The Perfecter Surprise

Regular readers will recall that, when I turned 39 last year, Catherine concocted a wonderful surprise for me, a worthy pillar in my family’s pantheon of surprises.

Well, this Wednesday I turn 40, and my family outdid itself.

Oliver and I got up Saturday morning and, as usual, prepared to carry ourselves to the Farmer’s Market. It was so warm and sunny out, that I developed a plan to take the bus out then walk over to the Formosa Tea House at Ellen’s Creek, then take the bus back.

At about 9:45 a.m., though, I got a call from Johnny: it looked like the Yankee webserver had crashed. I took a look, and Johnny was right: we could ping, but not connect otherwise, and the Yankee websites were down. I told Catherine and Oliver that I’d be back, hopped in the car, and came over to the office to investigate.

Twenty minutes of further investigation suggested that the server had, in fact, crashed. I got on the phone with Peer1’s Network Operations Centre (the server is based at Peer1’s New York City colocation facility) and they arranged to dispatch an on-call technician to go in and take a look.

An hour later (the trains from Brooklyn were slow on Saturday, apparently), the tech was onsite, the server rebooted, and I began a forensic analysis of what had gone wrong (this is only the second time the Yankee server had all-out crashed in ten years; as it turns out, a runaway Perl script had consumed all the server’s memory and brought everything to a halt).

I spent another hour or so continuing to monitor things, looking at the Tripwire and server logs and so on, just to make sure my diagnosis was right. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Catherine and Oliver helpfully brought over some food and iced tea to keep me going, and then disappeared into the sunshine again.

Just as I was satisfied that things were humming along again, I heard someone coming through the door into the office. I looked up and saw my Dad in the doorway. And then my Mom. And then Mike and Karen and Steve and Johnny and Jodi and Catherine and Oliver. I just started to laugh. I laughed so hard that tears fell down my cheeks and my face turned red; I couldn’t stop.

Through some miraculous feat of logistics, my family had assembled itself, from several points west in Ontario and Quebec, in my office on the weekend before my birthday. It was an amazing surprise, and the best present I could imagine.

We all decamped to Johnny and Jodi’s for a fantastic pierogi lunch, followed by birthday cake. We all went out to the Eliot River Dream Park in Cornwall to enjoy the sunshine, and then crowded into the Formosa on the way back for a drink (thus packing 10 people into a space meant for 4 and causing a dramatic upsurge in closing time business). We went out to Sirenella for an excellent dinner, returned to our house for a rousing game of charades, and then everyone repaired to their beds and fell immediately to sleep.

This morning we all had breakfast together, took some photos, and then Mike, Karen and Steve were off to the airport to fly home (Mom and Dad stay until Tuesday) and I returned here to the office to pick up where I left off.



Kelly's picture
Kelly on April 3, 2006 - 13:39 Permalink

..and I am so glad I got to meet ALL of them en route to the Dream Park — you have a wonderful family Peter.

Olle Jonsson's picture
Olle Jonsson on April 4, 2006 - 11:49 Permalink

A moving, great surprise. Thanks for re-telling it.