From the Blog

Dad’s Trouble With Balloons

I love my dad. I love my dad because he lets me share stories like the one I’m about to tell you.

My mom’s birthday was at the beginning of November. There were some things that they needed at the store, so my dad went to the supermarket and got my mom a “Happy Birthday” balloon, along with some other stuff. I think it was one of those mylar balloons.

He came home and gave my mom the balloon. “Surprise!” My mom looked at it. The balloon said “Happy Anniversary.” My dad was stupefied, and sure he picked the right one. He didn’t, however. Because the balloon clearly said “Happy Anniversary.” Plus, he forgot the items he actually went to the store for.

Poor dad. He was trying to do something nice. And he ended up doing something goofy. He went back to the store and brought the balloon with him. He had to explain himself to the people at the store, that he accidentally bought a Happy Anniversary balloon instead of a Happy Birthday balloon. And I’m sure the people at the store thought it was the funniest thing ever.

Thankfully, my mom has a great sense of humor. And instead of a mylar balloon, she’s now got a great story.

You might postulate that this kind of experience might make my dad rethink using balloons in any sort of “thoughtful surprise” scenario. But no.

I called my parents on Thanksgiving, as they were cooking and getting dinner ready. Thanksgiving was exciting because my sister is pregnant, and she was going to reveal whether they are having a boy or a girl. So as a surprise, my dad went to the store and got a bunch of blue balloons, and a bunch of pink balloons. He put them outside in front of the house so my sister and her husband would see them as they arrived.

I was on the phone with my dad as he explained this scheme with the balloons. It sounded like a top notch plan until he looked out the window and said, “Wait a minute, where are the pink balloons?” I was on the phone with him as he went outside and saw that the pink ballons had floated away.

“Oh my god, the pink balloons! They flew away!”

I heard the entire meltdown over the phone. My dad has a thick Massachusetts accent.

“I tied them to a shoe! But they floated away!”

“Did my shoe float away?!?” I heard my mom in the background. She also has a thick Massachusetts accent.

“No, the shoe is still here! I must not have tied them well enough. Oh my god, we have no pink balloons!”

I said, “Well you better hope they are having a boy.”

“Goddamn it, our plan is ruined. It would have been so cool. I can’t believe it! I can’t believe they floated away!”

“Can you go back to the store and get more?” I asked.

“Yes, but, goddamnit. They’re going to be here any minute.”

“Maybe they’re having a boy. But if not, and you only have blue balloons out there, they’re going to think you wanted a boy. And if they’re having a girl, well, it might seem like you’ll be disappointed or something.”

“Fuck. Talk to your mother. I have to go to the store.”

So I talked to my mom. She was glad her shoe didn’t float off with the pink balloons. But she said she’d have to call me back, she was still making dinner. It was like a war zone, complete pandemonium at my parents’ house, and it was just the two of them.

I got a call a little later. My sis is having a baby girl.


  1. I can see where you get your sense of humor from! :)

  2. Oh, that was delightful. :)

  3. Jim Sifferle says

    I love reading your blog. I laugh or learn something every time. Thanks!!!

  4. Great stories!

  5. They were so proud when we showed up, to show off the balloons. They were sitting out front, each bunch on either side of the walkway to the front door. I wish I took a picture.

  6. sweet…you can’t make this stuff up!

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