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Friday, February 19, 2016

A Fun Surprise: Jeff's POV

Before you read this post, you should read this one first.

Jeff and Clarinda picnicking at Springs Preserve

So, I wanted to try and surprise Clarinda with a day out of hiking and a picnic–which, if you know anything about the closeness of our relationship, is damn difficult to do. We spend most of our free time together, share most everything, and are regularly thinking the same thing–to a spooky degree at times

The surprise was not so much going to be the day out hiking–after all, we do that often enough. No, the surprise was going to be whether or not I could actually surprise her; of course, I threw in the picnic to add a bit of romanticism to, what I hoped would be, a job well done.

The Plan

  • Pick a location to which we’d never been
  • Come up with a feasible deception to get us there–or at least in the ballpark
  • Figure out how to put together the food and accoutrements for a secret picnic
  • Squirrel all the gear away the night before in Roxie’s hatchback area
  • And, do it all. without. Clarinda. knowing.

Though the stars aligned and most things came together fairly simply, Clarinda did her best to thwart my efforts at several junctures.

How it came together

I decided on the Springs Preserve, because we’d been there once before–but never out onto the trails. It has major historical significance to Las Vegas, and an endangered tortoise preserve–perfect for a Turtle Vida mission. On top of that, it’s inside the city, so it would be easy to figure a clandestine way to get Clarinda there (he rubbed his hands together with a mischievous grin)

I got the hours of operation and address/directions off their website and was overjoyed to see that the entrance was well placed on a route between Clarinda’s work and a park that we go past often, but rarely ever visit. I could work with that.

Then, BOOM, it dawned on me; it’s time to start cycling the MRE’s out of our emergency preparedness kit. The perfect foundation for a lightweight, yet substantial, meal.

How it went down


The brick & mortar of the plan was conceived and thought out–giving me 5 days to arrange everything.


Me: Sweetie, I want to go for a run on Saturday (I can’t just tell her we’re going to a store or something. She wouldn’t be wearing good clothes/shoes for a hike)


Clarinda starts telling me about this new, better route she has now for getting to work. PERFECT! Now I’ve got my reason for driving to her work on Saturday


Clarinda: For the run on Saturday, I figured we’d just do Sunset Park, so we can just do the shopping right afterwards.
Me: No, I want to run at Desert Breeze Park.
C: Why do you want to run there; we never run at Desert Breeze?
Me: I just want a change of scenery, and I want to check the distances and see what the surface is like.

Phew! She bought it.


Throughout the week I had spirited away everything one could possibly need for an open hike/picnic on a sunny day (self-heating MRE, Pringles, couple different flavor Clif bars, multi-flavored GU & Huma packs, pudding cups, juice, water, picnic blanket, hand sanitizer, first-aid kit, biodeg.TP, rope, variety of tools, knee braces, GoPro, sunscreen, and even Clarinda’s big floppy sun hat). All had been tenderly packed into our backpack and ultra CamelBak, and Friday night–after Clarinda went to bed–I snuck them out to Roxie.

Jeff sneaking everything for the hike/picnic into the xB


My plan was to tell Clarinda I wanted to see/test this new route she has to work, and since it would take longer to get to Desert Breeze, we could stop at Starbucks so she could get a coffee treat; drive to her work; go from there to the surprise location, which she’d never suspect (until I had to make that last turn into the preserve); open the hatchback; and unveil the supplies and plan for the picnic.

What actually happened: 

Clarinda: I know it’s out of the way, but I want to go to Starbucks and get a coffee if we can.
Me: (dang it! I was already going to take you to Starbucks!) … Yeah, that’s fine. I wanted to try your new route to work, so it’s not out of the way.
Clarinda: Sallie, do you want to go for a run?
Me: (dammit, woman! pets are not allowed on the trails in the preserve) … No. She can’t come.
Clarinda: Why not?
Me: (for pete's sake!) Well, I wanted to stopped at REI after the run.
Clarinda: Oh, okay.

And, we were off.

Everything else went off without a hitch until that last turn I had to make where Clarinda would know I was going the wrong direction, but we’d be in the parking lot so quick, I was just going to avoid her queries until we parked and I showed her the surprise in the back…

And, it was at that point, that we came to a dead stop behind a long line of immobile cars gridlocking the intersection to get into the preserve. AAARGH!!!
Apparently, there was a rather large regional award ceremony going on at the preserve’s amphitheater.

The best laid plans… and all Oh well, what are you gonna do? By the time we parked only half the cat was out of the bag; I still got to do the whole picnic surprise and it was a big success. Clarinda’s post covers a little more of what we actually did, so I just wanted to finish with the best part.

After all was said and done, a great day was had, and we were all packed back up into Roxie and well on our way home:

Clarinda: Oh! Didn’t you want to go to REI?
Me: … No. I never wanted to go to REI.


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