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?  

No comments:

Post a Comment