Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Independence Day - Party Rant

Long Time No Post!

Nigel and the kids and I returned from our trip to southern Germany a week prior to Independence Day and had to immediately start preparation for our U.S. Independence Day/Death of Jesse Helms fiesta here in Israel. We were having a party for several families from Nigel's place of employment and several families from the kids' school.

Although I do have a hard spot in my heart for WalMart and other big-box stores in the U.S., I was sorely wishing that there was one, just one, maybe a Target, here. It is NOT fun driving all the fuck over Israel just to get all the things we needed for the party. One place has the non-kosher hamburger meat (meat with flavor). One place has hamburger buns. One place has hot dogs that the kids will actually eat. One place has imports such as pickle relish, italian dressing, etc. One place has balloons. One place has streamers. One place has sparklers for the kids. Etc., etc., etc.

At any rate, we sent out about 20 invitations by e-mail, cleaned the house top to bottom, made lists and more lists of things to do, and worked our way through all the pre-party requirements.

As invitation responses started coming in, we started getting a bit freaked out. Not a single invitation was accepted without this: "We would love to come to your party. Can we bring so-and-so and so-and-so and their 20 children and dogs?" We started to suspect that someone at Nigel's work had been leaking the party out to everyone at work and there was the impression going around that our private party was actually a work-sponsored event! Fear ensued! Our house is only so big and we have only so many chairs!

The most ridiculous and disconcerting was this tale: Our best friends over here, of course, were coming, and her parents are in town, so naturally they were also invited - they're fun and very nice. When they arrived, no parents. I asked why and he told me that his SUPERVISOR at work, who neither Nigel nor I know and who was certainly NOT invited and who technically should not even have known about the party, instructed him to bring two of his co-workers and their families to OUR party. Since they knew we were freaking out about all the extra people who were coming, they decided to ask her parents to stay home. I was pretty pissed.

1) Where does this supervisor get off telling a subordinate who he will or will not take to SOMEONE ELSE'S party?
2) Why did our friend not inform said supervisor that a) this is not my party and I am uncomfortable taking people the hosts do not know and whom they did not invite, and b) who the fuck do you think you are telling me who to take to a private party?

I spent a lot of time blocking off access to our back patio area for several reasons. Reason One - the former residents of the basement apartment have still not come to get some of their crap and it is piled up in a corner of the patio waiting for them. Reason Two - same former residents used the "water feature" in the center of the patio as a dirty diaper storage area/trash receptacle. When they moved out, they did drain the water from it, but did not clean it out, leaving a two inch crust of shit along with shit-encrusted toys and trash in it. I am not willing to touch any of this stuff and have complained to the property management company to send someone out to clean and disinfect this, but have seen no results. The stink from this is so embarrassing that I did not want people hanging out on the patio. Reason Three - same former residents used the area behind the patio wall as a garbage dump and it is full of trash and broken toys, which are scattered all over. I have asked the management company to send someone with a pickup truck to pick up all this debris, since I am unwilling to load it into my car, but, again, have seen no results.

So, while I was making sure all the food was out on tables and readily available and Nigel was cooking hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken on the grill on the balcony (which was sparkly and clean, but empty of party people for some unknown reason), several party attendees decided to take down all my ribbons blocking access (it couldn't have been easy) and start setting up chairs and stuff and sitting outside all around the shit-fountain. Lovely. At one point, someone asked what the smell was. Ha! So I got to explain about the former residents and that I had blocked access to the patio for a FUCKING REASON, PEOPLE!

In addition to that, the patio area is all tile and is very slick when wet. I had bought bubbles for all the kids and had planned to have them blow them outside on the balcony where the tiles are more textured and less slick so that nobody would fall and crack their heads open at the party and had planned no water activities. However, one of the childless party attendees brought a huge bag full of water guns and water balloons, unbeknownst to myself or to Nigel. I went out to the patio and found myself deluged by a dozen water pistols while I watched kids standing in line at our water spigot waiting to fill water balloons. This activity descended into madness as the balloons ran out and kids decided to use my mop bucket and the kids' beach buckets to just fill up and dump on each other and on several of the adults.

There were thankfully no fatalities and no bloodshed, but my mop bucket and two of the kids' beach buckets were destroyed and The Lottery Winner ended up with a medium sized goose egg on the back of his head from slipping. Someone asked my why I let the kids play with water when the patio was obviously not suited for water activities. I rolled my eyes and explained LOUDLY that I did not know WHO brought the water guns and balloons, that I had brought some bubbles for the kids to blow on the BALCONY where it was safer, and that I had blocked access to the patio BECAUSE IT SMELLED BAD AND WASN'T SAFE FOR THE KIDS. The woman who brought all the water stuff did have the good manners to look abashed.

The punch line of the party was that we had been planning this since mid-May. Nigel's tools at work had been moving slowly toward a particular event, but that event kept getting delayed and delayed. You can guess the rest. Said event started becoming imminent the day we returned from Germany. As the week drew to a close and the 4th loomed, the event was confirmed. It would be necessary for Nigel to be at work at 2pm on Friday the 4th and to stay until about 2am on Saturday the 5th. The party time? Yes, 2pm to 6pm. Fortunately, Nigel was able to convince one of his co-workers, who wanted to take Sunday off, to load Nigel's tool at 2pm and Nigel would come at 4pm to take over in exchange for said Sunday off for the co-worker.

Poor Nigel busted his ass cooking all the meat and shoving some food into his face before he had to leave (Nigel's boss and his family were at the party and stayed the entire time - irony?) at 4pm. Everyone was pretty much gone by 7pm, except for two guests who very, very kindly stayed to help me clean up. At 7:15, the phone rang and Nigel informed me that there was a contamination issue and that his process was to be stopped and that he would be on his way home in just a few minutes! So, he missed half of his own party for NO REASON AT ALL!

At any rate, we turned out having over 50 people in our house. The food was great - most guests brought something and each new something was more delicious than the last. I think everyone had a good time. I will not be doing anything like this again for a very long time.

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