Last weekend was Daughter MJ's birthday party weekend. Wow, what a ride, is all I can say.
The Wednesday before the party weekend, my husband casually mentioned the fact that his parents were going to be staying in my parents' pool house.
I'm almost completely sure that he mentioned that one or more times before and my brain simply rejected that idea as Unthinkable and substituted "They're staying in a hotel", which is much more Thinkable seeing as my own mother is a hoarder and the pool house in question is stuffed to capacity with all manner of crap that nobody ever needed on top of crap that we actually do need because the pool house is also the School House. Three days of work barely pushed back the mountains of shenanigans and foolishness to create a smallish island of relatively dust-free habitable area with a clear path to the bathroom. My mother-in-law is what you'd call an OCD Neat Queen, so as you can imagine, I was freaking out just a tad trying to imagine her being comfortable in there. Doing the required work was amazingly frustrating because thanks to every single one of the closets and cupboards in that place being packed with semi-random detritus, there was literally no place to put anything so we ended up just shoving and stacking piles of crap up against the walls, and stashing and dashing in the pool house's already-overstuffed storage room. I absolutely insisted on purchasing brand-new sheets for the bed in there, as the ones that actually fit that bed are over a decade old and they really looked it. My Mother The Hoarder resisted the idea of throwing those old sheets away, even though they had sun-bleached stripes around the edges and were thinner than Salome's 7th Veil. I waited for her to wander away and then I stuffed them into a garbage bag and unceremoniously chucked them as I've come to really not give a shit about whatever rationalizations my mother comes up with for keeping most of the crap she keeps, from decade-old sheets to history textbooks that ended before The Bay Of Pigs happened.
The in-laws arrived on Friday evening and so did Uncle Nathan, who is training to be a flight medic in the Air Force and chose to spend his first off-base weekend here. Uncle Simon, who is 16, immediately disassembled our laptop and XBox360 and somehow connected everything to his iPhone and cranked up the online Modern Warfare while everybody else chatted. Eventually, I wandered off to bed because the next day was Party Day and there was going to be a LOT of work to do in the morning.
At 7:02 Saturday morning I was awakened by a hysterical 9-year-old boy screaming in my face, "I'm THROWING UUUUUUP EVERYWHEEERE!!!!" I suppose I should be grateful that all he did to my face was scream into it given the state of the bathroom. I knew that the kid was going to be out of commission for at least the rest of the day because I'd had the same illness early in the week and that he was going to require quite a bit of attention and/or clean-downs during the course of the day/night. Given that I had pizza to make, Krabby Patty Cupcakes to finish and a party to throw, I was a bit thrown for a plan of action at that point and my son obligingly began to spew out of all available orifices loudly and piteously, which woke up The Husband Person, who was thrown out of the big bed so Sick Boy could take up residence 18 inches from an available toilet. And we're off! I shambled into the kitchen to make some much-needed coffee only to discover that the coffeemaker had developed a case of Coronary Artery Disease. One coffeemaker angioplasty later, I grabbed a Mega Mug of Joy and headed over to the computer to have a few mellow moments here on CM before launching into SuperMom Overdrive. Oh too bad, whatever Uncle Simon did to the computer to permit it to serve in some capacity in his quest to be playing Modern Warfare 24/7 rendered it unable to do anything else. Poop. I started to make my pizza dough, but was interrupted by literally everyone, all of whom wanted breakfast now now now and the howls of Sick Boy, who was busily clearing out his entire digestive tract in a highly uncontrolled fashion in the master bathroom. I left everyone in my husband's allegedly-capable hands and fled to my parents' house across the valley for peace, quiet, coffee and Internet. Within seconds of my arrival over there, In-Laws were invited in for coffee by my mother, who has never in the history of the universe ever done that even though In-Laws have visited umpteen times before. Well okay then, I went back to our side of the valley to make that pizza dough, only to discover that were were nearly out of flour. Whoops, my bad. Off to the grocery store for flour. A few hours later, there was pizza dough rising, sauce simmering and a dozen Krabby Patty Cupcakes all nicely put together and we were t-minus 90 minutes to Party Time. Birthday Girl had been whisked away by Doting Grandma to buy her birthday gift and the low-sugar Capri Suns that I forgot to buy when I was getting the flour (I blame pregnancy brain), Sick Boy was mostly empty and napping and Husband Person was blowing up party balloons and setting up the bounce house.
I put together a pizza for the Uncles to have while they were monitoring Sick Boy, made Sick Boy a gallon of Gatorade, put two more pizzas together and staggered across the valley with them to the Party Area just in time to greet the first guests and their harried mothers. The bounce house was a huge hit as were the large rubber balls Husband Person put into the bounce house for the kids to throw around in there and everyone cheerfully bounced while the parents chatted until the pizza was ready. The pizza wasn't as huge a hit with the kids thanks to whatever forces exist that silently inform children that food items are somehow compromised if they don't conform to established commercial standards; in this case, the fact that the pizzas were rectangular was a dealbreaker. We had Present Time next. Granny In-Law had purchased a large, elaborate, completely useless item whose alleged purpose was to funnel batter, made from a tiny included foil packet of chemicals, into a plastic cake pan to be microwaved and then decorated by the same machine using frosting made from another tiny included packet of chemicals. I think this item was another in a long series of good-natured "revenge gifts" that my mother-in-law chose to get back at me for giving Uncle Simon a drum set when he was 10. The sole little boy who showed up to this gig won Daughter's heart with the Halloween Barbie he'd chosen as his gift. I'm not a Barbie fan, but even I had to admit that Halloween Barbie was pretty nifty. Cupcake Time! I am not one of those sugarcrafting genius moms who regularly defy the laws of physics with their icing creations. Usually, I leave all such behavior to my sister Molly, who bakes as a hobby, but alas she had to go to Chicago to attend her high school reunion so I was on my own. I ended up baking plain vanilla cupcakes, cutting them in half horizontally, sticking cookie-cuttered rounds of brownie in the middle and droozling green, yellow and red icing all over the brownies before setting the tops of the cupcakes back on top of the whole shebang. Amazingly, they ended up looking just like little tiny hamburgers. Each kid got his or her own candle, because I'm not a fan of having my kid spit her epithelials all over everybody's food during a birthday wish. All the parents informed me that they would be stealing the Krabby Patty Cupcake concept.
The rest of the party consisted of Kids Bouncing and Parents Networking and eventually, everybody went home. We all cleaned up the party area and I went to check up on Sick Boy and his teenage nurses. The teenage nurses were happily using wattage left, right and center between two computers, television, game machines and cell phones all chugging away to provide synapse-rotting entertainment and Sick Boy was out like a light in front of an iCarly marathon in the master bedroom. It was clear that his various sphincters had been very busy from the state of the bathroom. I stashed the tons of leftover pizza, cleaned up the bathroom (again) and got into bed with Sick Boy, who was quite warm and damp, so I carefully shoved a digital thermometer into his armpit to check his temperature. Ooh wow, 101.5! Sick Boy stirred, woke up and informed me of the ins and outs of his condition, which turned out to be mostly Outs and very few Ins. I got him to sip some Gatorade and wiped him down with a cool towel, because I couldn't have given him Tylenol on an empty stomach. Husband Person came in and we quietly decided that there was no way Sick Boy was going anywhere, not even just down to his room, as he was as weak as a kitten and was having difficulties holding a cup of Gatorade, let alone anything slightly more complex in terms of caring for himself. This left Husband Person's only sleeping space option to be in the Man Cave, which is in a teeny-tiny trailer circa 1952 in the middle of the property. Husband Person was resignedly cavalier about his relocation because the amount of decontamination of his side of the bed was going to require before he could sleep there again was what you'd have to call Epic.
The In-Laws, Uncles, Daughter and Husband Person socialized in the living room all evening while I dealt with Sick Boy's visions of his demise in a pool of his own filth, fed him liquids, mopped him off with cool towels and monitored his temperature. I went to see what all the laughing in the living room was about at one point to discover that Husband Person was showing his mother YouTube videos of Things You Can't Unsee including maggots in a large foot wound. Wow. As the night wore on, everybody went to bed except for me, as Sick Boy was waking up periodically and needing Gatorade and the cool towel when he did. Once as I was sponging him off, he gazed at me glazedly and said "Is this what you do for people in the hospital, Mom? You're really good at it."
In the morning, Sick Boy's fever had passed off and he was able to eat some toast that stayed put. Daughter talked me into setting up that useless batter slinger/icing chucker and not even the part of the instructions that read "Batter must be stirred at all times while in the Mixing Chamber to help batter flow through." which to me is code for "This thing does absolutely nothing" could dissuade her from believeing that it was the greatest hunk of plastic ever created. We said good-bye to the In-Laws, which included taking a billion posed photographs of everybody in every combination possible. I went back to tending to Sick Boy and eating vast quantities of leftover pizza slathered in the fake plastic cheese dip that my mother-in-law bought and decided to leave here when she tried to take it away from me and I openly snarled at her.
So, we had a party and nobody died. That's about the best one can hope for around here.