Sunday, June 24, 2007

Party Month

For the next thirty days or so, it's going to be non-stop partying at our house.

Why, you ask? Especially since we aren't exactly known for tearing it up around here.

Well, due to a convergence of many things, we have a great deal of Events occurring between now and the end of July. Many of them are typical, but THIS July is especially celebratory . . . as I will describe forthwith.

Event #1: Grace's 4th birthday. The actual date is this Tuesday, but we won't be having a party for her and some of her friends until next weekend. What, exactly, will go on at this party is still up for some debate. Unfortunately, we live in a complicated world where the value of one's child and the amount of love you hold for that child is reflected in the complexity and inventiveness of the annual birthday party. By the lamentable standard, we love Grace very little . . . or so society would have you believe.

As regular readers to this site are aware, we've been rather busy at work for quite a while. By nature I am also more of a procrastinator than I should be. Therefore, Grace's party planning has been sporadic and unfocused. Lynda has been worried about this and is trying to come up with a good party for her. I have been cautioning her not to become too elaborate for a gaggle of 4-year-olds that often don't follow directions well. Unfortunately, my negativity can be construed as lack of interest or general laziness.

I am more of the opinion that getting Grace and a select few of her friends together, providing one game or activity, plying them with cake, and then sending them on their merry way is a successful party. I don't really think that Lynda disagrees with this, but the sticking point is what should the game or activity be? Since Grace wanted Dora the Explorer to be the party's theme, we are starting from there when trying to come up with an idea.

So, the anxiety sets in. Pump up the pool and just let them splash around? But we didn't TELL everyone to bring bathing suits when we gave out invitations on Friday. Hmmm.

Oh well, something will happen and a party will occur. We can't ruminate about it too much because of . . .

Event #2: Lynda's birthday. A week after Grace's successful party, Lynda celebrates her special day. How? Don't know yet. What am I getting her? Not sure yet? Do we have a babysitter? Nope. Will we have a babysitter? Maybe.

Success or failure doesn't matter because I won't be praised or blamed too much, because hot upon the heels of Lynda's birth is . . .

Event #3: Our anniversary (the 12th for those keeping count). Much like Lynda's birthday, I don't have a good handle on what will or will not occur on this special day. The fact that this come right after the birthday confused me and the whole planning process. Do I do two separate, distinct, and equally important events? Do I attempt to combine them into one whizbang blow out? What, oh what, do I do?

This is an important thing to consider, because I love my wife, but also because if I do a particularly bad job of it, I can't immediately turn to the next event to distract hurt feelings as we have been able to do for the previous few weeks. Nope, there is a two week lag in Party Month before

Event #4: Sarah's 7th birthday. Normally, this is the end of Party Month, but not this year. (But I'll get to that later.) We don't yet have a theme for Sarah's birthday, but I can guarantee that it won't be a Pokemon Party like the one we just witnessed yesterday with one of Sarah's church friends.

You might have thought that Pokemon--those Japanese Pocket Monsters that took America by storm a decade ago were dead and gone, but you would be wrong. Pokemon are back, at least in this youngest generation that weren't yet around when Pokemon first hit our shores. At Sarah's friends school, they broke out in Pokemon fever a while back and it literally swept the school. We were specifically asked to bring Pokemon trading cards as birthday gifts and it was easy to see why when the guests began to arrive. Each boy brought along his notebook containing his Pokemon cards and when they weren't playing on the Slip-N-Slide or eating birthday cake, they were swapping cards, making trades, and generally talking Pokemon. Even some of the girls at the party had their own Pokemon, though none of them brought their cards to swap and share.

So important are the cards that mini fights broke about between some of the boys about trades. Apparently, one boy felt that he was being shafted in a trade discussion and tempers flared--as they often do among seven-year-olds. Eventually peace was restored, but it was a close thing for a while.

So, Pokemon party is out . . . but what is in? Not sure yet. We've got to get through the first three events before we can decide.


Normally, this is the end of Party Month, but not this year. This year, we've got other things going in mid month that make it even more complicated. For you see, this summer involves three other Happenings that will keep up hopping and planning for quite a while.

Special Event #1: Release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie (July 11). Other than Spider Man 3, which I liked but didn't like as much as I wanted to, this is my most anticipated movie of the summer. By all accounts--and I've heard quite a few--this movie is very good. Easily the most politically dense book of the HP saga, OotP looks great in previews. I'm very excited.

But, that's not all. In the third weekend in July comes our vacation.

Special Event #2: We leave behind the drudgery of work and deadlines and parties and everything and head to Owensboro, Kentucky to experience my mother's Family Reunions. This is a big deal mostly because it's never happened before. Mom and her sister worked hard to put this together so we could meet her aunts, uncles, and cousins, people that most of us haven't met. I look forward to seeing these people and experiencing the town that my mom grew up in. It should be a lot of fun.

But, in the exact middle of this event, comes

Special Event #3: the release of the final Harry Potter book--Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I wasn't alive when Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books were published in the U.S. in the 1960s, but I've heard stories about how people waited to find out the fate of Frodo and Sam on the cliffs of the Emyn Muil and they prepared to head into Mordor. Similarly, I've been waiting two years to find out what happens to Harry and the gang in this last installment of the HP story.

Who lives? Who dies? What happens? It's all up for grabs and I'll be in the middle of the family reunions when the book officially releases on July 21, 1 day before Sarah's birthday. I can't be reading the book during the reunion, because that would be extremely rude. But I will go out and buy it Saturday morning and I'll probably be reading it at night and on the drive back from Kentucky that weekend.

I mean, I've GOT to read it quickly. If I don't, I'll have to shut myself off from all media until I'm done, because the outcome will certainly be reported very fast. I might even take a day off of work Monday to finish it.

After this month of events, I might need that day for sleep, after all.

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