I am a second-generation surprise enthusiast (thanks mom) and I am a sucker for the whimsical moments that are found in the unexpected. So when Jenni recommended we throw Kleckley a surprise 25th birthday party, my reaction was of the “Dwyane Wade showed up at my prom” variety. Christmas morning may not even be this good.
The original plan had been a simple request by the birthday girl herself. Dinner at Five Loaves, a few of our favorite people…it is a Monday after all. But, anyone who knows our group knows we love a good “in-the-moment” story. As we had just finished up celebrating Natalie’s 25th a week or so earlier, we were fresh off the birthday momentum boat and ready for another round.
Fast forward to birthday eve this Monday and duties had been allocated. In retrospect, some of these responsibilities could have been better assigned:
Jenni: Clean the house. Assemble the snacks. Invite the people.
Natalie: Decorations & Aesthetics.
Porter: Help whoever needs it (we needed about 3 of her).
I’ll admit something about a good surprise puts me right in the middle of my own undercover operation on USA network. I’m talking “Lets get walky-talkies!” and “Can we have a secret signal?” But, needless to say, when Kleckley decided she wanted to change clothes before we went to her “9:00 dinner because Porter has to work late” I was looking around for a director to yell cut.
SCENE ONE | The SOS went out at 1:41 p.m.
Me to Group: “HELP. Kleckley wants to go home and change before drinks. I don’t know how to fix it.” Right, I know I had one job.
Jenni to Me: “No, not possible. Tell her I had the exterminators come today and she has to be out of the house as long as possible. Whatever you do, you can not let her go home.” Great. Do you guys even have bugs? And if you do, how would I know that?
The next several minutes are a blur of group text messages and masterful conversation navigation:
Kleckley to Me: ”Jenni just texted me and said I couldn’t go into my house because the exterminator was coming? Is that a scam to get me to not go home?” She knows.
Me to Kleckley: “Weird. I know nothing about an exterminator. Do you guys even have bugs? Happy Birthday! Your house is pest and rodent free!” That sounded normal, right?
Natalie to Group: “CSD is too smart for surprises.” Maybe I should lie about a lie.
Me to Kleckley: ”Okay, so I guess I just have to own up to this now… Allison wanted to come get drinks with us for your birthday because she cant come to your dinner tonight. That’s why I was so weird about you going home. I think she has something planned around 6:30. I’m literally the worst at secrets. Can you change after work?” Note to self: Fill Allison in.
Kleckley to Me: “Oooohhh. Of course! I hope Sydney (her canine child) doesn’t eat pesticide.” Safe.
SCENE TWO | THE BAR (enter Allison, Kleckley and Lowndes)
After what seemed like an eternity of stall tactics it was finally 6:30. Allison had to go. Our tabs were closed. I had been successful.
Me to Group: “The Eagle is flying.” Okay, I wasn’t that cool. But it’s my blog so we will go with that.
Natalie to Me: “So, it’s just me and Jenni. Take your time. Can you pump gas or something? Apparently no one got the memo that they moved houses. Just take a shot until you figure it out.” Okay, where is Ashton Kutcher?
ENTER PORTER TO SAVE THE DAY.
Porter: “What’s your ETA to the house? Just finished my meeting.”
Me: “They need more time.”
Porter: “On my way.” This is why we are roommates.
Kleckley: “Is that Porter’s car? I thought she was working late.” Alright, that’s enough Nancy Drew.
SCENE THREE | IT WAS WORTH IT
The next 45 minutes consist of Porter and I covertly pouring out half a carafe of Grey Goose to end the “progressive cocktails & friends” parade, everyone finally making it to the correct house, and Cobblestone Diaries pulling off our first (and probably last) secret.
After a terrified Kleckley opened the door to 20 or so of her closest friends yelling “Surprise!” we have come to two conclusions:
- Future husbands beware: if you want your proposal to have half a chance of being a surprise, DO NOT recruit the sisterhood.
- We will all download the Glimpse app (the easiest way to safely share your location with someone in real time.) It’s not quite night vision goggles, but it’s free.