If you work a lot of hours, you know how welcome the feeling is of pulling into your driveway, getting a quick meal, and putting your feet up in the recliner and watching TV until you are ready to go to bed. Sometimes though, life doesn’t allow for this. And sometimes, life just reaches out and smacks you hard across the face.
My wife had asked me the previous weekend to reserve Tuesday, April 24th, as a official date night. You know what this means…coming home from working, getting changed, and going right back out to stand in a line someplace at a restaurant until a table comes available with the other dozens of people out for the evening. Eat some steak or whatever while spending time concentrating on the better half, followed by a movie before heading back home. We hadn’t had a night out together alone in a while, so I obliged her request and was actually looking forward to something different for a change. My boss had asked me to be available for a conference call on Tuesday, and the wife understood that it would mean I’d get home later than usual. She was fine with this, as long as I called her on the way home so she could get ready.
Before I continue, this is a good place to insert a comment. Don’t trust people you work with…and when the wife asks for something out of the ordinary, something is going on. Read on…
I enter my boss’s office later in the afternoon, to participate in the scheduled conference call. Needless to say, after sitting there for 45 minutes waiting for the other party to call, they never did. In the meantime, my boss used the opportunity to clean out her purse, arrange her desk papers, and step out for a few minutes to talk to other office employees. My boss finally came back into her office, sat down, looked at her watch, and announced that we just need to reschedule the call for another day as she had to go pick up her kids. So, after hanging around at work for a couple of hours, then sitting in her office for a period of time, I grudgingly arose out of the chair, turned off my office light, and headed out to the car to get home.
In the back of my mind, on the drive home, I’m thinking about the evening. What should I order at her favorite restaurant? No since arguing or making a suggestion of a place to go…she loves Texas Roadhouse for their steaks and their sweet potato, so I knew this is where she wanted to go. Going through the menu in my mind as I crawled through rush hour traffic for 45 minutes, I decided on ordering the sirloin, some mashed potatoes with white gravy, and nice fresh side salad with ranch dressing. Maybe a couple of Coor’s Lights to sip throughout the evening, and could actually taste in my mind the peanuts that would be in the large pan on the table for us to munch on while the food was being prepared. Yes…I was prepared for a nice meal, some good conversation, and promised myself not to complain out loud when we were in line waiting for a table for who knows how long. It’s all in the mental preparation to make things easier…but of course, when you plan too hard, nothing turns out the way it should.
I’m the type that “bee-bops” in the car while driving on the interstate. Love my music loud, and I’ve got a very nice sound system in the Altima. It makes rush hour driving bearable for me, and the miles flew by quicker than expected. Pulling into my driveway, I looked out the window to my next door neighbor’s house, where I saw him “cheesing”. I call it cheesing. It’s when you got a big shit-eating grin, arms cross in front of you, and you know something nobody else know. My next door neighbor was cheesing alright that evening. I waved through the closed window, hit the garage door opener, and reached around the car to get my iPad and coat. Never looked forward into the garage, just got out of the car, shut the door, and turned to walk into the garage.
“SURPRISE!” This shout was blasted at me by a dozen people, who were standing in the back of my garage. Why were they yelling at me? It wasn’t a birthday, anniversary, and I was pretty sure that the lottery tickets my office chips in on together hadn’t won that day. Somehow, my eyes had not focused towards the front of the garage, and I had missed the present that awaited me.
For over a year, I’ve been hinting that I wanted something…something expensive, something a pain to install, and something that would make life easier. Being cheap and frugal in nature, I always put it off. I put it off enough, and kept saying I wanted it enough, that the wife decided to surprise me a whole month before my birthday with the one item that I kept desiring.
A pull-behind motorcycle trailer.
There in the garage, between my family and friends, and myself out in the driveway standing there looking totally surprised, was my motorcycle parked facing sideways across the garage…with a pull-behind motorcycle trailer connected to a hitch that had been installed on the motorcycle. My wife told me later that night that I just stared for minutes…and the expression on my face was one of near-anger…she couldn’t read it well, and though that I was angry. Wasn’t angry…not at all…in the twelve years we have been together, she’s never been able to surprise me with anything. What she saw was the look of me being totally hoodwinked by everybody I know.
My wife had planned this since January, My closest friends were in on it. My family was in on it. My boss was in on it. My co-workers were in on it. My neighbor was in on it. Everybody was in on it. Everybody except me.
My wife had prepared for work as usual that morning, and even followed me and turned off where she always does…then went back home to get things ready for the day. Bill, a good riding friend (and saved our butts on the four-day Kentucky ride we went on last year when the Ultra became dead 25 miles from civilization), had spent the entire day at my house installing the hitch to my bike frame. He made numerous trips to a nearby town to get hardware, wiring, and tools that he kept finding eluded him. My closest riding friends had traveled a long way to our house, to be there when I got home. My boss had made up the conference call, to keep me at work until she received a call from my wife that everything was installed and built.
The evening was spent with great family and friends. Coronas and lime were emptied out of the cooler inside the house, a bottle of wine was found empty the next morning, and everybody stuffed their selves on one of my wife’s best meals…beef tips and noodles with a type of homemade stroganoff sauce. Followed up with a dessert of carrot cake cupcakes that was brought by a friend that everybody simply loved (from Costco, believe it or not).
It was my birthday present come a month early, and totally unexpected. Absolutely a wonderful night, one that could not have been more fun. The friends that attended wrote on Facebook the next day that they were so glad to have been invited by my wife. I am the one who is most appreciative of my wife. I found out she was stressing the last couple of weeks really bad, but she did a great job with this, and I’m glad to have her in my life. Her smiling the rest of Tuesday evening, and the next day, was only icing on the cake so to speak…it feels good when everything comes out right for a change, doesn’t it?
At least once a year, I pull a surprise stunt on her and get her good and earn all kinds of brownie points. I think though that this pretty much puts her on top with surprises in our family, which only pushes me to out-do her in the future 🙂
Needless to say, I didn’t get my sirloin, mashed potatoes, or salad that night. Guess that means a real date night will need to get scheduled soon. Who knows…I may not even suggest Burger King or White Castle at that time like I usually do. 🙂
Love ya honey.