The story goes back to April of last year.
To soften my paranoia of nobody showing up for my 40th birthday, I threw an Aries Bash for all the local Aries births. We had about 5 guests of honour with Aries birthdays. But beyond my wildest dreams of people appearing for my party; no surprise was as sweet as the one that was planned entirely behind my back. For about a month a small contingency pooled their resources and brought SJ Tucker and K out by plane for the weekend from Arkansas.
The story was briefly mentioned in a blog post from that weekend. Sooj and K showed up while we were labouring with Aiden in a high chair. It was cursed by many that a camera was not available to show me not merely with jaw on the floor, but rendered speechless (for one of the rare times).
Sooj and Betsy Tinney (2/3 of Tricky Pixie) took over the basement and gave an amazing house concert. Two things then transpired that night. stealthcello, s00j, omnisti, and plan instigator ladydrakania were made 100% officially family to us. I made them Freeple certificates and all. Secondarily, I looked S00j in the eye and told her that one day I would exact revenge when she least expected it.
Okay Sherman, out of the Wayback and back to 2009.
I have been interviewing with a company in St. Louis, Missouri. I will admit, this was not where I would ever have seen myself going. I have been through St. Louis _once_. I was driving from Pittsburgh to San Diego to move. I stopped to see the Arch. I don't remember what prompted me during the interview process to check; but I remember noticing that SJ was planning on playing St. Louis at some point.
As things proceeded with the interviews for the company; I thought... okay.. wouldn't it be hilarious if I could some how make a trip out there when she is playing there. And then the call came that they wanted to fly me out for a face-to-face. The original plan was to fly out on a Thursday night and leave Sunday. That wasn't going to work because one of the people that wanted to interview me wasn't going to be in last week. So they decided to have me come in Friday and interview Monday. The reason for the weekend was to let me poke around the area and see what I thought of the area. This turned out to not merely be the weekend that Sooj was performing in St. Louis. But it was her birthday weekend.
Knowing that it wouldn't just be my decision, I quickly got tickets for jnanacandra and aiden_freeman to join me. Well, now we obviously had to keep it secret from SJ & K, but had to make sure we knew where the concert was. And well, we can't keep a secret either; so we had to tell a few people. Then Heather made the long post about "undisclosed locations" and many people started asking. We contacted the host of the tonight's concert a few days ago.
As it turned out; we showed up at her house pretty much as K and SJ were unloading the truck. Knowing that the camera was the essential bit: I pulled up to the curb, jumped out, and yelled, "Hey, can I help you carry some of that stuff." K looked back at me, confused and said sure. Then there was a pause followed by... "Wait.." and then a full on Gypsy, "Heeeeeyyy" And there was hugging.
Well, Sooj was watching from the door but may not have seen clearly. She came out and there was much more hugging. Our surprise was a great success. But lest we leave out the birthday end of things. Heather is a contributor for the Ravens project. She's done an amazing pen & ink based on a VERY popular photograph of Sooj. (Yes, that one; and if you don't know what I'm talking about; you'll find out.) Heather presented the original to Sooj as a gift. The result (albeit blurry) we think conveys the emotion we were shooting for with great success.
We will have more pictures tomorrow as we will probably spend the day with SJ and K and then attend her birthday concert. We were unable to stay for tonight's due to a prior engagement which may wind up being another extended post altogether. The whole night was intense. There will be many photos of the St. Louis b'day concert and maybe if we can pull it off, other added treats.
Thank you again to everyone who helped.. even if it was just to be in on the secret.
SJ and K are seeming to be enjoying St. Louis very much. Seems we are too.
I almost blew it chatting with K earlier in the week. He told me he was in Arkansas... I said reflexively.. "So, are you going to be popping up on my doorstep unexpectedly?"
He assumed I meant the last time he was in Arkansas. :)
Put in the link for the Ravens Project which you all know about now. RIGHT?!?!?!