My little brother Joel's birthday is tomorrow, and this past weekend, I got the privilege of flying out to New York and surprising the bajeezus out of him at the restaurant Mojo in Harlem!
It all started last November around Thanksgiving, when we realized Joel wasn't coming out for Christmas due to scheduling problems. I looked on Orbitz and found a good price on a ticket, and asked Brian to make that my Christmas present...
Then I e-mailed Joel's partner Dave and asked if it'd be OK...and that I wanted it to be a SURPRISE!
So last Thursday, I flew from here to Seattle, then Seattle to Newark...I texted Dave and we had a problem that Joel was home from work, so our original plan to dump my bag at their apartment then head to a restaurant was out.
I met Dave at the 72nd street subway stop, then we headed to Mojo, while Joel was kept thinking that Dave and he were meeting Dave's new boss.
Joel, knowing Dave was running late, was wondering WHAT was going on with his normally fastidiously on-time boyfriend.
Dave and I arrived at Mojo just MOMENTS before Joel did. Dave told me to sit a few seats down at the bar. I ordered a drink, and started texting my family to tell them where I was, and how close we were to seeing Joel.
Joel arrived and went to Dave, completely unsuspecting...then a few moments later, Dave said "That gal at the end of the bar sure looks like your sister..."
I looked up and smiled.
Joel's eyes got REALLY WIDE -- almost like he'd seen a ghost..
He yelled and threw his menu on the bar. He cried a little as we hugged for the longest time.
The bartender later thanked me for telling her what was going on -- because everyone else in the restaurant was wondering WHAT the hell we were doing!
We sat down and had a WONDERFUL dinner. They served a wonderful Bordeaux wine, and I had their skirt steak, which was FABULOUS.
The music, the atmosphere, the service was perfect....and it was the beginning of a wonderful weekend, where Joel and I seemed to wake up each day and pinch ourselves since we couldn't believe I was there!
I saw friends on Friday while Joel and Dave worked -- a great tour of The Museum of Modern Art and a little wine place in SoHo before dinner in the West Village with my girlfriends who were able to get in from Connecticut...
Saturday with Joel and Dave included a trip down to Ground Zero, Wall Street, the courthouse, and the Museum of Metro New York before a fabulous dinner and a show -- "Memphis" -- and a leisurely walk through Times Square and a to-die-for Chocolate Mud dessert on the Upper West Side.
Sunday morning came too soon, but I was glad to get home to our girl.
My bag followed a day later.
But boy, was that a FUN weekend, and one Joel will probably not forget. He told Dave he hoped to see at least one family member for his 40th, and when Dave asked who he thought could/would come, Joel said "Well, Jeff and Jill and Jer are all working or coming another time...Julie's crazy enough to do it, but she IS in school and has a 2-year-old..."
Yeah, well. Let's just call me Crazy Enough.
Happy birthday little brother.
The world is a better place with you in it!