July 18, 2012

Party lessons

I love a good party.  Especially with the paternal side of my family.  And even better when it’s a surprise party for my Dad’s 60th birthday.  But as I hosted my first large family party this weekend, I was overwhelmed and nervous that everything would go as planned, especially since my habitual procrastination was in full effect.  I now share with you the many lessons I learned this past weekend that I will carry over to my next party... the next party being in the next decade because it will take me at least that long to recover.
1. Plan on the most ridiculous accident happening the night before the party.  My grandmother had been staying with my dad for several weeks.  She is a little wobbly on her feet and as she was in the bathroom, she accidentally fell on the toilet.  Knocking it over.  Causing water to gush everywhere.  Water was at least ankle deep and was leaking into my dad’s garage when my dad’s wife arrived.  Problem was that my dad’s wife was supposed to be at my house cooking for the army that was to arrive the next day.  Because she had to leave to save my grandma and her house, I was now in charge of the potato salad.  Hahahahahaha.  Needless to say, the salad had to be resuscitated the next day by my aunt.  I believe her exact words were “This potato salad needs help. Bad.”  Moral of the story:  have someone watch Grandma or I’m going to be cooking... and you don’t want that.

2. Garlic salt is not the same as garlic powder.  I never knew that.  Another reason why you don’t want me cooking and why the potato salad needed a makeover.

3. Never send two girls to pick up a 200 pound keg.

4. Before making four gallons of a summertime cocktail that uses cucumber vodka, make sure that your guests actually like cucumbers.  I think I was the only one person drinking this cocktail... and dangerously, the four gallons were all mine.

5. Label the contents of every drawer and cabinet in the kitchen to avoid the barrage of questions like:  Where’s the can opener?  Where’s a large serving spoon?  Where does the chopper go?  It took me three hours to walk across my house to get tape because I kept getting stopped and sidetracked in the kitchen.

6. Make sure you have pictures of ALL your family members in your house.  One cousin was quick to point out that of the 100 pictures I have in my house, he's in none of them, yet another cousin was in at least 5 pictures.  Photo envy?

7. Avoid Wal-mart at all costs.  I now remember why I have not entered a Wal-mart in several years.  My sister and I had to run into the chaotic store to pick up the cake and chicken tender platter for the kiddos.  We also had a specific list of about ten items and “here were da ruuulllzz”:  we were to act like we were on Supermarket Sweep and tear through the store grabbing the items we needed and we were not allowed to stray from the list.  Problem is that we didn’t account for the families of ten filling up the whole aisle, the casual shoppers moving at a turtle’s pace, and us not being able to find one damn item on our list without asking someone.  Our twenty minute quick trip ended up taking two hours, with at least 30 minutes spent in the check-out line.

8. When ordering a cake for my dad's birthday, don't forget that it is also my sister's birthday.  As I was in line to pick up the cake, my sister starts wandering and picks up cookies, which I made her put back because they were not on the list (see the rules above).  Once I got the cake, the first thing out of my sister's mouth was "Oh na na, where's my name?"  Crap.  She immediately went back to the cookies.  "Then I'm getting these cookies."  As the cake was being served later that afternoon, she walked around asking everyone if they would like a piece of her birthday cake as she was holding out a tray of M&M cookies.  #failurewiththecake

9. For upside-down margaritas, you need sweet and sour mix, not pre-made margarita mix.  For those unfamiliar with upside-down margaritas, you need two people, a chair, and towel, and a drinker.  The drinker sits in the chair and a towel is placed around their chest in case of any spillage.  The drinker then looks up to the sky and opens their mouth wide as one person pours tequila and the other person pours sweet and sour mix into their mouth.  It’s a mandatory activity at my family’s parties; participation is not optional... not even for my 79 year old grandma.  The game usually goes at least four or five rounds, but because I failed with the sweet and sour, I don’t believe we made it through round two because they were so horrible.  Ooopps.

10. Just because you have a cell-phone in your pocket, that does not protect you from being thrown into the pool.  Glad we had some rice handy for all the key fobs and phones that were soaked with water.

11. Always have a long table available for flip-cup.  This game is a crowd favorite, gets everyone involved, and usually gets the party going.  I just don’t need to let the drunk man across from me pour my beer anymore... because I may or may not have had a memory after that (lesson learned).

12. Always have several spare mattresses stored in your basement because you never know how many people will be crashing at your house.  I completely forgot I even had mattresses downstairs, until my cousin came barging through the basement door carrying up mattress after mattress.  Genius idea and no one had to sleep on the floor.  I was thinking about tossing these mattresses a few years ago because they were twin sized (and who still has twin beds?), but now I realize that I am even more prepared for my next shin-dig.

13. Have cocaine available for your guests the next morning.  Totally kidding here.  Seriously.  Just kidding.  But that being said, my cousin was a machine.  He was up at 830am the next morning picking up cigarette butts in my yard (don’t bother setting out cigarette tins, they are not used), hosing off my patio, taking down all the tables and chairs, condensing the leftovers, and numerous other things that I’m forgetting.  He was a life-saver to me, especially since I didn’t move from the couch all day long.

14. You must have a plan for the fifty pounds of trash that will accumulate.  I wanted to keep the smelly trash outside of my garage, but 1) I'm pretty sure that's against some neighborhood rule and 2) the opossum my sister's dog had a staring contest with the night before would have this trash strewn all over my yard if left outside.  So the only choice was to leave it inside my garage.  And it was only Sunday.  Garbage pickup was not until Thursday, and by Thursday my garage smelled like a sewer in a third-world country.  Not to mention the new founded ant problem that accumulated around the trash.  Once the trash was collected, I sprayed a whole can of Febreeze and now my garage smells like someone planted flowers in the sewer... so it's gradually getting better.  Phew-weee!!

If there was an award for “funnest family,” my family would definitely be nominated.  The party was a success and my dad was overwhelmingly surprised (he cried).  Now we just need an excuse for our next one.  I asked my little cousin (who lives near Chicago) when he was coming back to swim.  He told me in five days.  I don't think I can handle another party in five days, but repeat next summer?  

July 2, 2012

Don't be jealous: part two

As promised, the following is the continuation of my post from last night.  I hope you enjoyed laughing at my mouse nightmare (The Orkin Man came today and I am now fully protected against any non-human creature).  Enjoy my other two favorite moments from this past week.
Hoosier Daddy?
Those who know me know that I kind of like Kentucky basketball.  I follow the team like they are family and felt like a proud mom on draft night when six Wildcats were drafted, making it the first time in history that six players were drafted from the same team.  I live in Kentucky and am surrounded by fellow Kentucky fans, so rarely do I have to defend my passion for the team.  However, I have found that once I leave the state there are a lot of haters.  People really don’t like Kentucky and their number one argument is “Calipari is a cheater.”  Blah, blah, blah.  I take it personally when people criticize my team... just as I would if someone criticized my family.  I will argue with you until my face is blue (no pun intended) and have gotten into heated conversations in cities around the country, most memorable was at a roulette table in Vegas.  
This past Thursday, I attended the Indiana Pacers NBA draft party in Indianapolis with my cousin.  He and I had a great night despite me rocking a blue and white dress in Hoosier Country.  We ran into a good friend of my cousin at a downtown bar and of course the topic of the night was the NBA draft.  The conversation quickly escalated to Indiana versus Kentucky... who was better.  I wasn’t backing down.  I like having good arguments with fans who know their facts and can support their arguments.  I thought I was having a good natured dispute, but this was a fleeting thought.  This guy was an Indiana fan and he quickly showed why Kentucky fans are better and brighter.  The conversation ended something like this:
IU fan:  Let’s be real here, all that matters in the grand scheme of things is who has more national championships.  IU has five.  What does Kentucky have?  Like two or three?
Me:  Are you being serious?  
IU fan:  Kentucky doesn’t have more championships than IU.
Me:  Do you even watch basketball?  Did you watch any basketball this past season?  We have eight.  EIGHT.  Eight is greater than five.
IU fan:  Yeah, but most of those happened before they really counted.
Me:  I’m sorry... when did they start “counting?”  Do you just pick a random year?  Ok, let’s say they started counting in 1990.  Since then, UK has three.  You have zero.  Three is greater than zero.
IU fan: (he’s got nothing... so I keep on going)
Me:  If our early championships “don’t count,” then let’s remove the UK championships in 48, 49, 51, and 58.  But that means your championships in 40 and 53 don’t count either.  That leaves UK with four and IU with three.  Four is still greater than three.  Would you like me to continue?
Needless to say, I won.  But it really wasn’t about winning for me (seriously), it was about exposing an IU fan... and I had no greater pleasure.
Hablo espanol?
A young girl from po-dunk Kentucky, who was a typical hillbilly Sudafed shopper, was signing for her meth precursor at the counter.
Me:  Click the “agree” button.
Her:  Do you want me to click the “Spanish” button? (she was being dead serious)
Me:  Do you speak Spanish?
Her:  No.
Then why the hell would you click the “Spanish” button?  “Spanish” is not a code word for “agree” at the pharmacy.  I laughed for at least ten minutes after she left the store.  Just representin’ the future of America.

Don't be jealous: part one

I just arrived home after slaving away a long weekend and am exhausted, cranky, and scatterbrained.  I am ready to sink into my bed, which is the most comfortable bed in the world... just ask, well, I guess my sister.  But before I hit the hay, I feel the need to share with you my three favorite stories from this week, because I know your life won’t be complete without reading them.
It was a calm Tuesday night, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a... wait.  I was sitting on my bed around 11pm reading my routine nightly websites  when I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye coming from the doorway.  It all happened so fast, but I turned to look and there was a mouse walking into my room like he (or she... I never got that close to tell) owned the place.  So I did what any normal 33 year old female would do... and let out a blood curling scream loud enough for my neighbors four doors down to hear.  The creature scurried out of the room as I started to hyperventilate.  I immediately call my mother... because I knew she’d come to the rescue.  The conversation went something like this:
Mom answers the phone:  What? (she apparently has caller ID)
Mom:  Well, catch it.
Mom:  It’s late, so just come sleep at my house.  You can deal with it tomorrow.
Mom:  I hear you, but it’s 11 at night.  The mouse is more scared of you than you are of him.  Pack an overnight bag and come over to my house.
Mom:  Well, I don’t know what you want me to do.  If you decide to come over, then let me know.
Humph.  So that obviously did not go as planned.  Next call was to my dad.
Dad answers the phone:  What’s wrong?  (he apparently has caller ID as well)
Me:  (hyperventilating and crying)
Dad:  What’s wrong?  What’s wrong?  Who died?  What’s wrong?  Are you in jail?
Me:  There (sob) is a (sob, sob, deep breath) mouse (deep breath) in my house.
Dad:  (laughs... real hard)
Dad:  Calm down (laughs).  The mouse is not going to go near you.  Did you see which direction it went?
Me:  NO!  And I’m not getting off this bed to find out!!
Dad:  So that means I’m coming over?
Me:  Nooo, you don’t have to... it’s late (in my most pitiful voice)
Dad:  Let me get dressed and I’ll be over.
Me:  Well, okay, if you insist (THANK YOU, GOD!)
When my dad rang the doorbell, I then realized that I was actually going to have to get off my bed to unlock the front door.  And this was a problem.  It took me several minutes to psyche myself up to make a mad dash to the door.  Once I unlocked the door,  I immediately jumped on the closest piece of furniture, which was my dining room table.  As I sat on my table supervising, my dad thoroughly scanned my entire house and he came up with nothing.  We decided to sit and wait to see if the creature would brave another appearance.  And sure enough, I saw it sprinting down the hallway and calmly said, “THERE IT GOES!!  GET IT! GET IT!  IT WENT IN THE HALL CLOSET!  GET IT!!”  To make a long story short, my dad originally wanted a baseball bat, but I could just imagine him missing the mouse and putting a huge dent in my hardwood floor, so I vetoed that idea.  Just for future reference to anyone who needs to catch a mouse, a towel and shoe do not work.  The mouse did an Olympic hurdle over my dad and ran in the direction of the guest bedroom.  Mouse: 1.  Dad: 0.  
I had the heebee-jeebies all over as I watched my dad set several mouse traps baited with peanut butter...  I only heard him scream once as one of the traps snapped on his finger.  My dad graciously stayed until 2am (but he was sure cussing me when he had to wake up four hours later).  I then stuffed three towels under my bedroom door so the creature could not squeeze its way into my room, took a combination of sleeping pills, and eventually fell asleep.  I woke up the next morning scared out of my mind to open my bedroom door and check the traps.  As I moved in super slow motion, I came up with nada.  And I also discovered one of the traps was faulty as the peanut butter was gone.  Mouse: 2.  Dad: 0.
The following morning, I again repeated the painful process of checking the traps.  SUCCESS!  I found the bastard in the trap next to my bedroom door.  I was perfectly content leaving it there dead in the hallway until someone other than me could dispose of it.  However, my mom showed up at my house and reminded me that I was leaving town for the night, and that I could not leave the mouse rotting in my hallway because Lord knows what other creatures it could attract.  It took me 20 minutes to scoop the dead mouse into a trash can, as I was convulsing and near vomiting.
My mom, being the great mom that she is, was helping me empty my trash for trash day.  As she opened my trash drawer in the kitchen, she discovered mouse droppings everywhere.  She then started opening other cabinets and drawers and found more and more droppings.  There was no way this was just one mouse... there had to be a family... an extended family.  So I went to the experts on house mice:  google.  Bad bad decision.  I quickly read that mice reproduce at a rate of nine babies per month.  That news was going to keep me awake for a month.  
Thankfully, I wasn’t going to be home that night.  My mom helped me place several more traps... sticky traps this time.  I had traps set every three feet down my hallway and there was no way any mouse could survive this war zone.  Well, it has now been three nights with no new victims.  Maybe it really was just the one mouse?  Regardless, The Orkin Man will be here tomorrow morning to do whatever he does to prevent this from ever happening again.  I feel like a prisoner in my own home as I have not left my bedroom for the last three days.  I never realized how grossed out and terrified I am of mice.  I am totally blaming my friends last weekend for leaving the patio door open.
**Well, that one story took much longer than anticipated to share.  Although the other two stories are short, I am too tired to share... so they will have to wait until tomorrow.  Buenas noches mis amigos.