Last week Pasco called me and the first question out of his mouth was, “What are you doing for Valentines’ Day? ‘Cause I think me and your mother are coming to Birmingham.” ..So you’re automatically out of luck if you had plans, basically.

I am immediately suspicious.

Here’s the deal. I have always done the visiting. It’s just easier for me to come home. Understood. However, in the four and a half years I’ve lived in Birmingham my parents have never visited me. They dropped me off my freshman year of college. My father accompanied me to school my sophomore year and watched me move in. The entire family came for my graduation. There, in a nutshell, are my parents’ excursions to Alabama. They have never seen my dorm rooms, my sorority house, or the three apartments I’ve rented. They have sent me wonderfully thoughtful care packages filled with cookies, candy, and three pounds of precooked bacon, but trips to the Magic City have never really made the to-do list. This doesn’t make me feel neglected, but it DOES make me wonder why the Cappys are suddenly making an excursion to visit little ol’ me. On Valentine’s Day. You’re up to something, Pasco! You’re hoping to drop in and catch me with my secret beau! Well, guess what Mom and Dad, you’ve been thwarted because I have no one! So HAH!

As all of these thoughts jumble through my head, my father is talking about itinerary and things I should be thinking about as I adjust to my new role as a tour guide.

…”You know, we’ll get something to eat, go to church, go watch your riding lesson, see Mia…”

My ears perk up at a few of his words. AHA! 1) My mother has been eager to get a gander of the barn where I ride ever since I called her all twitterpated about “THE MOST GORGEOUS BARN EVER.” 2)  My parents were with me when I brought home the most perfect puppy ever. My parent’s love puppies. They perceive them as their substitute grandchildren. In fact, just for an example, they had their first Christmas card made this year. It was a family portrait of my parents and their Great Dane. Just my parents and the Great Dane. My sister, myself, and our old mutt Morgan apparently did not make the cut.

I walk into my apartment after getting off the phone and break the news to Brooke. My parents, for unidentified reasons, are coming to visit this weekend. Her eyes go wide as she declares, “Mine, too!” We look at each other for a moment in silence before the horror film music starts playing above our heads. Our eyes pan to different scenes in our apartment. The faucet drips on dishes sitting in a heap in the sink. The entire contents of my closet rest piled like a small mountain range on my floor. Cushions on our couches are askew, our dining room table is completely hidden by debris. We don’t usually live in such an extremely chaotic state, but Brook has Step Sing and I have a puppy. Some of you will understand. But in that moment, we have no time to defend our dwelling place. Parents are arriving to size up our living conditions and who knows what else. Seriously, Mr. and Mrs. Cap, what are you coming for? For now, I have no time to decode their motives. Operation Prepare for Parents is in order. Ready…GO!