May 23 At Angie's house for our weekly homeschool group day.
Clarice: "We haven't had a dinner just for the moms in a long time. What does everyone's calendar look like for early June?"
Angie & Mary: "We're pretty open."
Kristin: "I'm open in the evenings. And I know that Tracy's final 4-H meeting is on the 5th--dinner with all of us would be a great way for her to celebrate!"
Clarice: "Does the evening of the 7th work for everyone?"
Angie, Mary & Kristin: "Yes."
Clarice: "Okay. My house at 5:30. I'll call Tracy to make sure it works for her."
After Kristin left the house
Clarice: "Do you think Kristin was suspicious? Did we choose a date that's too close to her birthday?"
Angie: "She didn't look like she caught it."
Mary: "The 7th is almost a week before her birthday--I doubt she thought anything of it."
May 30 At Angie's house for our weekly homeschool group day.
Kristin: "Hey--what's everyone making for dinner at Clarice's house?"
Angie: "I'm trying a grilled tofu with five spice wrapped in romaine leaves and rice on the side."
Mary: "I'm making those kabobs with the salami, tortellini, fresh mozzarella and veggies marinated in Italian dressing."
Clarice: "A fruit dish, margaritas and a special dessert."
After Kristin left the house
Clarice: "Quick, Angie! Before Kristin can make it back to her house, call her husband and let him in on the plan so he will encourage her to share a ride with Tracy."
Angie: "Do you think Kristin caught on that all the food is island/tropical themed?"
Mary: "I couldn't tell, but it doesn't matter. Even if she figures it out, it will be a lovely party for her."
Angie: "Her husband wasn't home. Do they have caller ID? I need to think of some plausible reason I would have been calling her house right after she left here just in case she has caller ID. She's going to figure this out."
June 5 At Tracy's final 4-H meeting.
Tracy: "Would you like to carpool to Clarice's house on Thursday evening?"
Kristin: "Sure! Pick me up around 5ish?"
Kristin: "Oh--I meant to ask you, what are you bringing for dinner?"
Tracy: "That chicken satay with peanut sauce."
Kristin: "Yay--my favorite! I haven't decided what to make yet. I should get on that."
Later that same day . . .
Tracy, on the phone with Clarice: "It's all set up, I'll pick Kristin up at her house at 5 and we'll be at your house at 5:30."
Clarice: "Do you think she has any idea?"
Tracy: "Hmmm, I'm not sure. I don't think so. I've driven past their house at least a dozen times trying to catch them at a time when Kristin is gone but her husband is there so I can enlist his assistance. So far, no luck."
June 6 At Angie's house for our weekly homeschool group day.
Before Kristin arrived
Clarice: "I'm pretty sure she must know by now--with Tracy picking her up, the tropical menu, so close to her birthday. She probably knows."
After Kristin arrived
Angie: "Clarice, I can't find the menu from the organic restaurant I wanted to show you."
Clarice: "Don't worry about it. Bring it tomorrow if you find it."
Me thinking to myself: Oh. They're getting together tomorrow and I'm not invited?
Clarice: "So Kristin, you're coming tomorrow at 5:30?"
Kristin: blank stare . . . crickets chirping . . . tomorrow? huh?
Kristin: "Oh!!! Dinner! Yes! Oh geez, Clarice--you must feel so insulted! Seriously--I've been totally looking forward to it--I just somehow forgot between yesterday when I talked to Tracy and just this moment . . . "
After Kristin left
Clarice: "That's a girl who doesn't have a clue. I don't think she knows!"
Angie: "I don't know . . . I overheard one of the kids telling her Youngest about it. She might still catch on before tomorrow."
Mary: "I'm not too concerned about it. It's still going to be lovely and she will appreciate the gesture, whether it's a surprise to her or not."
3:00 p.m. Kristin, on the phone: "Hey, Tracy? I'm running late today. Instead of carpooling, I'm just going to drive myself."
Tracy: "Uh, well, you know I'm usually running late. It won't be a problem. I'll just pick you up a little later than 5?"
Kristin: "Thanks--really--but I don't want to put you out. I'll just meet you there. See you tonight!"
Tracy, on the phone to Clarice: "I tried! I really did! She insisted she didn't need a ride. So she'll be a little late, but she'll be there."
Clarice: "It's okay, we'll work with it."
5:29 p.m. At Clarice's house.
Clarice: "I heard a car in the driveway."
Mary: "It has to be either Angie or Tracy. It can't be Kristin!"
Clarice: "There's no way it's Kristin. She's never early."
The kitchen door opens. A voice says "hello?"
Clarice & Mary whispering: "Omigosh--it is Kristin! She's early!"
Clarice & Mary to Kristin: "Surprise?"
And this is how I blindly stumbled into my surprise Tropical Getaway 40th birthday party. Even when I walked into Clarice's kitchen and could see tropical streamers in the living room, I still didn't get it right away! I was thinking maybe it was something a little special because both Tracy and I have birthdays this week. But really--it never occurred to me that it was a whole big deal just for me. It was the best! I am blessed with the most thoughtful friends!
Photos to follow . . .