Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Impossible Surprise

Throwing a surprise party can be challenging enough but it can downright impossible when you are throwing a party for someone in their own home...and they live with you.

I've not been able to really talk about what I've been up to for the past several weeks  because I've been planning a surprise 65th birthday party for my mom and she sometimes reads my blog. And she lives with me. And the party was here at our house. Needless to say, it was all very challenging.

My brothers and sisters in law were a huge help in pulling it off too. And I'm sure they'll all be thrilled when I go back to work and have something to keep me busy. Every week I was sending emails with excel spreadsheets attached with the guest list and menu. There just might be such a thing as too organized.

The trick to planning this party was that I had to let my mom think I was going to a party - because I was making the birthday cake and 1/3 of the food. I managed to slide the food past her (though she questioned my 4 packs of cocktail tomatoes - I made these appetizers. I told her, several weeks ago, that a friends husband had asked me to make a birthday cake for my friends 40th birthday. I mentioned it here. Yes, sorry dear readers, I lied to you too. See, if my friends husband had indeed asked me to make a cake for her I would have written about it in my blog (because she doesn't read it) and I needed my mom to believe it.

This was the cake. I must say, I'm incredibly proud of it.

My mom went on a cruise a few weeks ago and it bought me 10 solid days of cleaning (not that I don't clean my house all the time but the kind of cleaning one does for regular cleaning and the kind of cleaning one does for a party is very different) shopping and final preparations.

The next trick in this whole productions was the guest list. I invited over 75 people (thankfully not everyone came because I couldn't have accommodated them all in my house) but roughly 60 of them did. More exciting was that my Dad's brother and his wife came up from Georgia for the party and my Mom's cousin came in from New Brunswick.  This was my next challenge. My Dad's brother was fine, he stays with his sister but my Mom's cousin was staying with us. So I had to figure out how to get her from the airport, find somewhere for her to stay the night before the party without my mom knowing she was here. Luckily all my years of high school lies paid off and I told her I was going to my sister in law's sister's baby shower on Friday night (the shower is actually next weekend) and went to pick my mom's cousin up from the airport and brought her over to my brother's house for the night.

Yesterday morning (the day of the party) I arranged for a friend of my mom's to take her out for the morning. Mother nature decided to rear her ugly head for the first time this winter and dumped some snow on us. Not a lot, 5 or 6 cm maybe but it's the most snow we've seen all winter. It meant some people couldn't come to the party - those who had to drive up from the snowbelt where they got even more snow.
So my mom left, my brothers and sisters in law came over and we got to work, moving the furniture around (we have a large living room/dining room and a smaller living room so we combined the two living rooms into the big room and put the dining table into the small living room.) and putting together all the food.  We got everything in place and the guest started to arrive.

I have a pretty big house but it was bursting at the seams with people. Thankfully I had enough chairs for everyone. And food. Holy crap we had A LOT of food (not a bad deal really, my brothers and I were able to divvy up what was left to take home)

At 2 pm my mother came home. We'd told her (yet another lie) that we were painting the foyer so that she'd be forced to come in the garage door - directly into the room we were holding the party in. She came in the door and was greeted with the surprise.

This was the reaction.

After she got over her initial shock she began to make her way around the room and as she noticed people she'd say "Oh my God!" and hug them. So she  oh-my-God'd a friend that she used to work with who she's not seen for some time. Then she oh-my-God'd her brother and sister in law. The she oh-my-God'd some friends that she'd been on the cruise with, only 3 days before. Then she saw her cousin (by now she'd been oh-my-Goding for 5 minutes.) and when she saw her cousin she actually screamed "OH MY GOD, BETTY!" Clearly a good surprise.

So the party went well. She was truly surprised. She had a lot of fun. We had a lot of food leftover and my hips and feet are killing me. All in all a great party!!

By some miracle we pulled off a surprise party in the recipients own home. Booyah!  

1 comment:

  1. Jean, it sounds like the suprise party was awesome!!!Definitely alot of hard work on your part and all of your family. But well worth it for sure!! And I absolutely love your cake - it's gorgeous!! :=)
    Love,Rachel McAdam