At some point in your life you have to throw a surprise party, it is inevitable. I finally had the means to throw such a party for Brent’s birthday.
It was an epic few weeks of lies, deception and hoarding. The whole plan was set in motion almost 3 weeks ago to allocate enough time for everyone to be free. Brent’s mom and brother helped out by taking him out to dinner, leaving me only 2 hours to get everything set up on the day of. I had to shop for groceries in the days before and hide stuff all over the place. Whenever i went to get some pants or a shirt from the closet I would see a corner of a chip bag or the top of a box of Oreos poking out. I invited all of Brent’s friends making for a rather large group, I was counting on people no-showing or someone shows up late while early people leave, a rotation of people. But everyone wanted to be there for the surprise, I was in desperate (!) need of chairs*. I borrowed one folding chair from my dad’s house, my mom donated a chair to the cause as well. In addition I had dismantled and brought my old desk chair from my mom’s house. It was no picnic, taking it apart, carrying the bulky awkward thing and then reassembling it. Still it was not enough. I bought some folding chairs on Black Friday after my bid on MaxSold (auction website) on some waiting room chairs got outbid (who pays that much for chairs?!). I tried to bring the chairs home while Brent was at work, but sometimes I came home late. I would open the door and shout at him to lock himself in the bedroom with his headphones in as i was “shipping presents to summerhill” *wink*.
It was not easy. He sent out a group invite for everyone to meet him downtown after dinner for drinks at a bar (he too knew our place was too small and chairless for a party). Panicked, I let the farce go on. Sure sure, we will meet you there. (Everyone was very confused). He had texted his friend whom he had not seen in months- who texted right back that he was in for drinks. This friend happens to not be on Facebook and thus did not know about the surprise party. More panic. Someone posted Kyle’s phone number in a message to me and a whole slew of panicked texts ensued. Then Brent decided to instead make reservations at WVRST- shit, was I going to have to call and explain that they had to cancel his reservation?! Thankfully they don’t take reservations. I was still worried he might want to just stay downtown after dinner but then the week before we were at Snakes & Lattes, despite the shopping ban I let him buy a game, one that I was considering getting him for Christmas**. He was SO excited about playing it, he invited people over early to play. I couldn’t go to dinner with him because I was meeting my sisters downtown *wink*, when really I was out getting the cake. The one unforeseen downside was that our one friend who DID show up early, sat alone in our house for a while. It was funny.
Brent had left his key with said friend and so was effectively locked out. I had the door unlocked and every time people came in, we all fell into a panic, so i locked it. Two of our friends (one of whom was a huge surprise to be there as he lives far away) left to go to LCBO, one of them is a smoker… and he took my lighter. Brent came in and was absolutely shocked… alas the cake was not lit, as those two had gotten lost and came in after the fact for another mini-surprise.
Throughout the ordeal I kept flip-flopping, thinking maybe he had known all along? The one thing I was sure of was that he had no idea that two of his friends were coming: the one who lives far away and his other friend who was “in Chicago visiting his girlfriend.” When Brent walked in, as he went down the stairs he was acting as if he knew, turns out he was trying to play me and pretend he was drunk on the city’s best sangria. It did not work.
I learned a lesson in all this: don’t buy party poppers. i will never get those bits of foil confetti out of my house. it will haunt me the rest of my life.
* I looked crazy on the subway multiple times. Once I had an IKEA chair dismantled in a bag, another time I was juggling carrying two chairs. It was a lot of work.
** I now have no idea what to get him for Christmas.