Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I was scheduled to attend a birthday party this past Sunday. Not just any birthday party either, and sadly not one with an open bar or even a cash bar. A three year old’s Strawberry Shortcake themed birthday party. That’s some of the best kind. There’s only so long that you can plan a theme birthday party and it not e considered stupid. My niece Hannah, daughter of The Chicken, was turning three.

The weather and surrounding details were not what one might consider to be ideal. The two weeks leading up to said fete were full of stomach virus hell. For all concerned. It started with me, though I swear I did not give it to the Chicken’s family. It passed through my family, thankfully sparing baby Mo, and then started on the Chicken’s family, sparing no one. Hannah even still has a touch of it today. On top of all that, it was like a gale outside. Postponing the party had been mentioned, it was so bad. Strawberry Shortcake won out in the end, though.

Now as anyone with children knows, orchestrating a trip out of the house can take some doing even on good days. The party was at 1400 hours and at 1300 hours, Connor was still taking a nap. I don’t like to wake him up if I absolutely don’t have to. It was looking like I was going to have to. A familiar buzzing led me to my phone and a text from the Chicken, frantic and with feathers flying no doubt. The text read as follows: can u get balloons? (I had to scroll through many several messages to find that just so it was verbatim.) The back story to that was she had been planning to go get balloons before the party. Not a very involved back story. I agreed.

Luckily, Connor woke up before I had to shake him awake. We got all the babies dressed and, holding them over our heads like soldiers with rifles in ‘Nam, stuffed them in the car. The roads were standing in water, it had rained so much, and was still raining. We got to Kmart and I jumped out to retrieve balloons, wrapping paper, and red and pink candy. I got the paper and candy, stashed them near a register, and dashed to the floral shop, hoping someone was in there.

I told the girl behind the counter I needed balloons for a party. She asked how many and I told her I needed 6 red and 6 pink. It was about that time that I began wondering how I was going to get all these helium filled floating bits of happy into my car. So that was the real reason the Chicken didn’t get the balloons. She didn’t have room in her car! And she has a Tahoe! Oh, dear. The trunk, maybe? Maybe each of the boys could hold one? No, surely, one of them would bite a balloon and it would pop and then we’d have two diapers to change.

In the time it took for this woman to press one valve 12 times I felt like I could have gone and cleaned out the trunk. In reality, it was five minutes. These balloons looked huge floating there on the ceiling, curly ribbons trailing from them. So finally I paid for everything and started outside. It was raining harder, if you can believe it. I couldn’t communicate with Dave what I wanted to do with these balloons so my only option was to run for it. Of course he pulled up so that I had to run around the car to get in. So I splashed around the car and dove to get in, all the while pulling red and pink balloons with me. I pushed and tugged them all in and shut the door.

I heard Connor behind me yelling “B’loons! My b’loons!” So there I was, lost in a cloud of Strawberry Shortcake. I managed to stuff one balloon under the dash. That was the only one that was maneuvered. They were all on top of me, obscuring Dave’s vision and making the drive to Lindale just a little bit more thrilling. Is there a car coming? Who knows?! Go anyway!!

Somehow I inched around and found my phone and texted the Chicken that the balloons had been gotten and we were on our way. Then just to verify the issues I was having with said balloons I sent a picture as well. In it, you can see the balloons invading my personal space and I think one of them even had a gun. One of them owes me a drink.

Finally we arrived and PeePaw came to escort us to the door with the umbrella. I spilled out of the car behind the balloons which were still all tied together with their little yellow ribbon. The bouquet o’ balloons seemed to be the guest of honor and only two popped, which was not my fault at all and I wasn’t even near them when it happened. I did my job.

So Hannah had her birthday party and, other than Connor, was the only one who noticed that there were balloons there at all. Highlights from the party include Hannah running around in a pink bathing suit and rain boots, Hannah and Uncle Mike playing with a Strawberry Shortcake play set, and Dave presenting me with a teddy bear that I have complained about being lost since Boxing Day, totally unrelated but a highlight nonetheless.

Always plan ahead, because you never know when you may have to ride 15 miles with your left leg behind your neck and your right knee in your left eye socket just to transport helium filled rubber.

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