Well, it is mid-February and that means one thing: Bob's Birthday Surprise of the Year!
The precedent was set in our first year of dating: For Bob's 25th I created an indoor camping scene in my studio apartment with my George Foreman Grill, a cooler of drinks, glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and my feather bed pulled into the living room and piled high with sleeping bags. I still remember the 45 minutes I attempted to set up my sleeper tent inside the apartment (fail).
The next year saw a Lost weekend marathon, followed by an Around the World Tour, a James Bond Spy Game (pictured below) and then Puzzle pieces that fit together to reveal a stay-cation getaway to a Chicago Hotel.
Last week, as I hemmed and hawed over what theme to pick for his 6th weekend celebration, I received an email from a good friend who would be visiting her family in Wisconsin and would we be interested in meeting them in New Glarus for the weekend?
"Yes!" I instantly replied. For those unfamiliar, New Glarus is a 2000 person town, home to the New Glarus Brewing Co. Literally "only in Wisconsin," we love grabbing a Spotted Cow anytime we're back in Cheese Country. In fact, we featured Spotted Cow as 1 of 2 beers offered at our wedding (the other being 90 Shilling, a beer you can currently only get in Colorado, Bob's home state).
Kara and I made plans quickly: a couple trip advisor checks for hotel and restaurant options, some sad faces upon realizing that the restaurant we wanted to check out was closed for winter break (The Glarner Stube), a lucky reservation made for the fastly filling up Chalet Landhaus and we were good to go.
On Saturday morning, Bob woke up early and was met with the following when he went to the second bedroom.
Each card was addressed slightly differently and gave clues to his weekend surprise until the big reveal at the end. A co-worker had an empty six pack carrier at home that she brought in for me to help create the scene - to keep the shape I added a bottle of beer (not a New Glarus brew, unfortunately) to the sixth opening.
1. To Bob - a happy birthday card.
2. To Dieting - an I'm-sorry-in-advance-card
3. To the Ford Escape - a gas money card
4. To the Birthday Boy - a Bon Voyage card with the details
5. To Uncle Bob - an invitation for dinner and cake with his nieces (and my sister and brother in law) on Sunday.
We had plans to be at the brewery by 2pm to meet Kara and her husband, although Bob would not realize we were going to be meeting anyone until we arrived and I was suddenly enamored with the gift shop instead of starting our tour! What, can't a girl inexplicably want to wander around for 20 minutes or so before heading in to see the actual brewery??
When our surprise guests arrived Bob was certainly taken aback, considering our friends live in Colorado. We toured the brewery, had a few tastings and then headed back to town. We checked out the local bars before dinner at a good ol' Wisconsin Supper Club. If you have never been to a supper club, you are missing out. In fact, a whole documentary was made about them! We also may have gone a little crazy at the Brewery Depot - a sampler six pack, one of their oversized fruit beers and a crate emblazoned with their logo (still working out how it will play into our decor, right now it is holding shoes at our entryway.)
And so, Bob's 30th ended not with a blow out party in downtown Chicago, but rather at the small town's Swiss Lanes - where we had free reign of the place and both had pretty decent games.
Sunday morning gave us a delish continental breakfast at The Chalet and a 2 hour drive back to Illinois. We spent some quality time with the nieces and ate a whole lotta chocolate cake from Portillos. Highly recommend.
So what's next on the Birthday Surprise list? Only time will tell!