Surprising Dad in Florida on his 70th Birthday

Tuesday November 17, 2015

12:15pm In the airport for the fourth time year. The three previous times were for the U2ieTour in Vancouver, Chicago and Denver (I took the bus to New York). But this time it was for my Dad’s 70th birthday in Ft. Myers, Florida. Mom and I had been planning this for a while as a surprise for him. He had no idea I was coming, no one did. I woke up at 7am, packed, then laid in bed with the dogs and streamed Gilmore Girls, which I’m rewatching the series I just finished. (Yes I love it that much and when I love something I had to do it over and over again.) I left the house around 10:30am to take the dogs to the vet to board them. It was terrible and I felt so guilty. I usually travel with my dogs or my parents watch them, but the dogs aren’t allowed to stay at the condo in Florida where my parents – plus I couldn’t take enough time off of work to drive 17 hours down and 17 hours back. The vet tech had to drag the dogs backwards with their little paws trying to run in the opposite direction, toward me and toward the door. When they finally got them back, Cilla missed the door and ran into the wall. On the way from the vet to the airport, I got a text saying my flight was delayed from 1:40 to 2:10pm. I was already on my way, so I just kept going. I thought it would be smart to get to the airport early considering the Paris attacks a few days ago. To my surprise, there was no line at security. In fact, the entire airport was pretty empty.

11:30pm My flight was indeed a half hour late. I streamed Young and the Restless while waiting. I got an aisle row in the emergency row, which is always my goal if the front row is taken because of the leg room. And the front row was definitely taken with the seven wheel chairs who got on the plane before everyone. The woman sitting next to me continued to sneeze and cough and the woman behind me continually kicked my chair – ugh! I landed, got a cab and was at my parents’ condo by 5:15pm. (side note – a cab from ft. myers is a flat fee, no meter) Mom had texted me Dad was outside. As we drove up in the cab, I had it stop right behind dad who was getting out of old blue. I swung open the door and shouted, “SURPRISE!” The look on his face was priceless. The first thing he said was, “Why didn’t you tell us? We could have picked you up.” I explained to him Mom knew. The next thing out of his mouth was, “How long are you staying?” Way to make me feel welcome. Then he said, “What about work?” I told him I had comp time and everything was ok. We went to Shrimp Shack for dinner (yummy stuffed shrimp) and then came back and watched tv.

Wednesday November 18, 2015 – Dad’s 70th Birthday

9:30pm Dad had a great birthday! I am so glad I came down to celebrate with him – much more memorable experience than if I had gone to Dublin for the U2 shows. Dad golfed in the morning while Mom and I went to Party City to get obnoxious decorations for his Driveway Cocktails Party. We got balloons (gigantic 7 and 0 and Happy Birthday), a hot wheels Happy 70th Birthday banner to hang outside along the garage and a I’m 70 Birthday hat. When Dad got home from golf (around 12:30pm) we went to Denny’s for his free birthday breakfast. The Grand Slam is quite good especially when there’s sweet tea, biscuits and lots of cheese in the scrambled eggs. Dad’s party was great. Since his birthday was on a Wednesday and every Wednesday they have what they call Driveway Cocktails, he just turned it into his birthday party. Usually people show up around 5 with their chairs and cocktails and sit in the driveway and they have their own little happy hour. But for Dad’s birthday, we ordered eight pizzas from Dominos to feed everyone, Kimra made a birthday cake (dad’s favorite orange cake with chocolate icing), and mom had little chocolates with liquor in them to pass out to everyone. It was a great time – 37 of us! Mom and Dad both made little speeches. In retrospect, maybe I should have said something but I was too busy trying to capture everything on video and in pictures.

Thursday November 19, 2015

10:15pm Another great day in Ft. Myers with my parents. We’ve been running non-stop. Today Mom and I went to Seminole Casino in Immakolee – about 45 minutes away. I won $400 ($250 on Cash Wheel, $200 on Hot Shot and $75 on Wheel of Fortune). I had a great tuna melt at the deli and bought a bunch of orange candy at the juice store on the way home. We went to Caloosahatchee Jack’s for dinner because dad thought it would be cook to get a tee shirt with that name on it, but they didn’t have tee shirts. It was the old Stevie Tomato’s. Seemed like more of a bar, then a restaurant, but my buffalo chicken wrap was great, mom loved her fish and chips and dad loved his 50 cent sloppy joe sliders. We went back to the condo and watched tv. I found out that my blog (this blog) was runner up for Best Personal Blog in Maryland at the Mobbies – by the Baltimore Sun. I was shocked because I didn’t even promote it or ask anyone to vote for me.

Friday November 20, 2015

7:00pm Last day in Ft. Myers was very relaxing. Just stayed in the condo watching tv all day until it was time to go to Happy Hour at 4:30 with 11 of the neighbors at Shoeless Joe’s – a weekly Friday tradition I was glad to finally be a part of. I only drank ginger ale though as I was catching a flight in a couple of hours. Mom and I split the appetizer sampler platter. I was at the gate waiting for my first flight by 7pm – flight was at 8pm. I usually don’t take connecting flights, but this was so much cheaper and only a half hour between flights so not bad.

Saturday November 21, 2015

10:00 am Both of my flights were fine. I was in the front row of the first one and emergency row of the second – aisle on both. I was home by 1am and at the vet by 9am to pick up Elvis and Cilla. I had a great time in Florida, but it is also good to be home with my babies – not leaving the bed until Monday morning for work.

To see all my photos from my time in Ft. Myers, please click here.

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About Deena 'On the Road with U2' Dietrich (547 Articles)
My name is Deena Dietrich. I live in Ellicott City, Maryland with my 2 dogs Elvis and Cilla. I am making my way as a Social Media Manager, Blogger and now Author. I have written my U2 memoir 'On the Road with U2: my musical journey' (available on amazon) about the 75 (now 90 and soon to be 100) U2 shows I have been to ZooTv to 360 and the places I’ve seen and the people I’ve met along the way. My motto is “It is better to regret something you have done, than something you haven’t.” So follow me on my journey as I pursue my passions in music and sports: U2, Broncos, Elvis, Grizzlies, LMP, Orioles, NKOTB. Please connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ or you can email me at deenadietrich@gmail.com.

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