Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pulling it Off

In some areas of my life, I can pull things off well enough. The performance of Steve’s play “Science People”
Me as Marie Curie!
done on one rehearsal (I didn’t say I was good, I just said that I did it). The holiday party, held the day of a snowstorm when my five young kids were home from school, preventing me from any preparation until about 20 minutes before the guests were due to arrive. In this case, I spent the evening noticing the undusted furniture, the baby toys peeking from under the sofa, and the vague, unpleasant odor emanating from the kitchen trash can. But I “pulled it off.”

However, I don’t pull off surprises well, especially complicated ones. I have written elsewhere about Steve’s 40th birthday bash and the ruse to keep him out of the house (it backfired and he got home in record time, long before most of the guests got there). And even when I am just invited to someone else’s surprise party, it is all I can do to keep from blurting out the secret to the guest of honor-to-be (“What am I up to this weekend? Well, I’ll be with you, eating your birthday cake and…oops.")

So when Julie informed us that she was planning an elaborate surprise for Rose’s 27th this week in NYC, I immediately hearkened back to my less-than-stellar attempts at shock and awe. Surely the weather would be horrible that night (the plan involved lots of outdoor walking from spot to spot)! The expensive bakery cupcakes would be stale! None of her friends would be able to make it! We would be left, soaking wet, sitting alone in a karaoke bar eating bad cake. 
PJ and Rose karaoke

I shouldn’t have stressed. My kids, unlike me, have a remarkable ability to pull things off. From passing tough midterms to giving speeches in class, effortlessly parallel parking and successfully wearing scarves—it usually works out for them.  And, of all my children, Julie is tops at pulling off tricky things. She planned (and executed) Sheridan and Ya-Jhu’s wedding reception while she was still a teenager. I recall her checklist for the happy day, ending with something like “5:00 PM. Music off. Lights up. We did it!” And everything went off just as planned.

While I barely pulled off leaving work early so that we could get to New York on time, Julie sailed through
and hit every mark. PJ would greet Rose as she left her office (surprise #1). Dad and I would be waiting in a tavern across the street (surprise #2) We’d walk to Rosa Mexicano for a special dinner (#3). Meanwhile, a wide assortment of friends Julie had contacted from all parts of Rose’s life would assemble at Planet Rose Karaoke to await our 8:30 PM arrival (fourth and final surprise). Done, done, done and done! Rose was totally shocked and very awed. Oh, and the weather was lovely. And the cupcakes were delicious.

Way to pull it off, Jules. Thanks for an incredible evening.

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