I'm sure I've mentioned before that Indie Jake does quite a bit of traveling for work. About a week and a half ago he was tweaking his schedule and it became apparent that instead of being in town on the 16th, which happens to be my birthday, he was going to be on the road. I was a touch bummed but staying out of town that night was saving him 4 hours of driving and work is work. Put on your big girl pants, Dani, and get over it.
The thing is, that weekend was also the tail end of another big trip for him and the result was that I would be by myself in the house with my broke, unemployed self and Bonus for pretty much the entire week before and day of my birthday. This was depressing. And it made me miss Johnny and Mike up in Jersey. Hey...I still need to get a bunch of my stuff out of my parents' house before they move this fall. My parents live in Jersey.
Decision made: Operation Birthday Roadtrip was set into motion. I told the staffing agency I am listed with I would be out of town for a few days. I enlisted a buddy to feed the fur-baby (since 10.5 hours each way in a car with no breaks is not particularly cat-friendly). I threw some junk in a bag and at 930 Thursday night I hit the old dusty trail.
The weekend itself was great. I'll spare you the in-depth review since it would just be pages and pages of me gushing, but here is a highlight reel:
-Good old fashioned Jersey Friday night happy hour (That's one part $2 Cricket Hill Brewery Tour and one part Irish pub dinner.)
-A Trip to THE bar. (Because every good drinker has a bar that is THE bar, even if they don't necessarily live by it any more.)
-Ran into some guys that used to be on my stage crew in HS who I haven't seen in forever.
-Had traditional sunday night coffee with Mike.
-Ate ALL THE SEAFOOD with Daddy and Dahling at one of my favorite restaurants down the shore. (Bonus points for getting to smell shore air.)
-Went to the NY Renaissance Faire, which is keen enough in and of itself, but is made all the better when it includes photo ops of Johnny getting forced into the May Pole dance by a friend of his who was playing the village idiot.
So needless to say I was in no hurry to leave but, like most inevitabilities, it could only be put off so long and at just after noon on Monday I left for NC. About 3 hours from home I got a call from Indie Jake just checking in and seeing how my trip was going. I told him all was well and It looked like I would get into town at just around midnight so Bonus wouldn't have to wait too much extra for his dinner.
After I got off the phone I started thinking about how the house had been empty a lot lately. You see, we have had a few burglaries about half a mile down my street and I have been known to be just a touch paranoid (I crashed a car when I was 17 because, due to copious conversing about The Shining that evening, I was convinced Jack Nickleson was in the back seat ready to stab me.) I have also been known to have a weird sort of ESP when it comes to talking to Indie Jake. Put these two things together and I was none to happy about the weird vibe I was getting after our conversation. In my head I started picturing walking in the door to find an ex-Bonus and a very angry, very stabby criminal waiting for me. I shrugged it off. I was just being ridiculous, and anyway, I would be going out on a good weekend if I was right.
As I pulled into my driveway I looked around. No obvious out of place vehicles and the porch light was on like it was supposed to be, maybe I was in the clear. I was a touch uneasy when I looked at our trash cans which were still sitting (overturned) on the curb from that morning's trash pickup. As I was retrieving my key from where my buddy the catsitter was supposed to leave it, I looked in the windows of my front door and noticed three very unsettling things. 1) The alarm wasn't set. 2) IJ left fucking dishes on the stove again. 3) Hey, wait a minute, he never leaves the kitchen light on when he is out of town.
While thing 2 was annoying, things 1 and 3 made me pretty sure my end credits were about to start rolling. But it was midnight on a Monday, I had nowhere to go and damn it, if that cat was still alive I needed to feed him. I finally got the key free, opened the door and got inside.
At which point I heard a voice behind me.
I consider it an accomplishment that I did not need to change my pants, though I did drop all my stuff and scream "Holy Shit!!!!" at the top of my lungs.
Turns out the weird vibe I had gotten was not a home invasion warning, it was the signal that I have an awesome roommate who got a group of our friends together for surprise birthday cake.
...you know, and an impromptu cardiac stress test.