And That’s How the Birthday Party Went from DIY to OMG

Few things have the potential to spice up your kid’s 10th birthday celebration quite like the unwelcome realization that you apparently purchased balloons that should have been placed in the bachelorette party section of the local grocery store. I was concerned when I removed the first deflated version from the package, but perhaps it was just my imagination??   My husband blew up a balloon and showed me the result with the animation of one passing the salt.  Unable to comprehend why he wasn’t seeing what I was seeing, I just stared at him blankly and finally shook my head no.  Then my son ran in beaming with pride that he had also blown one up!  Despite personally having the equipment, neither of these guys was paying attention to the obvious style of the decor.  I wasn’t about to have those things waving back and forth in front of our house, so I explained that the latex was too thin and the dogs might eat it if they popped and also maybe I had read about a recall notice in the past couple of hours since purchase due to radiation contamination.  I could see confusion in their eyes, but I grabbed the balloons and redirected them to other tasks.  There would be no suburbia Latexgate.  Goodbye bachelorette balloons.

Despite the absence of the salacious address markers, the doorbell began to light into action minutes later. My husband was occupied with setting up kid-appropriate party stuff on the back patio, so I hurried to the door to greet and introduce myself to multiple sets of parents.  As all small children are sent to this planet with an innate sense of optimal embarrassing timing, my two-year old naturally understood that it was the ideal moment to decide that pants were no longer her thing.  She shuffled after me pushing her little jeans below her knees like a mermaid on a mission.  “So nice to meet you as well!  We should get the kids together for summer!  Yes my other kid usually wears pants!”  Enjoy it now small one because someday I will be in charge of selecting your graduation and rehearsal dinner video pics.  You’ll wish you had opted for pants then!

Drop-off time came and went, the tidbit child ultimately agreed to don some shorts, and the older girls cranked up the decibel level and headed to the patio. I had come up with the very clever idea to have them make their own fairy gardens.

Two quick notes on fairy garden parties:

  1. It is so easy and will save you tons of money to DIY this event at home.
  2. I recommend that you plan a two-hour + party to do this.

Allow me to add a couple more notes for you to ponder:

  1. The idea that DIY parties are cheaper is mega crapola, you get to clean your home in a big way before and after your party, and there is a strong chance that parents will leave your home with the impression that you raise pantless toddlers.
  2. Two hours is the perfect length of time as long as everyone leaves early – say around one and a half hours. Beyond that, you need an alternate activity.

Lucky for all, I had thrown the idea together over a couple of days, was totally unprepared for anything beyond gardening, and did not have an alternate activity planned. And then right on cue, a Texas thunderstorm appeared.  Within a few brief minutes, the skies went from somewhat cloudy to extremely menacing with growling thunder.  My husband and I rushed to relocate the girls and their mini-gardens.  He herded the girls to safety as I moved some of the gardening items to the new super cool shabby chic party spot we unaffectionately referred to as the garage.

While crossing through the house, I heard someone banging loudly on the front door. We were more than halfway through the allotted party time but punctuality isn’t my bag either baby so no judgement.   I opened the door to find the brother and mom of one of the party attendees in front of our home.  Maybe they had heard about our super cool garage party theme and were there to perform a prison break on the girls’ behalf.  I wouldn’t have blamed them, but it seemed unlikely given that this particular mother had been a close friend of mine for years.  Also who wouldn’t want their kid to play “Pin the Tail on the Oilspill!”

As surprised as I was to see them there at that time, that didn’t hold a candle to the shock I felt when I heard these words – “There’s a tornado over there.” The son turned and pointed past the street, and I could see the funnel cloud in the sky behind him.

I have lived my entire life in an area prone to unpredictable weather, but until that point, I had never seen a funnel cloud in person, and I definitely hadn’t seen one in person with a dozen other people’s’ children playing in my home. We raced inside and corralled everyone into the large closet under the stairs.  (When you hear that everything is bigger in Texas, they are actually referring to the closets.)  We hung out for a few minutes, joked around with the girls to keep it light, and ultimately headed back out for cake and whatever else for the remaining minutes.

To be totally honest, I’m not really sure what we did from that point on. I was so rattled by the whole thing.  I had mistakenly believed that Wizard of Oz theme parties were reserved for huge Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Cher fans, but clearly this was not the case.  In hindsight, I should be thankful because it did effectively fill that open alternate activity spot.

The truth is that it really scared me. I am still trying to figure out how to show my gratitude to my dear friend for coming over to warn us to take cover.  I recognize that her daughter was with us, so mama instincts will always kick in, but she and her sweet son still put themselves at risk to protect all of us.  We had been oblivious to the tornado.  As it turned out, our local warning system did notify us of the impending threat – twenty minutes after it passed – but that is how it can be with tornadoes.  The latest  technology makes educated assumptions, and then life happens however it happens.

Above all, I think the key point to remember is this – anyone can go roller skating (except ironically for me because my ankles vote no), but how many people can schedule a three location party (patio, garage and closet all in the same time slot – WHAT?!?!!?) AND bring in a real live tornado to kick it up a notch???  So stick that in your bouncy house!

And you thought DIY stuff was lame. Not here baby.

zz_tornado

This pic was taken by a neighbor who had the time to get the shot given her lack of other people’s small humans in her home.

***MoJo***

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