Monday, November 14, 2011

Robbie's Birthday Surprise!

Robbie is notoriously better than me when it comes to gift giving. He is thoughtful, considerate, and always seems to find the perfect gift. I, on the other hand, am horrible. I always wait too long to figure out what I am going to get and then once I do, it always feels subpar. For example, a few years ago, Robbie surprised me with a beautiful ring to match my wedding band. What did I hand to him after I opened my gift? A pair of boxers. A pair of boxers. In no way does a pair of boxers even compare to a diamond ring; I was so embarrassed.

This year I decided things would be different. I wanted to blow him out of the water and really nail it on the head. Robbie is a big San Jose Sharks (hockey) fan, so I decided to surprise him with tickets and dinner at his favorite restaurant in downtown San Jose. Since we would be celebrating his birthday, I went ahead and splurged on extra nice seats. His birthday arrived, I was thrilled, and he had no idea. Then I printed the tickets. It turns out the original seller uploaded tickets for the wrong date! I panicked. I started sweating instantly. I really needed this gift to work this year. I called the retailer's customer service line and was told I would have to wait a few hours while they worked to resolve the issue. Ugh! This was not working out how I imagined it. Then, while I was waiting for my "ticket situation" to be resolved, I found out the restaurant I was planning on going to was closed on Mondays! At this point, I was practically beside myself with stress. The one year I thought of something really good, it was falling apart in front of me.

Lucky for me, StubHub (the retailer I bought the tickets through) has an amazing Fan Protect Guarantee and the associate took care of me. I received new tickets at 3:30pm (the game started at 7:30pm), they upgraded our seats by five rows, and reimbursed me for the cost of parking, which was included in my original purchase. At this point, the only worry I had was making sure Robbie didn't figure out the surprise. I took him to dinner at a new place in Willow Glen and lied about where we would be watching the game. I told him we were going to a sports bar right by where the Sharks play and led him to believe I had friends waiting there to surprise us. Right as we were passing the sports arena, I had Robbie turn into the parking lot! It worked out perfectly. Our seats ended up being three rows from the ice, right behind the visitor's penalty box. They were the best seats either one of us have ever been in; we were eye-level with the players as they skated around!

Robbie was thrilled and completely surprised by the whole evening. My two favorite quotes of the night: "This is the best birthday present ever!" and "We keep going! When are we going to stop?! We just keep going!" as we descended to our third row seats (did I already mentioned that we sat in the third row? :).

Have you ever orchestrated a surprise party? Did you have stress or were you confident everything would work out?
(Photos: 1) A Subtle Revelry, 2-4) Taken in San Jose, CA for Short Story Long)


  1. That Robbie is the luckiest man alive!

  2. Thanks Pat! Although it was stressful, I definitely enjoyed that birthday present as well!

  3. YAYYYY!! This is a great story, Stace.

    I planned a surprise party once, and it was pretty exciting because she had no idea and was actually really surprised. I actually went the extreme route of making her think I didn't really care about her birthday or want to do anything, and then I BLEW HER AWAY with my thoughtfulness, ha ha ha. (This was in high school.)


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