Not long ago, Joe had an opportunity to travel out of state for about a week, for work. We talked about my flying up for a few days to be with him, but eventually agreed that I’d stay home the whole time.
I wasn’t using miles cuz Joe keeps track of our points and miles and he’d get notification if there were changes to my account…and this was supposed to be a surprise ;-). So I wanted it to be as inexpensive as possible. I found flights on Frontier that’d work and if I could get away with just a personal bag, the round trip flights would be less than $75 total.
But then I had to pay for it.
Now, I am a VERY independent person who lived as a self-sufficient single adult until I got married when I was 35. So I’m no helpless flower when it comes to finances. But over the years, it just became easier for Joe to take care of the credit card bills. So regardless of which card I used, he would get a notification and that would spoil the surprise.
Flying out of MCO, especially during what would be Spring Break for a bunch of people, making sure I was on the Pre-Check list was very important. Unfortunately, I had no idea what my Known Traveler Number (KTN) was (again, Joe takes care of our flights. Hey, he’s the points and miles dude in the family, and besides, I’m lazy LOL). So I went to TSA’s website’s FAQ and found out how to look up my KTN online.
Done. KTN obtained and registered, and Joe still didn’t have a clue.
This was the easiest of all. Our vet has a kennel and Dobby’s been there many times before. Reservation for Friday through Monday done. The bill wouldn’t get paid until I picked her up, so it wouldn’t hit the credit card until after he knew the surprise.
GETTING TO/FROM MCO
As a female, and a pint-sized one at that, I’m never comfortable taking an Uber/Lyft or even a taxi by myself. So I decided to drive to the airport and park at the nearby FastPark & Relax lot that we’ve used several times before. Our account for that is, you guessed it, in Joe’s name, so if I made a reservation or even used our account, he would get notified. So I made a new account. Fortunately, FastPark & Relax says they’re able to combine accounts, so we can get that done in the future. Again, payment wasn’t due until I came back to pick up my car, so there were no worries about using a credit card then.
Frontier is very strict about the size of your bags that don’t get checked. I was just going to be in NC for a few hours more than 2 days and my stuff would be small enough to fit into a 8″x18″x14″ personal-sized bag that’d go under my seat if I packed wisely. I also didn’t want to pay $30 per direction for a carry on that would go into the overhead. (Note from Joe: So you didn’t want to pay $60 to bring a carry-on bag so you paid $50 for a bag? What a savings! 🙂 ) (Note from Sharon: You hush. I’ll use the bag again. So there!)
The one problem? We don’t OWN an 8″x18″x14″ bag. We have a bajillion bags that are bigger than that (one was even 9″x18″x14″. Really? Really?). And lots that are smaller but not big enough to be an overnight bag. So I went to Amazon and bought an 8″x18″x14″ bag, making sure it was delivered on a day that Joe had an 8am to 8pm shift so he wouldn’t see the box. I had the option of charging my Amazon bill directly to my checking account, which Joe doesn’t look at very often.
The hotel Joe was staying in was set up by his employer. He had mentioned to me what brand it was (because he was so happy he could still get points LOL) very early on, but there were several of that brand hotel in the city they were sending him to. Hmmm…this was a toughly…how could I find out which hotel it was? I couldn’t ask his work, since the corporate office did all the legwork and I didn’t know how/where to contact them. And I think if I asked him anything that probed too deeply, he would get suspicious. So I did what any smart wife would do…
I checked his email.
Now, before anyone starts freaking out about privacy or anything like that – Joe and I have a very open and trusting relationship. At times we’ve checked each other’s phones, Facebook and yes, on occasion, email. As long as it’s not Christmas or birthday season, as long as one of us doesn’t say “Don’t look at XXX,” and as long as we tell the other (after the fact) that we did it, it’s all good.
Which reminds me…Joe my love, I searched your email in late January to find out what hotel you were staying in.
There. Now he knows. 😉
Transportation To His Hotel
I didn’t really want to rent a car if I could help it. Since I now knew what hotel he was in, and knew it wasn’t super far from the airport (less than a half hour), I looked them up and called them: “Hi, do you guys have a shuttle from the airport to the hotel? No? Oh. OK. Thanks anyway.”
So I went to Plan B.
Mongo (that’s his real nickname) has been a friend of mine for over a decade and a half and as luck would have it, he lives in the city that Joe was getting sent to. In fact, Joe had already contacted Mongo to see if he and his wife wanted to go out to eat on one of the weekend days he’d be in town and the three of them (well, four of them, with me there) already had plans for that. Anyway, after I spoke with Mongo, he said he and Mrs. Mongo would be able to pick me up from the airport. And boy, did they…in true Mongo style!
How It All Worked Out
I had told Joe earlier in the day that I had plans with friends that evening and probably wouldn’t be in touch until late – that way he wouldn’t worry when I didn’t text/reply to him for several hours, especially around the time that he was scheduled to get out of work (which is when I would be on a plane). Anyway, after the photo op, Mongo & Mrs. Mongo drove me to the hotel and I had the following text conversation with Joe about 5 minutes before we arrived:
That way he knew there was the possibility that someone might be knocking on his door, with a “delivery.” Oh, and r.e.: “Make sure you have clothes on…” It was already 11pm and I figured chances were good Joe would be in his pajamas…he’s not a nudist or anything.
So we got to the hotel. I knew his room number because I had “innocently” asked him yesterday, for, “just in case I need it.” And here’s what happened:
So, as you can see, yeah…it worked! After a month and a half of planning, everything went exactly as I would have hoped, without a hitch – I showed up at Joe’s hotel and he had absolutely NO CLUE that I was coming. My reputation for being awesome at keeping secrets, and of being sneaky, remain untarnished.
Mission accomplished 😉
*** I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Mongo and Mrs. Mongo for helping me with this plan – thank-you SO MUCH, you guys!
**** Note from Joe: I truly had no clue and it’s a miracle the video didn’t need to be bleeped. And I did eventually tell Sharon where I was staying but not until I got to town, which was a little late for her plans.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary