It is that time again - come mid February I look to outdo the previous year's celebration of Bob's birthday. It started the first year we were dating when I put together an indoor campsite in my studio apartment, followed up with a LOST theme weekend the next year. In 2010 he got an around the world tour within the walls of our apartment.
This year I was inspired by Bob's recent interest in all things James Bond. I own a few of the stories and a couple movies, but not quite enough for a marathon movie watching weekend. Instead, I figured out a way to make Bob finding his gift a bit more interactive.
The present itself came to me a few weeks ago along with the theme - I love the pulp-y covers from this line of Penguin published Bond stories and found a half dozen on Amazon. PS. Also a huge fan of the Penguin Deluxe Edition covers for classics like Pride and Prejudice, Little Women andThe Three Musketeers. I want to collect 'em all!
To find his gift, hidden somewhere in the apartment, I set up him up for a spy mission. I wrote the script in just a few minutes on a plane and was ecstatic when I found out that my new version of PowerPoint lets me record audio right into the slide so there could be a voice over with the slides.
The premise would be that there were two clues hidden somewhere that, when pieced together, told Bob where the "parcel" would be found. It had a self-destructing bomb attached, naturally, so a race against time.
Since I made Bob leave for a few hours while I set things up, I made sure he knew to come in through the back and go straight to the back bedroom first. There he found the powerpoint that he would start with my audio-recorded instructions and his spy gear.
A) a cat toy to distract the cat who had one of the clues taped to his collar
B) a second copy of the seventh Harry Potter book (for some reason we have 3!) - he would have to replace the one that was in the library and held the second clue.
C) a watch with a countdown timer synched to the bomb (not really, just a countdown to see how long it took him)
D) his suit to change into with a Vegas shirt I bought him on my recent work trip.
When he was all set, he came in to the living room where I had Bond theme music playing, Goldfinger on the TV and a Martini all set for him - shaken not stirred. Sonny played his part beautifully as the kitty henchman - I was worried when I tried to put the collar on him at first because it made him go a bit nuts, but luckily he calmed down (the clue was taped around the tag).
I even got in on the fun - dressing up, doing my hair differently and wearing sunglasses to play his contact at the "cocktail party." When he found both clues it was pretty easy to go from there: "Sam" and "Sonite" = "Samsonite." He said he thought I bought him a new suitcase when he read that so I'm hoping he wasn't too disapointed to find out that I just hid his real gift in my carry on suitcase in the closet!
I wrapped some markers to look like dynamite and taped them to the gift with a countdown timer. I actually ended up replacing the one pictured with another timer that makes a loud ticking sound - if you listened you could hear it outside the suitcase!
All in all, the "game" lasted about 15 minutes and was actually timed pretty perfectly to the dinner I had going in the oven. We sat down to Chicken Parmesan and Garlic Bread and then settled in to watch Goldfinger!
What do you think? How to top this next year? How long before I run out of ideas and when Bob comes back from a few hours out of the house he just finds me sitting on the couch exactly where I was when he left me??