Have you ever gotten an idea for a present that was so fantastic and amazing that you wanted to get it right then and there? That was me in January of this year. While celebrating my birthday (#39!), I started thinking about what I was going to do for my husband's big day in July...he hits 40 at the end of the month.
His party had to be fun, original and I wanted him surrounded by his closest friends.
I rattled off some ideas in my mind--murder mystery party, traditional cook out, party at our favorite restaurant---none of them seemed right. Then I thought about trying to surprise him. Yes. A surprise party for the guy who seems to know everything I do before I do it. This wouldn't be easy, but I was determined to do something great for the guy who does so much for me.
Step 1: Enlist some help. My guy's business partner and a friend in Miami were quickly called in to help. We figured out immediately that we didn't want the party to be in our town. That would be too easy for him to figure out. We chose Miami--cool city, fun restaurants and easy for the friends I was inviting to get to by airplane. Did I mention that most of the friends I was inviting are from Germany? This threw a huge kink in our plans and would force us to get started planning in late January-early February. I swear, by the time it was all done I felt like I'd planned a wedding reception for 14 people. Doesn't sound hard, but the planning was, in a word, stressful!
Step 2: Getting the invites out. With the work schedules of people in Germany, July turns out to be one of the busiest months. This made picking a date difficult since we were working around 14 different schedules. Plus we didn't want to pick the actual date of my guy's birthday. That would be so predictable! July 15-17 was chosen to get around the schedules of all of our guests. Oh my. Booking of airline flights ensued and I was crossing fingers and praying that everyone could get the time off.
Step 3: Have so many conversations with our Miami-based friend during the carpool drop-off line at school that I'm sure the teachers thought I was seeing someone on the side. More decisions were made before 8am than at any other time of the day. My husband wasn't in the car, I was alone with the kids and "Mr Miami" could call and not give anything away. My husband's business partner would always text first to see if I could talk, then we'd call. It was all very hush-hush and sneaky. It was kind of fun!
Step 4: Planning the surprise moment...We picked a fantastic restaurant as the place for the surprise. Friday night dinner with Mr Miami would raise no flags with my husband since we'd always met for dinner when visiting. I highly recommend Barton G for some amazing atmosphere and super fun food.
Step 6: Stretch out the texting muscles. I think in these months of planning I've texted more than I ever have before. As a result, I'm almost as good at texting as my husband. That is quite a feat. While trying to avoid running into our friends at the hotel when we were checking in, I was texting like a mad woman--warning everyone to stay on the beach or get to their rooms. A big thanks to my friends Kim and Erica. I used you all as decoys and told my guy I was texting you all the whole time. He thought I was crazy but bought that little white lie. Yea me! And Yea for great girlfriends who, even though I wasn't texting you, it would seem realistic that I was. That says something. I don't know what it says, but it says something.
Step 7: Don't have a stroke before the big day. I almost failed this.
It was the longest 6 months of my life, but last weekend - last Friday to be exact- it all payed off.
We walk into the restaurant, follow the hostess to our table and there are all of our friends--some of whom I've not seen in years-- most of whom my husband thought were other places. It was perfect.
He was surprised and delighted. That man is the hardest one to pull a joke on and we got him.
We enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Barton G's. I highly recommend it if you're travelling to Miami.
My suggestion if you go there is to go hungry or get appetizers and a dessert or just get one entree and share it with 12 of your closest friends.
The next day our friend opened his home to us and all our motley crew for a day of boat rides on a Cigarette boat, floating in the pool, munching and listening to music. It was truly one of the most relaxing days I've spent in a long time. That sentiment was echoed by all our friends.
How can you not be relaxed with a view like that and a seriously pimped outdoor kitchen with misters? That is my husband's back. Seriously, this is the most relaxed he's been in a while.
All in all, a great birthday/anniversary weekend.
I'm spent. I'm sure this surprise took a few years off my life, but it was soooo worth it.
Happy Birthday to my Favorite Guy!