So, Thursday morning Brenda says: "what are you doing for lunch today, I've been working from home all week and I need to get outta the house. Let's have lunch today."

"Sure, let's do that", I say, cluelessly.

And so there we were, standing in line with a bunch of my co-workers waiting to order at Wahoo's Fish Taco, when Brenda says "so, your birthday present from your sister arrived today". Imagining a huge crate full of presents, I pump my fist a few times and get back to concentrating on whether I want my burrito smothered with green or red chile. Brenda, cool as ever and without missing a beat, says "in fact, her present is right over there", and points over her left shoulder, where my sister and brother-in-law are sitting, grinning like cats.

Now, being an April Fool's Day baby, I'm used to pranks and surprises on my birthday, but this takes the cake. This was a full blown shocker, out of the blue, and the list of important people in my life that share complicity in this little scheme is long, and the implications are horrifying. But I'm happy to never trust these people again, because it was a helluva great surprise, and a great birthday weekend.

My immediate boss, in addition to playing party to the scam by driving me to the scene of the surprise, was cool about letting me take Friday off on short notice and so Brenda & I showed my sister and brother-in-law around Boulder and the surrounding area -- Burgers in Nederland, elk-spotting in Estes Park.

Last night, I was happy to lose a bet with Brenda when it turned out that the fancy restaurant that my brother-in-law reserved for us was the Flagstaff House, and not the restaurant I was betting on when they said they made reservations "at a fancy restaurant" for us for my birthday dinner. We'd already been to the one I thought it might be, and the Flagstaff House experience was better by a wide margin. In fact, it was the best meal and dining experience I've had in years. Thanks, guys.

All in all it was a great birthday weekend; it was great to show Christina and Bob the town and surroundings that I have fallen in love with. My birthday dinner was amazing, and I got presents to boot.