Monkey Man had a birthday party to attend today. I guess I should give a little background here - the birthday boy, Austin, is the son of Monkey Man's former teacher Marie. She usually brings Austin with her when she babysits for us, and even though he just turned 4 he and MM get along extraordinarily well.
Now, we had invited Austin to Monkey Man's birthday party last Sunday, but for some odd reason they "never received the invitation." Interesting since I put it in his mailbox at the daycare, his mother Marie is the assistant director there...not to mention that she has flaked out on us a few times at the last minute for babysitting. But they're good folks, and sometimes I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt because I'm too much of a pussy to admit when someone is being a jackass to me.
The party was scheduled to start at noon. Now, you figure, if the party starts at noon then there is bound to be some kind of food for the kids, right? Right? Okay, more on this later.
So anyhow, Austin's dad happens to be the head park ranger at the state park located a hop, skip, and jump from our house. They decided to have the birthday party at the park's little nature center which was pretty cool. One of the park rangers did a little presentation for the kids with all the snakes, toads, frogs, turtles, and other icky stuff you can imagine. The kids were totally into it.
Now, it's balls cold here today. So we're all snug and cozy in the nature center and then the park rangers tells the kids that they're going to take a "little hike." Um, okay. If I had any idea, I wouldn't have worn my kick-ass very attractive boots with soles as thin as paper for this little endeavor. Not to mention that I was dressed less than sensibly for a hike because hey, I like to look cute, not warm. But I figured since the average age of party animals was 4.5 years old, the "hike" would probably be across the parking lot.
Good god, was I wrong. We hiked like 2 miles down to this lake to look at a "beaver mound" (don't even ask, it involves glands and stuff that I don't want to talk about) which of course was all downhill, then had to turn around and hike all uphill again back to the nature center. Keep in mind too that some of the parents were less than physically fit or also had younger siblings in strollers or slings that they were having to push or tote on this little hike as well. Add to this these twin boys with one or the other constantly falling down and it was like herding cats all over the place.
We finally got back to the nature center and I assumed that it was time to feed the kids. By this point, it was 1:15 and the kids were starting to get grumpy and tired. But nooooo, it was craft time. The ranger had the kids make these snakes out of white paper, then they took little squares of colored tissue paper and spread those out on the snakes. Then he sprayed it with water, and after a few minutes they removed the tissue paper and the color had transferred onto the "snakes". It was actually pretty cute and a fast craft.
Anarchy was about to set in when finally the cake arrived. No lunch. No chips, no pretzels, nada, nothing, zilch. So imagine, if you will, the joy that ensued with each crabby child receiving a 3-inch square of sugary cake and then a fruit drink. I swear that it was like watching a bunch of cats high on catnip, they were literally bouncing off each other.
Thankfully they had another party booked for 2 PM so we high-tailed it out of there and hauled ass over to Wendy's where Monkey Man wolfed down approximately 972 chicken nuggets and two containers of milk before he was full. I ate about 23 cheeseburgers and still felt empty all the way down to my toes. Then we went home and crashed for a while.
I have decided that maybe there's a market out there for a book about entertaining for kids. I mean, what the hell is it with people that schedule kids' parties right at a mealtime and then they don't give the kids anything to eat but cake? Do they really think the parents are going to feed the kids lunch at 11 AM before rushing out the door to the party? This is one of my big pet peeves (other than RSVP's, obviously), and this is the third party this fall we've gone to where it was at mealtime, there was no food and the stinkin' party lasted for over 2 hours.
People, get your act together, please. If you're not going to purchase food for the party, at least have it someplace where parents can purchase something for their starving kids. And really, you don't have to feed ME (although as Joey will tell you, I get extremely crabby when not fed on my regular feeding schedule just like an animal at the zoo), but please, I'm begging you - either feed my kid, or put on the invitation that it's "cake only" or something like that. I won't be offended, I promise. What does offend me is having a crabby kid crying in the backseat for 5 miles because he wants a fucking chicken nugget. Okay?
Whew. I have a lot of anger about that. Sorry.
Okay, on a better note, I did get to meet one of the parents today who is a professional athlete. Very cool guy, and his daughter is just adorable. Not to mention they were just so nice and polite and NORMAL.
But even he was bitching under his breath about the lack of food. So maybe I'm not the only one who needs to be fed regularly.
Anyhow, off to refine the Christmas list. Knocked off about 8 people between yesterday and today and came up with some more ideas for the others. And ran into EPOD at Best Buy, which was really odd. My starched-shirt, pleated pants boss in jeans, sneakers, a baseball hat, and a ratty looking jacket. He almost looked normal, but don't tell him I said so.