Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

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Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Weekend Party

Work continues to suck but I’ve gotten more sanguine about the fact that it just will suck from now till about mid-May.

Besides, I had a complete change of pace Friday-to-Sunday being in servitude to the Family Unit: without realizing it we’d worked a social event for each kid into the weekend. Eldest had a dance on Friday night which was no big deal other than having to schlep out on the bitter cold. Middle Duckling had a two-hour party at a venue half an hour from our house on Saturday, which was annoying but the birthday party attended by Youngest Duckling on Sunday afternoon was too much to let slide without its own blog entry.

Backstory: Youngest Duckling goes to the afterschool program at Local Big DayCare Center (hereafter Horde Central) which is also the local Montessori School. It’s always a complete zoo there but Horde Central is both the only private school within a half-hour drive and the only custodial before-and-after-school daycare. Youngest Duckling really enjoys the extra socialization and stimulus and the Big Two enjoy having quiet afterschool homework time. Good thing all around for the most part.

Last Thursday, Youngest came home with a note on Horde Central scrap paper. It said "Birthday Girl would like to invite Youngest Duckling to her birthday party on Sunday at Local YWCA from 1:30 to 4pm. If she'd like to come, please call us--we'd love to have her." It was signed "K-name Lastname" and a phone number was included.

Well fine...I knew the primary afternoon supervisor was a "K-name" and that her last name was something similar to the given "LastName" so I assumed that's who was doing the inviting. I further thought that the note was because HBF had been picking up Youngest all week but "social" things are usually done through mothers. I thought that an invitation on Thursday for a party THAT Sunday wasn’t much notice, but also realized that the people at Horde Central have an even higher tolerance for chaos than I’ve developed. So I called right away and got an answering machine on which I left a perky "Youngest would love to come" message. Which of course counts as an adequate RSVP. Explained to Youngest Duckling that she would pick out Birthday Girl's present on Saturday morning when I took Middle Duckling to buy a present for his friend's birthday party. I expected a bowling-alley party since that was the kind the last two "YWCA" parties for grade-schoolers turned out to be-- Eldest Duckling had been to a couple a few years ago.

Sunday rolled around so I took Youngest, present (Barbie with some accessories) in hand, to the Y at just before one-thirty and discovered that the Birthday Family wasn't even there yet. SWELL. The responsibility of the partygoer's parent is to drop off and pick up their Little Darling on time but it is the responsibility of the party THROWER's parents to make sure the damned EVENT starts and ends on time. So we stood around till the Birthday Girl and her family showed up, whereupon I discovered that "K-name" was NOT the woman who worked at Horde Central but rather some random parent I didn't recall ever having met before. I said "Hi, I'm Sam D, Youngest Duckling's mom" and stuck out my hand which seemed to sort of surprise this woman, who took it and rather vaguely said "HI, I'm K-name...we're so GLAD you could make it after all!" I could tell that she hadn't expected us to be there, which I thought odd since I had left that damned message the night I got the note. So I said "But I left you a message" in tones that were a little sharper than I would've liked but still well within the bounds of politeness.

That was when K-name replied "Oh yeah, sometimes when I'm on the other line it bounces to a different answering service, one where I have to pick up my messages...and I haven't picked them up for a while." Ever the Little Explainer, I of course realized and said out loud "Yes, it did sound like some sort of service..." whereupon she said "but we're so glad she could make it after all!" and I thought all would be fine. Turned out the party was not in the bowling alley after all but in the little-kid party room which is a big room with a plastic slide and some big blocks and other sorts of preschool-toddler toys. Well fine, whatever...I said my goodbyes to Youngest, discretely reminded her to remember her big-girl manners and beat a hasty retreat since I just don't care for the local YWCA one bit.

Did my weekly grocery shopping and had just-barely enough time to supervise the rest of the family dragging in and stowing the food before having to go fetch Youngest. Got to the gym and since the "party room" had big windows onto the parking lot I could tell as I approached that the party was Not Done. Okay, fine, that always pisses me off but it often happens, especially with first-time parents, that the party runs late and the cake and ice cream are still being consumed as the grownupss come for pickup.

Not this time. I showed up to (re)discover why I can't stand Horde Central Parents: table full of adult-friendly snack foods set up at one side of the (huge) room, table for opened presents at the far side. Little clots of parents chatting amongst themselves completely oblivious to what their children were doing. Birthday Girl in the center of the room on a chair holding Present-Opening Court which was the most gawdawful display I'd seen in a while: about a third of the children were all sitting at her feet, presents in hand, expectantly waiting for her to select one to be opened. After opening the gift, Birthday Girl would exclaim over it then immediately get up, walk to her mother at the periphery of the room somewhere and show HER the present. Birthday Girl got told repeatedly "oh how nice...now go say 'thank you' and put it on the present table." Then she would walk back to the center of the room, thank the kid and go to the OTHER side of the room to put the present with the others.

Just as I'd figured out how slowly the action was moving (but that my kid looked to be the second-to-next in line for getting her gift opened) K-name, the mother of the Birthday Girl, walked over to me. She said "Hi...she did just fine, she was a pleasure and so polite. Now since we didn't actually talk to each other she didn't know there was going to be swimming but that worked out okay because there was one other little girl without a swimsuit either so they played with each other while everyone else went in the pool."

What.

Did.

That.

Bitch.

Just.

Tell.

Me?

NO that was not fucking okay, not even a little bit! First of all, any moron knows if it's gonna be a swimming party you fucking say so on the fucking invitation!! Oh wait, we didn't get one of those, we got a pencil-scribbled note on Thursday afternoon before the Sunday party. Second of all, if it is a swimming party don't you think it might've been a good idea to mention that when I dropped off my kid?!? What if she didn't swim?!? Thirdly and most importantly....Youngest Duckling loves to swim. Loves it. My poor little girl must've been heartbroken not to get to be part of that...and was clearly good and mature about it or I wouldn't have heard "a pleasure and so polite" but instead the euphemistic parental phrase "got a little upset."

Well I didn't get a chance to say anything in reply because that was when The Birthday Girl came wandering up with yet another present and did her little routine...and after that Mom drifted off to the other side of the room. Youngest Duckling caught my eye and made to get up to run to me as she always does at Horde Central but then stopped herself and stage-whispered "Mom--can I just stay till she opens my present, please?"

Gawd yes....after hearing what the kid had been through with good grace, I was kind of surprised she wanted to stay but of course I was gonna let her. She had risen above her usual (impressive) tantrum-y ways and been a Big Girl in the face of Serious Parental Fuckheadedness so she could've pretty much written her own ticket at that point.

Of course I was sorry.

My kid was not one of the "do MINE next!" kids so she kept getting bumped further and further back in the present-opening line...and kept being Perfectly Polite about it. I, on the other hand, was sighing loudly and looking at my cellphone every time I thought Mom could see or hear me. I was also just amazed that the parents were completely oblivious to what their kids were doing--sure it's a "party" and sure they're Montessori touchy-feely to begin with, but if my kid had run right into a strange grownup I didn't know I would've said something, y'know? Not them...I got clobbered in the shins by a boy two inches taller than Duckling and nobody even claimed knowledge. Youngest, however, stage-whispered me again that "it looks like mine is going to be the very last present" which just about ripped my heart in two.

Finally the Birthday Girl opened my kid's gift...whereupon I swooped in immediately with coat and shoes at the ready to haul my kid away from the craziness. Told her "now go tell your friend 'goodbye and thanks for having me'" which she did like a champ. Then I said "now we need to find your friend's mother so we can say goodbye and thanks to her too" which was much harder since the mom was making a Big Federal Case out of getting the goodie-bags ready to distribute. Still, my Duckling marched right up to her, said "goodbye! Thanks for having me!" said "thank-you" again for the goodie bag and came right back to me. Did me so proud, she did!

Hustled her out to the car...and immediately wanted to rip "K-name's" heart right out of her body when I got the Sad Voice saying "Mom....why did you forget to pack my swimsuit?" Had to patiently explain without rancor (that was the hard part) that we hadn't known it was going to be a swimming party. Then I spent the entire rest of the trip praising and loving up on my kid to no end for being such a Big Girl and so forth. Youngest Duckling seemed to be okay with the whole thing but *I* sure wasn't. Letting her have the big box of Crayola Twistables that normally lives in our bedroom (too many have been ground into the carpeting and floors for them to remain unlimited-access) didn't make me feel much better though it certainly perked her right up.

The extra bonus gut-wrenching came when I woke up Youngest yesterday morning and saw that she'd found her swimsuit in her dresser drawer and hung it over her doorknob...I commented on it and she said "yeah...just in case."

6 Comments:

Anonymous Diane In Chico, CA said...

Awwww....

January 30, 2007 3:41 PM  
Blogger Dharma said...

I am having trouble keeping my blood pressure down *just* reading about K-name's mother! Wow. Youngest duckling sounds like she is really growing up well, being raised right unlike certain other children we won't mention.

January 30, 2007 4:05 PM  
Blogger JoVE said...

My blood pressure is up there with dharma's. And you deserve big praise for raising your kids so well. That kid has certainly got the "big girl" manners down pat.

Now, if we could only get Mrs. K-name to learn a few...

January 30, 2007 4:28 PM  
Blogger SamD said...

You'll all be pleased to know that Youngest Duckling and Birthday Girl are still daycare friends and that I haven't killed either of Birthday Girl's parents yet.

February 02, 2007 9:47 AM  
Blogger Jennie said...

That totally bites. You are to be praised for not killing Birthday Girl's Mother.

And what a cute smile you have!

February 07, 2007 7:21 PM  
Blogger SamD said...

Yeah, it was definitely a pisser of a party. Youngest and Birthday Girl still play together at Horde Central though, so all is well on their front.

Thanks for the compliment! How very kind of you!

February 08, 2007 10:21 AM  

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