Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Bubble Boy!


After a solid week of obsessively monitoring the weather to figure out what to do about Joey's pool party/BBQ birthday, we made the decision to cancel with his friends and go forward with the family portion of the party. On Friday morning we sent Joey to school with rain date invitations for his friends for next weekend and we moved forward with the cleaning, cooking and preparation that it would take to entertain 25 of the 40 guests originally planned for. Friday was kind enough to give us a brief peek of sun so that we could mow the lawn and set up the gazebo and canopies that would make our back yard look like a tent city.

At around 1:00 it was clear to us that Joey wasn't feeling well. He stayed in bed and did not call his friends, text obsessively or have interest in his guitar lesson. "Too tired" he said. We both agreed that he would rest up for the party. At around 3:30, we discovered that Joey was sleeping in his room. Sleeping during the day almost always means that he's sick. We decided to take his temperature, and sure enough, it was 101.

There had been 40 confirmed cases of swine flu in Joey's school district and the propaganda that they had been posting had everyone paranoid. We couldn't subject everyone to a potential case of H1N1. But at this point, 25 people were already en route to our house and no amount of manic dialing could get us in touch with all of them in time. We decided to sequester the boy and offer full disclosure before anyone entered the house, offering that we would not be offended by anyone that did not want to come in.

Guests began arriving at 4:00 PM and not a one of them was the least bit wigged out by Joey's illness. However, knowing that my 89 year old mother-in-law was coming as well as folks who had contact with immune supressed loved ones, we made Joey keep his distance.

We carried on and grilled mass quantities of meat and vegetables in the pouring rain. I brought Joey his food in his room, which he actually liked because he is not allowed to eat up there. I was worried about how he'd feel about being out of the action, but he was OK with it. He still got all of his presents as well as endless cans of soda, chips and other food up in his room. Besides, who were we kidding? This was his family party, so he would have still spent 95% of the day locked in his room playing XBox anyway. We recognize that he is 13 and has all of the priorities of a 13 year old:

Friends, Guitar/Band, Games, TV, Girls, Food, Family (in that order). Give it one more year and girls will jump to the front of the line, family will stay firmly in last place, I'm sure.

When it came time to blow out the candles, we opted not to go for the spit on the cake routine, and sang to Joey and held up a Scripto lighter for him to blow out about six feet away from the assortment of cakes. Again, not insulted, Joey happily carried a huge hunk of Oreos and Cream icecream cake to his room.

Other than the isolation of Typhoid Joey, it was one of our usual family parties. We played music, people danced (not me, let's not get crazy), people drank (a lot), we ate like pigs and ended the night at 1:00 am after the last of the die-hard poker players started to fade. And try as I might have to insight my relatives by sporting 4" purple plastic hoop earrings and NEON Yellow and silver sparkle toe nail polish, rumors of my off hours hookin never made it above a whisper.

When I woke the next morning, the party lights were still lit in the gazebo. This was a minor issue compared to some of the other things that I found. They say it's not a party until something gets broken. If this is the hallmark of success, then Bubble Boy's birthday was the best party since Diddy's last White Party in the Hamptons.

I found these things during the party:

A mountain of bubbles overflowing from the sink in the powder room.

Piles of coffee grinds and coffee beans all over the sink, floor and counter top. It was like Guatemala exploded in my kitchen. When I walked in on this scene, one one of my sister-in-laws had my grinder in pieces all over the counter in an attempt to remedy the problem. It was not fixable and the grinder went in the garbage.

Note to self: Don't ever ask your mother to make coffee again.

And I found these things after the party:

Cake and assorted food chunks squished on the floor.

A puddle of liquid hand soap in the jar candle on the sink in the powder room.

The vanity top on the kid's bathroom sink cracked down the middle.

It's not about the losses or the mess though. As any host who opens their home to such a large group of people, of such varying ages (2-89) knows - shit is gonna get broken. That's just the way it is. Our house is not a showplace, it's lived in and it bears the scars of that living. I could choose to do what my friend Sherry Leiberman's mother did and velvet rope off the living room and cover the french provincial furniture in plastic. But as I consider all of those things tacky (ropes, plastic and French Provincial) I make the conscious choice to take the hit.

Next weekend I will play hostess to fifteen 13 year olds. By comparison to what happened when the 89 year old was here, how bad could it be?

P.S. Joey went to the Dr. and he did not have Swine Flu. Happy Birthday Bubble Boy!

5 Your comments, banter and witty repartee:

Lin said...

How did the sink get cracked??! That must have been some party considering the birthday boy was sequestered!! Invite me next time!

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Heaven only knows! I found it like that in the morning. I never heard anything or saw anything until it was too late. For all I know, my husband kneeled on it to change the bulb in the light fixture (which he did the day before) and created a hairline crack, then maybe a light jostle just did it in.

You would be very welcome at the next shindig as I suspect that you won't break anything!

Aunt Becky said...

Man, parties are so much freaking work. I need a nap now.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Yup. Still haven't totally cleaned up and I'm having another on Saturday. Woo Hoo! Par-tay(?).

somebody said...


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