainy, windy weather was causing delays in Minneapolis, and they had to make sure they made arrangements for all the planes currently in the air to land there safely before allowing new flights to depart for Minneapolis. Because had not yet departed the gate, they allowed everyone on board the freedom to come and go between the plane and the terminal, which was wonderful. Sitting out on the tarmac for that long would’ve really been annoying. Basically, the delay in Denver meant I didn’t have to wait a couple hours in Minneapolis for my parents to arrive to pick me up, so it all worked out (they couldn’t get off work early).

It was good to be at my parents house in Cumberland for a day, especially since it meant I got to hear the sound of the creek roaring. Our lake has been very low (and our creek dry) for for a few years thanks to drought and beaver dams upstream, but now that both of those problems have been rectified, we’re having our usual spring flood. It’s so nice to see the lake high again. On Sunday I also rode with my parents up to Two Harbors to take a look at the progress on the house up there. So much work going on up there… It was nice to be able to see my parents for a couple days and my brothers during my short visit.


Anyway, the party was on Saturday night at Rudy’s Redeye Grill in White Bear Lake. The plan was for everyone to show up at 7, get the table, and then Scott & Katie were to arrive at 7:15 sharp. Well, we couldn’t get our table because both large groups that were already there had been there for two hours and were showing no signs of leaving anytime soon. So I texted Scott about it, and he stalled as best he could for a few minutes. But the restaurant found us a place in the atrium at the back of the restaurant (where it adjoined a hotel) where we could all hang out together until a table opened up. So they showed up around 7:30, and Katie was very surprised. Scott earned himself quite a few points, haha. Anyway, eventually we got seated around 8:15pm (the restaurant comped us our appetizers because it was an hour-plus after our reservation). It was a very nice restaurant with otustanding steaks and drinks (their “Rudytini” and Long Islands were quite good), and was definitely a night of splurging for me. It was an awesome night and tons of fun!


My original plan had been to drive back up to Cumberland after the party, but I wound up crashing on Scott & Katie’s couch at 2:30am, but was up and driving by 7am to get up to Cumberland so that I could ride with my parents up to Two Harbors and then back down to Scott & Katie’s in time for dinner. I did a lot of Sunday driving, haha. I was pretty tired that day, to say the least, and both Scott & I turned in fairly early Sunday night. It was great to have dinner with Scott & Katie at their house though, and get a chance to hang out with them both for awhile.

On Monday I basically hung out with Scott all day, because Katie had to work, Scott took the kids to day care, and he was done with his old job. We went for a 3.3-mile run in the morning, despite it being only 35 degrees. (Even though I’ve been running a bit more lately here in Colorado, I’m not yet in good enough shape to feel much benefit from running at 800 feet elevation instead of 5200 feet. But this past Thursday when I went for a run here, I could definitely notice I was back at 5200 feet, haha.) I tagged along with Scott on a few errands he had to run after that, and we got a ginormous lunch at a brewery (someplace with good beer is usually a requisite when we’re hanging out) before he dropped me off at the airport at 3pm for my flight back to Denver. I wish I had known security and everything would be such a breeze though, because we could’ve hung out for another hour. Oh well.

This “surprising” trip was totally worth it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I enjoy hanging out with Scott & Katie so much, I wish we didn’t live several states away. With Scott’s new job I’ll probably get to visit them in some neat places in the coming years, though. Time to start saving up!

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