A Real Surprise Birthday Party!

Editor’s note:
How many times have we either planned a surprise birthday party or been the intended recipient of a surprise birthday party?  It almost never works!  Well, Karen was involved in planning and pulling off a perfect surprise party for her sister, Kathy aka KK, who celebrated her 60th birthday on April 14th.  Here is Karen’s story of just how the party went!

So, last summer while visiting my family in Atlanta, my son’s girlfriend, Ginger, suggested that we plan a surprise 60th birthday party the following April for my sister Kathy.   I was all onboard with the idea, as Kathy is the one person that we have all leaned on for many, many years and no one was more deserving of a “surprise” birthday than her…
Around the first of March, 2010, Ginger calls me and says that she has booked the venue for K.K.’s party (a really cool log cabin) and we need to get the ball rolling on the other plans, etc.. Being that I live in AZ and the party is going to be in Peachtree City, GA, I knew that I had to be there at least a week ahead of time, but that was going to work out perfectly, since the Grands were going to be out of school for Spring Break.. I could kill two birds with one stone… Kathy’s friend, Daleen, who lives in Huntsville, AL, said that her daughter would make the invitations, so that was one less problem that I had to worry about being so far away and ShiAnne, the invites were beautiful.  She handmade each one differently using her scrapbooking skills and they were unique, to say the least.
I get to Atlanta a week before the party, actually the day before Easter, and spent a wonderful Easter weekend with my son Mark and his family, my sister and all of Ginger’s family !!!  Now, all I have to do is sharpen up my “party” skills and it should be a piece of cake for the following weekend…  It has been a long time since I threw a big party, but an extremely longggggg time since I threw a surprise party and keep it a secret, especially when you are with that person every day…  I totally lost count of how many times I ALMOST slipped up and spilled the beans ~~~ how easy it was to be telling Kathy something and before I knew it, I was tying it right into the party …..I don’t know if I covered myself well or if she just wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying, but the cat never got out of the bag by some miracle..!
Ginger concocted a reason for getting K.K. to the party, but the first obstacle that I had to work around was the out-of-town guests who were coming… Linda, Daleen and ShiAnne were planning on coming up on Sat., from Huntsville, get a hotel room in Peachtree City and be at the party when Kathy got there.. On Thursday Daleen called me and said that she couldn’t stand the idea of driving all the way there and have to “hide out”, when they could come on Friday and we could be together all weekend… Now, all I had to do was come up with a reason for why they were coming and start the house cleaning without being too obvious.. especially since Kathy telecommutes from home on Fridays.
I went back and forth in my mind about whether I should tell her that they were coming up for the weekend, under the guise that we were going to take her out to dinner for her birthday, or just let that be a surprise, too…Well, a surprise it was when they arrived around 10:00 PM on Friday !!!  She was almost asleep in her recliner and when the door bell rang and me thinking it was them, I opened the door ~ only to have my sister-in-law standing there… Hmmmm, well I invited her in and shut the door and before I could turn around and walk into the family room, in come the Huntsville girls screaming “surprise”….They had pulled into the driveway at the same time Tammy did, so Tammy came in first, while they hid where I couldn’t see them…  Kathy looked as if she had just seen a ghost and it took several seconds for it to sink in, since she had almost been asleep… Loved the look on her face  :)……..
We told Kathy that they had come up for all of us to take her out to dinner the following evening (Sat.), since her birthday actually fell on the following Wednesday and they had to work…  Well, she fell for the story and I had that first hurdle covered.   Kathy and her friend Linda decided to do yard work all day on Sat., so that gave Daleen and me a chance to do the last minute “stuff”…. Errand, errands, errands… At 4:00 we could get into the venue to start decorating, setting things up and at 5:00 I had to pick up all of the BBQ stuff that I had ordered..  We arrived back at Kathy’s around 5:30, to find her and Linda still outside working in the yard… I told her that they had to quit and get in the shower, because our dinner reservation was at 7:00…
I had told Mark that he should call me between 6:30 and 6:45, so that we could put our plan into action.   The plan was for me to tell Kathy that they had been at a poker tournament and had been drinking beer and didn’t want to drive to the restaurant, so they would need for someone to come pick them up.. My sister who never gets ready in a hurry was suddenly ready at 6:30 !!!  There she is, standing in the middle of her great room, purse on her shoulder saying that she is ready to head out…. Quick thinking on my part I say that I have to go potty and give Leon a quick call.   Well, I actually called Mark and said that he had to call in the next couple of minutes !!!  Panic….. this is going faster than I had thought it would….
Three minutes later Mark calls and puts the ball totally in my court, as he just sits on the phone and makes me carry the whole conversation ~~ both sides of it… Little turd… Anyway I hold the phone away from my ear and say “Mark and Ginger have been drinking at the poker tournament and need a ride”….
WELL, that just set Miss Kathy off !!!  “How could they do such a stupid thing when they knew perfectly well that we had dinner reservations” ..  Blah, blah, blah….  : )   ….. I said, “Well, someone has to go get them and I’m not sure where this place is, so you talk to him”…  (Uh, I knew perfectly well where it was, as I had made a half dozen trips there all afternoon, but couldn’t tell her that.)
So at this point I suggest that she go get them and Daleen chirped in and said that she would ride with Kathy and the rest of us would ahead to the restaurant and be there for the reservation.  Do I have to tell you how livid my sister was at this point….well, livid hardly describes her mood, she was totally P/Oed….  I had already told Daleen when I got the phone call from Mark, that she had to suddenly say that she wasn’t feeling well and had to go to the ladies room, so that we could get a head start…  She did good, because she stayed in there for over 5 minutes, looking at her watch…lol…. Also, she had decided that she would make Kathy stop at  Wendy’s to get her a soda to help “settle her stomach”…LOL….   We knew perfectly well that there was a Wendy’s on the way, because we had stopped there earlier to get a burger !!!
Ginger’s brother, Eric, had gone upstairs in the log cabin ,where we were having the party, to be on the watch-out for Kathy’s arrival from a window…Once he announced that she had pulled up,well, “pulled up” is not real fitting ~~ she came squealing into the parking lot on two smoking tires and the first thing she did was call Mark’s cell phone… Of course he had been instructed not to answer it and when he didn’t, she called Ginger’s phone…  Still no answer, so the next thing she did was lay on the horn for what seemed forever…. By now my sister is BEYOND seeing red, so Daleen said “just go to the door and get them” ~~~ all of this time you have to imagine the language coming out of my sweet sisters mouth ~ to which she replied she wasn’t going to the *$@* door, how inconsiderate they were for doing this and I think was ready to pull away when Daleen said that she would go to the door with her….and opened the door and started getting out, before Kathy could throw it in drive and peel rubber once again !!!  ha ha ha
All I can say is that I saw red, as in F-I-R-E, smoke coming out of her ears, nose and mouth when she threw the door open ~~~only to be greeted with “SURPRISE”………….Had my face not been the first one that she saw, she might not have immediately put it all together, but she was as shocked and surprised as I’ve ever seen her.   This hardly describes all of the frustration she suffered before getting there and in the parking lot, but it was one of those “priceless” moments that I’ll remember forever..!!!
Leon has his 60th coming up in Feb. and honey, I’ll be happy to give you a big party, but it will be a long time before I want to do the surprise route again.  It is just too hard for me to keep a secret and I don’t know if I could pull another one off again…
It was all worth it for the worlds most wonderful sister, but once is enough…..We had a great time, good food and the best friends there ~~~ what more could you ask for…?