Tips & Ideas

Tips & Ideas


submitted by: Gary Hileman

In February 2000, my sweetie and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. I wanted to do something really special, so I planned a weekend get-away… a sort of vacation, if you will.

The first problem was to get the money. Since my wife had the checkbook she would see every dime that left. So, whenever I would take out money for our family to do something, I’d “hide” some of it and tell her we were out of money when we really had maybe $20 extra. I did this for a year and saved several hundred dollars.

Then, I made plans to surprise her at work and take her away unannounced. About two or three months before the big day, I incorporated her secretary’s assistance to run interference with her staff so they couldn’t schedule any meetings on the day I planned to get her. I emailed her with the plans so she didn’t have to talk and risk being overheard in the office. Then, I emailed her supervisor to gained her permission so that if a meeting was called she wouldn’t get in trouble for not attending and that any information she missed would be gotten for and reviewed with her.

I made arrangements for my parents to drive almost five hours across the state to stay with our youngest child. A backup family was ready to get him if they had trouble and had to cancel

Finally, I made reservations at a Gatlinburg, TN hotel we had stayed in our first year together. We had loved it so much because the room overlooked the river, it had a wood-burning fireplace and a cozy little seating area. It was our little piece of Heaven. The clerk at the hotel was nice enough to hold off requiring a confirmation payment until 30 days before our arrival – he held the room for two months on my name only. That gave me time for the credit card bill to arrive and not be noticed – I had to mark through the business and amount of charges so my wife didn’t see it because it still came in before we left.

On the big day, I went about my day as usual. My wife went to work and I went to the gym and took clothes with me as though I was going to work from the gym. After we all left, our daughter packed my wife’s clothes, makeup, etc. to be sure she had everything she might need. When I got back from the gym, I packed our car, picked up two roses (one as a Thank You to my wife’s secretary for her help and one for my wife) and drove to her office. She is a school principal and was in the teacher’s lounge having lunch when I got there. With several teachers and her secretary in tow, I walked into the lounge (surprising and embarrassing her big time), gave her the rose and a kiss and told her to get ready to leave – we were heading somewhere special. Two of my co-workers mailed a bottle of non-alcoholic juice and nuts to snack on to the hotel to be there when we arrived and we also purchased a bottle of wine while we were then to enjoy by the fireplace.

We spent the weekend going and doing everything she wanted to do. Her favorite restaurants, stores, etc., nothing was spared. On Sunday morning when we had to pack to return home, she cried because she didn’t want to return to the “normal” life we had to live. It was one of the best weekends we have ever had. She told me she will plan the surprise for our 20th. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with then.