Wednesday, November 16, 2005

3 Score

3 score ago this December my mother was born. That's right, she's turning 60. In just about a month. And so the plotting and scheming starts. You see, my mother is extremely nosey (was quite a problem during my teenaged years when the worst thing ever was a nosey mom) and can't stand not knowing what is going on. At all times. And she's highly suspicious. Of everything. Essentially she can't stand surprises and that's just what we are attempting to do: throw a surprise party in honor of her milestone birthday this year.

We have quite a few roadblocks making planning this event difficult, to say the least. The biggest obstacle is the fact that my mother is the communication police and it's impossible to talk to my dad without her knowing. I mean, this woman won't leave him alone on the computer AND they share an email account, so we can't send him emails with questions or details about the party. She'll know - she'll read them. And she's not above checking the "send" or "delete" files to see what she may have missed. Really, she does that. And she checks the caller ID, so she'd know if one of us called him and then she'd quiz him about it. "Why did MP call? Did she leave a message or did you talk with her?" That sort of thing. Or she'd just call me back and say she saw that I had called. Same with the cell phone - she checks the numbers of incoming and outgoing calls. So communicating with my dad privately, apart from my mother, is impossible. The only way it's happened recently is when he's been up at the lake house by himself working on something. And that's rare that he'd be up there without my mom. My sisters and I can speak freely amongst ourselves, but we just have a hard time including my dad. So really, the details of the party are on us. It's our gift to Mom.

When my family was just here for Lauren's party we were able to snatch a few moments for quick, mumbled exchanges about the party planning. Key things like the date. But the whole time my mom was watching like a friggin hawk. She loves the attention but can't stand not knowing something. It makes her crazy. It's like she has this 6th sense that vibrates when something is being planned, or kept secret. She claims she knew when either my sister or I were pregnant before we ever announced it, even if she didn't really know. She suspected, and that was enough. She has a way of ruining surprises that way. So pulling off this party will be tricky. She'll probably claim she knew about it the whole time, even if she didn't. She's just that way.

I'm in charge of the invitations. I like to make creative invitations so I'm looking forward to doing these. I'm thinking of going with a Mission: Impossible wording theme since this party really is. The guise is that one of my mother's friends will host the party at her house. That's ground zero. She'll be sending my mom - and only my mom - an invitation to a holiday luncheon open house sort of thing. My mom's birthday is December 17th and the party is scheduled for the 18th. She'll be on high alert. My Dad's only role is to get her to that "open house" around 1pm. The invitations will share this ruse with the party guests and ask them to be at the house by 12:30. God, I hope this works.

We're planning a diversion the night before, on her actual birthday. Dad will be taking all of us (minus my sister Carrie who lives in San Francisco) to a nice dinner to celebrate Mom's birthday. We're getting her a gift and everything to try and make it seem like that is the extent of her birthday. While we're at dinner my sister Carrie, who will fly up that day, will watch the kids at my other sister Katie's house, keeping her presence in town a secret until the party. Too bad she's going to miss the dinner, but oh well. Her presence at the party will hopefully be another surprise for my mom. She'll probably announce she knew Carrie was coming. We've learned to just expect that from my mom.

I love surprise parties! Mr. Chick threw me a surprise party for my 30th birthday and it was so fun! I had no idea, and that added to the pleasure. It's nice knowing that people will go to all sorts of extra measures to do something nice and fun for you. I know my mom will enjoy herself at the party. Part of the fun for us is going to extreme lengths to keep the secret from the toughest lady to deceive. Trust me, I had a LOT of practice in high school and I was rarely successful in pulling the wool over her eyes. She's saavy, so we have to be extra-vigilant to cover all the bases.

Game on!

How exciting! I can't wait to hear more about it and that your mom is really surprised!
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