Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm Sneaky, But Only Good Sneaky

Hubby's retirement "luncheon" was a couple of weeks ago. He has never been into the formal ceremonies or public recognition for himself, so when M from his office asked him back in April where he wanted his luncheon and how he wanted it to run, he said, "I just want to have my luncheon at the bowling alley so the kids can remember it and have a good time."

Now M is very into the formal ceremonies and was quite skeptical, so he proceeded to call me on the sly. I had already heard from Hubby that this is what he wanted to do, so I confirmed it with M. The other thing M wanted to do though was ask me for thoughts on a retirement gift, of which I had none, because I really didn't think I had a suggestion in their price range. I knew what they had spent for higher ranking retirees, so I didn't think they'd be spending much on Hubby. M told me the price range, and I told him it would pay for a print from Hubby's favorite artist, Mort Kunstler. M said if I was willing to have it framed they would like to do that. I said I would. I gave him the specifics on Hubby's preferences: he loves Stonewall Jackson and General Lee, night scenes in the snow, and preferably non-battle, or at least non-bloody (as much my preference there). Within less than two minutes, M called me back and had me look at this print online:

It's called "Merry Christmas General Lee" and this is what the office got for my husband as his retirement gift. Since it's boxed I can't show you the beautiful framing. But when M got the print and Hubby was out of town we went to Michael's during their 60 percent off framing to get it ordered. I went by a couple of weeks later to pick it up and hide it in the back of my closet. Hubby still had no idea.

The day of the bowling party/luncheon I had to get the picture out of the back of my closet while he was not there, which meant I had to leave separately. I haven't mentioned it, but this is a really big picture framed ~ the print unframed is 18" x 28". I was supposedly leading a friend on post after running errands, but when I got to the bowling alley he wasn't there, which messed up my plans because I needed to go to the house to pick up the picture. He was still there! I drove up the back side of the street, called him, and acted like I was in the bowling alley parking lot. I watched as he left and then whipped around the corner. My friend had instructions to tell him I ran home to get the camera, and if he said he didn't see me driving that we must have gone different ways. I also had to put some extra gifts in a gift bag to throw him off which took extra time, so he called me before I left. I had to tell him my stomach was hurting and I'd be right there. On top of that, I had to try and make sure the picture would not be super visible in the vehicle if he happened to be watching for me at the bowling alley doors (which he was).

Fast forward to the office gift giving: I had bagged up an Arkansas Razorbacks baseball t-shirt, an Arkansas Razorbacks travel mug (since his Cowboys mug had just bit the dust), a baseball book, and a Starbuck's gift card all to look like it was the gift from his office. Then I gave him a tin with a gift card to Barnes & Noble with a note in it that all those gifts were from me. It didn't go quite as planned, because his initial (silent) thought was, "All they got me was a card then?" But then M and the Colonel brought the wrapped picture around the corner and he was a little confused and surprised, and then very excited as he got it opened. Hubby only has one other print by Mort Kunstler, which was a gift from me on his return from Kuwait.

To this day Hubby still can't believe how we pulled it off ~ the office not slipping up and telling him, M and I getting it all done, and me having it hidden right under his nose. And even when he asked me a question or two about his retirement luncheon I never had to lie. He wasn't even suspicious. If I can quote today's blog title, "I'm sneaky, but only good sneaky."

1 comment:

Heather and Reese said...

That's so sweet! You ARE sneaky.... Good for you!!!

Congrats to your hubby on retirement.

Happy Friday!


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