Amanda and I got up and headed to Raleigh this morning to celebrate my sister Erin Dotsey’s birthday.  It’s actually on Wednesday, but it’s been a while since she’s had a celebration with the family so we all got together with her.  All of us but Adam, anyway, because he was still working on moving.

We took a quick stop at the Burgaw BoJangle’s to pick up some breakfast and I was impressed with how nice other customers were.  As  I was waiting in line one guy told me he liked the Duke hat I was wearing.  We talked for a minute about the Clemson loss and how we were looking forward to seeing how the team bounced back against Miami today.  After that I talked a bit to the guy in line behind me.  He had a five year old son with him who called him old.  The guy said he was only 30, so we got to talking a little.  The kid was fun, definitely not shy about talking to adults.

Once we got closer to Raleigh we noticed that we were ahead of schedule so Amanda called Amy Farmer to see about meeting up briefly, but Amy was working.  Instead we stopped by Babies R Us so we could look at some things and Amanda could show me some of the things she registered for.  We weren’t there for too long before we headed on over to Erin’s apartment.

On the way there she called and asked me to pick up birthday candles.  She said it was going to be the first time she’s had a birthday cake in ten years.  She said this was going to be her First Annual 29th Birthday Extravaganza, and next year she’d have her Second Annual 29th Birthday Extravaganza, and so on and so forth.

Here’s something really cool.  Right before (or maybe it was right after- it really doesn’t matter) we got the candles, I got a call from Barry Frazelle.  I assumed he was going to tell me that the waves were nice, but instead he asked me if I had a passport.  Turns out he said he could get a plane ticket for me to Costa Rica for cheap and that all I’d have to pay for is transporting my surfboard and whatever food I was going to eat!  I discussed it with Amanda and she immediately said she wouldn’t mind me going.  The only reservations she had, she said, were selfish.

So I had a passport about fifteen years ago, but I have no idea where it is.  I’ll have to get a new one so I hope it’s not a big deal.

Mom and Dad were already at Erin’s when we arrived.  We packed up the dogs (we brought Bruce and Harvey with us) and headed to a nearby dog park that Erin’s fond of going to.  It was a pretty cool place with an enclosure for big dogs and another one for smaller dogs.  We put Harvey in the big dog one, but there was an Irish wolfhound that was really intrigued with Harvey and wanted to make friends with him and harvey was very obviously uncomfortable with that.  It seems that Harvey thinks he’s a smaller dog than he is, because when we put him in with the little dogs he was fine and dandy and happy.

Bruce had a good time too.  He followed around a terrier, we think because it looked a little like Paddy, Amanda’s parents’ dog.  Schatzi, Elmo and Dolce, Erin’s and my parents’ dogs, seemed to have a nice time, as did Emma once the Sawyers arrived.

Jackson came straight to me and we palled around for a bit while Harvey was still in the big dog enclosure.  We later joined everyone else in the small dog place.  There were a lot of old tennis balls lying around and Jackson had a good time throwing them for the packs of little dogs.

We left the dog park after a bit and went back to Erin’s apartment to drop off all the dogs before heading out to get some food.  Inspired by Erin’s roommate, we decided to pick up some BBQ.

Duke was playing against Miami this whole time, by the way.  It was a big game, as Duke had just come off their worst loss in 20 years the same night Miami beat Wake Forest by 25.  I kept checking my phone for updates and it wasn’t looking good.  They were down by 13 at the half, but then they made a run.

Everyone but us missed a turn and got a little lost on the way to the BBQ place, but everyone showed up eventually.  I left the restaurant to let Amanda order our food (we were getting it to go) when I suddenly remembered that I could listen to the game on the radio, so I went and sat out in the car to listen to Duke take a five point lead then have it tied up on a crazy three point shot to send it into overtime.  By this time we were back at Erin’s, but Amanda and I stayed in the car to listen to the game.  Miami kept fouling in the OT and the officials kept checking the clock, making it the longest five minutes ever, but Duke ended up winning 78-75.

After that we joined everyone else for lunch, cake and presents.  Amanda made Erin some earrings and we gave her a gift card to PetSmart.  We also gave Jackson and Addison their late Christmas presents.  Addison’s outfit, thankfully, still fit her, and Jackson really enjoyed playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.  Amanda and I got a few things ourselves: Andra gave us some baby clothes and Mom got us a DVD about preparing to bring home a baby, which I thought was really thoughtful of her to get.  Not to be left out, Mom and Dad got a box of Adam’s clothes from us.  Mom was going to give us Adam’s ponytail, which I guess she found somewhere, but then she decided to keep it when we questioned what would happen to it if we delivered it to Adam.

I played with Addison a little.  She’s such a chill baby and she’s very easy to make laugh and smile.

Amanda and I took off after a bit.  I spent some time talking to Jason Revill, who had actually been at the Duke-Miami game today.  It was his first game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, which I didn’t realize.  I had recorded the game and watched the second half when Amanda went to bed and saw that you could actually see Jason and his brother, Jon, every time the camera was on their end of the court.  They got to sit in a section just behind the basket to the left of the Cameron Crazies.

I talked to Michael Mercer, too, to tell him that I’d be going to Costa Rica with him (assuming I get the passport stuff worked out).  I think he’s happy for me to go because we’re pretty much on the same level as far as surfing ability goes, which is way below Barry and Hannah Frazelle.

Zach Dotsey