Friday, December 28, 2012


Victoria's birthday is coming up in a few days. January 1. One of the recurring discussions around this time of year is that she keeps telling me that since her birthday is so close to Christmas, she got shorted many times in her youth. And I am certain, as an adult as well. Not always did I purchase great, wanted items for both events inside one week....
Since this is a big round birthday for Victoria, I had to come up with something special. To make up for some of the years, when all I got for her was a nice dinner, which in hindsight, many times was self serving me as well.

 Our wants have shrunk over the years and you can ask anyone in her family, Victoria is very hard to shop for. Very specific taste she has.
But what I do know is that family is all important in her life, which in the end was my plan for a big birthday surprise. Months ago, clandestine and very low key, I planned to have Samantha and Lauren, our two older daughters come and visit us in Jarnac for their mother`s birthday.
First, I needed to check if both of them can get time off from work and their own life schedule. Check.Eeasy. A trip to France tops quite a few other priorities.
Then, get them to France without anyone knowing, suspecting what we are up to. Not so easy. Tell your boss you need to take a week off over the busy holiday season, but you can`t tell him why or where you are going....
Or your grandmother, best friend, roommate and so on. In times of Twitter and Facebook, news get out fast.
Or in my case, not slipping up with comments such as, "the girls can bring that when they come here".

My constant pushing the studio completition prior to Christmas when nobody is scheduled to arrive before January 8th, did raise some suspicion.  Victoria mentioned it to Lauren during a Skype chat, but she was able to deflect it with trades probably not wanting to work after Christmas and it's better to be ahead of schedule anyway. Close call, as I can tell you one other thing about Victoria, her intuition is very very sharp.
I toned down my scheduling comments inside the house and just made sure the most important things got done.
(Victoria, the true reason why I did not take you to buy that big olive tree today, was so you would not go inside the studio and see that all morning I was busy setting up the beds (IKEA even makes you assemble that piece of furniture), night table, loveseat, lights as well as the curtain over the door and get even more suspicious....)

So. Samantha and Lauren spent the last few days in Paris, doing the touristy thing and arrived today on a TGV in Angouleme. To make it a double surprise (Great two for one...) I took Isabella with me under false pretense and she was as surprised as I wanted her to be. Her sisters? In Angouleme? A few seconds of computing, before reality set in.

And yes, Victoria was surprised as well. Very much so. Just as I'd hoped.


17h25. ON TIME!





Vegas Sunshine said...

Following your post has never brought me this many tears. Thank you for sharing your beautiful family moment.

Vegas Sunshine said...

Following your post has never brought me this many tears. Thank you for sharing your beautiful family moment.

Nadege said...

Now I understand why the downstairs room had to be finished fast. Happy belated birthday to Victoria! What a terrific gift this was!

H.Peter said...

yes, Nadege, that almost blew the cover....but we managed to keep it under wraps.

H.Peter said...

Tears were everywhere. I glad you enjoy reading my posts.

Sheila said...

Kudos to you, Peter. I too
wondered why you were in such
a hurry to make sure that the
window opening was insulated,
apartment could be heated, etc.

melinda said...

what a great b'day gift......congrats on pulling it off!! enjoy

H.Peter said...

Thank you Melinda.
Happy New Year

H.Peter said...

Merci Sheila.