Saturday, August 30, 2014

Anatomy of a surprise

November 2013
An email arrives with an advance purchase code for a concert. I almost delete it until I read the group name. I double-check to make sure I'm reading it correctly. No matter how I look at it, the group is still One Direction. I put the information on my work calendar and block the 1/2 hour after tickets go on sale to make sure I don't have any meetings at that time.

December 2013
I log in to Ticketmaster and wait for the magic moment when I can try to buy One Direction tickets. I think about how crazy it is that I'm buying ticket for a concert taking place Labor Day 2014. My first ticket options come up. I refresh the screen thinking that there's no way I'll pay that much money to sit in the 400 level at Soldier Field. The second option isn't much better. I refresh again. Third time is the charm as I end up with four pretty good seats. I purchase the tickets, trying not to look at the total cost.

January 2014
I start to think about who will be #4. I figure I'm taking the girls and one other person. I talk to Aunt Mary about Maddie joining us. She lets me know that Uncle Terry (or Grampa as Maddie calls him) bought Maddie One Direction tickets for Christmas.

May 2014
I happen to log on to Facebook a few minutes after Brooke posts a picture with the caption "Wine Direction." I ask if she likes One Direction. She says she loves them. Unsure if she's sarcastic or not (sometimes I miss that in Facebook posts), I email Aunt Debbie who let me know she really does have One Direction posters in her room. I email Brooke about the tickets. The next day I email her again to let her know I have four tickets so if she wants to bring a friend, she can. A few days later we're set. The girls are going to see One Direction with Brooke and her friend.

August 2014
I wake up realizing that the concert is two weeks away and I haven't finalized plans with Brooke. After a bit of back and forth, we decide to meet at a pizza parlor near Aunt Linda's apartment. We decide to take the four girls to and from the concert.

Daddy starts asking the girls about One Dimension (as he calls them). They roll their eyes like he's some annoying boy at school. When we find out that 5 Seconds of Summer is the opening act, we ask them if they like the band. It turns out 5 Seconds of Summer sings a song the brunette twin can't stop singing. All is well.

After I check the tickets, we realize we cannot meet at the pizza parlor. The concert is earlier than I remembered. If there is a long wait at the pizza parlor, the girls will be late for the concert. We ask Aunt Linda if we can bring pizza to her house. She agrees to host everyone. It will be a quick visit as we're invading for an hour and then rushing off.

One week to go and I'm antsy every day. I can't believe we're so close to pulling off the surprise. We tell the girls we're meeting Brooke and Clark for pizza. I put a bag on the spare bed in the office. As I think of things I put them in the bag.

I call Grammie to see if she wants to buy the girls concert t-shirts for their birthdays. She likes the idea. The next day she shows up with birthday cards with the concert cash inside. Those immediately go into the bag.

I start watching the weather obsessively. It seems to rain every day lately. Of course there is rain in the Saturday forecast. I start looking for some disposable rain ponchos. We have had these things around the house for about a decade. Of course, now that I want them I can only find one. At 11:00 p.m., I leave Daddy a message asking if he knows where the rain ponchos are hiding. The next day he comes home from work to find the missing three rain ponchos. He puts them in the bag.

We wait until two days before the concert to print the tickets. I put them in two envelopes -- Happy Birthday for the girls and Merry Christmas for Brooke. I put those in the bag. The next day I print the tickets again and put them in my purse. Why print back-up tickets? In my head I envision the girls getting so excited when they open the envelop that they rip the tickets. I consider printing back-up tickets my way of getting a good night's sleep.

We see the concert on the news. The girls are fast asleep, but I make sure to check the newspaper before they wake up. There is not a story about the concert, so I leave it on the breakfast bar.

We're headed to Aunt Linda's with everything in the car. Now all we have to do is give them their tickets and get them to the show.

It's time to let the shrieking begin.

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