Tuesday, October 2, 2012

O is for October

This weekend brought with it a gift so rare it comes but a few times a year in this part of the world. Water fell straight from the sky! A real, full-fledged, welcome downpour of rain that lasted two full days. Yep - it was divine. It also rained out Dirk's Habitat for Humanity work day on Saturday. It will be rescheduled so we didn't have to say "Tough luck, homeless, but we're glad for a family day!" He'll be so glad to work with them again and we were so glad to have him home with us.

We made the most of the weekend together and headed out to the theatre to take in some amazing free cinematography Spy Kids movie. We actually had the biggest blast as it was playing for free at a local Drafthouse Theater where they serve food and drinks (even the grown-up kind) during the movie delivered by a waiter. The girls were amazed such a thing was possible. The movie might have been more enjoyable had I chosen to order an adult beverage after all - but we had great fun never the less.

Emie was invited to two separate birthday parties which both fell on the same day (Sunday). I still don't get the etiquette for kid parties. Do you stay or do you drop them? It's a bit of a question mark for me when the hostess isn't a friend of mine yet. My own little rule of thumb is that if it s a party hosted at a home then it's probably best to ask the mom if she thinks she can get through the afternoon sober without the help of another adult. Or something to this tactful effect. In my experience (limited though it is) the mom is always so glad you asked but happily shoos you home explaining that all manner of family have come in for the big event and she's well covered. This theory goes out the window if the kids are under five, of course, because who wants to be left alone (anywhere) with a pack of preschoolers? Anyway, if the party is held at one of those kiddie-Vegas type of deals with tokens and bouncers you are well free to hit the high road at drop off leaving your seven year old perfectly independent youngster in their care. A teen aged "hostess" has likely been assigned to the party and will be earning every thin dime of her minimum wage by keeping all of the sugared up hooligans out of trouble for two solid hours.

After arriving at the first party I even took my manner formula up one notch and asked the mom hosting (at a kiddie-Vegas type of establishment) if she needed me to stay. Before I'd even finished my question she was waving me off telling me to enjoy myself and come back in two hours. Best present of the day. Party Number One: successful and courteous drop. Yay! A few hours after pick-up it was time for Party Number Two. Also held at a kiddie-Vegas type of noise fest I knew there would have to be a lot of "felt need" for me to be compelled to hang out there for the evening. But after surveying the scene I felt confident that I wouldn't be needed. After meeting two of the aforementioned teen aged "Party hosts" I simply asked what time I should pick up my little lamb. The mom didn't have the answer ready on her tongue and I did (for a brief second) consider that perhaps I was the only one who'd thought to ask this question - and was perhaps therefore the only one considering bolting for the exit. But she kindly told me it was a two-hour party and she supposed that's when I should return. Thanks so much and I was on my way.

Dirk and I took the opportunity to take Ainsley out to dinner alone with us since this particular Vegas venue was a long way from home. We came across the funnest little Italian dive that had the most amazing lasagna I've had since the sweet old college waitressing days of Manzella's Italian Patio. Delicious. And Ainsley was as happy as a pea eating her fresh, hot buttered bread and basking in the attention of both of her parents. Delight. We had a bit of time left to spare before pick-up time so we wandered through a Dollar Store that was just next to Vegas. Perhaps due to the proximity of the kiddie-casino we hit the junk jackpot. This was the motherlode of all dollar stores. With all of the really cute stuff like mason jars, wooden clothespins, fun ribbons, and more. All of the sweet stuff that Pinterest pinners say they got for a dollar and while I think - not at my Dollar Store. Well up to this moment, I just had yet to swing near kiddie-Vegas for this little treasure trove. So we left with arm loads of Pinterest DIY goodies and a princess crown for the Ainsley love. What's not to love about fun things for only a buck? Happy were we.

Joy filled I walked hand in hand with Ainsley-bird into Vegas feeling refreshed and glad for the time alone with her and her sweet daddy. And then I saw it. The room full of parents. Parents with pizza crusts in front of them and frosting on their fingers. Lots and lots of parents. And the school teacher, school counselor, PTA president, and Assistant Principal.

Yep -they'd all been there the entire time whooping it up in kiddie Vegas while I bailed. By God's sweet grace I don't blush as easily as I used to otherwise I'm sure I'd have been red as crimson walking into that room like the kid who'd skipped school only to find out she'd missed "Surprise Party Day". I tried to quickly sit down unnoticed (if that was even possible) next to the mother of one of Emie's friends. "Did all of the parents stay?" I asked in horror. "Yes, they do." She said in her adorable little accent. "They did? What's the rule here? I thought if it was at a public place you could leave them," I scrambled. She retorted, "No, I think rule is that you leave if it's at a personal home but you stay if at a public place." Huh? She was completely reversing my logic. Where was I? Where am I? As I looked around the room a few things flooded my mind. First - who are these people? Who gladly plops down in kiddie-Vegas (when they don't have to) and gobbles up cardboard pizza and kiddie cakes? And who invites the school staff to their kids' party? Nice people. People who enjoy lots of children in small spaces. Nothing wrong with that.

I'm just so glad that Emie was so busy enjoying Vegas that she didn't think anything of the fact that her mother bailed on the gig. I must have asked her three times in the car if she noticed if any other mommys weren't there before Dirk chastised me for grilling the poor child for information. Information to soothe my guilty conscience. But why, really? Is party host mom really wondering just where I went during the bash? I hardly think so and if she ever does I'll be so glad to tell her all about the jackpot Dollar Store which I'm sure will forgive any of my social gaffes.

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