get a hold of
Hello, Jimmy? You'll never believe who I got a hold of!
He couldn't get hold of his friend to tell him the plans were changed.
Please write down a phone number where we can get a hold of you.
A: Did you get a hold of Mike?
B: No. His line was busy.
learn (something) by heart
He's my favorite! I've learned all his songs by heart!
She can't read music, so she learns all the songs by heart.
I had to learn the whole book by heart in elementary school.
A: How did remember all those math equations?
B: I learned them by heart.
I often mix up my friends' phone numbers.
I mixed up your names. Could you say that again?
The office mixed up the addresses and sent the wrong forms to the two customers.
A: You are supposed to come tomorrow, not today.
B: Sorry! I mixed up the dates.
take by surprise
The phone call took him by surprise.
His friend's visit took him by surprise.
When he asked her to marry him, he took her completely by surprise.
A: I can't believe that your mother joined the army!
B: Yes. She took us all by surprise.
take time off
She took time off to enjoy a vacation in the sun.
I have to take time off next week to go to the doctor.
Our company is very strict about taking time off.
A: Why don't we go to Paris next weekend?
B: I'm not sure if I can take time off work.