The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Friday, August 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Boy!

Last Sunday was The Boy's first birthday! Hard to believe just a year ago he was nothing more than a larva squirming on our laps, and now he's graduated to a full-fledged pupa. If one year flies by this quick, the next 17 are going to be a blur. That's when he emerges out of the pupa stage and flies off to university (we hope) - dammit I miss him already.

Chug. Chug. Chug. Chug. Getting The Boy ready for University. Only 17 years away.
Our expectation was to have a low-key affair to mark the occasion. A casual picnic in the park the day before with friends and family; no stress, no clean-up, no worries. For the most part the picnic was low-key, the day leading up to the picnic on the other hand... I'm surprised I'm still around to talk about it. A scant 18 hours before the picnic we realize that we've prepared nothing. No cake, no BBQ, no drinks, no appetizers, no snacks. If we want to provide our guests with anything more than a teaspoon and jar of Miracle Whip, we have a long night ahead of us.

8:00 pm - Vegetable shopping at the Farmer's Market.

9:00 pm - Back home. Unload the car. Write up a shopping list. Eat a granola bar and head to the Supermarket. I've got less than one hour before they close. P puts The Boy to bed.

10:00 pm - I'm actually quite proud of myself. I've managed to buy just about everything on the list. Staff stare at me menacingly - it's closing time and I'm still wandering the aisles.

10:10 pm - Where's the apple sauce? It's late, I have to bake a birthday cake, and you don't have apple sauce?!? Are you fucking with me? Did you hide it to get me to leave? What sort of store doesn't stock apple sauce?

10:20 pm - Out of spite I loiter around the Hot Dog buns. The staff begin switching off the lights. Another PA announcement along the lines of "Please come back tomorrow." Yeah, right.

10:35 pm - Car loaded. Shopping cart returned, I head home. I've bought a bag of apples and concede that I'm going to have to make my own apple sauce. I hate shopping at this store so very much.

11:00 pm - Cupcakes are in the oven. I start peeling and cooking the corn. P is frantically cleaning the house; the picnic may be in the park but my parents are coming to our house first.

Midnight - Birthday cake in the oven. P is icing the cupcakes while I whip up the frosting for the cake. Corn is cooling in the sink.

1:00 am - Is there a faster way to bake a cake? It's almost cool enough to put in the fridge. I've got melons to prep.

2:30 am - Done for the night. I crash into bed. I have three and a half hours before The Boy gets up.

6:30 am - P is nursing The Boy, I get up. Lots to do. Feels like someone belted me in the head with a mallet.

8:00 am - I'm at Canadian Tire buying a portable BBQ. The place is packed with early birds out for the "Door Crasher" specials. You got up early on a Saturday to buy that piece of crap? Y'know, just because it's on sale doesn't make it a bargain.

8:20 am - Standing in line fuming as people haggle over the "Limit one per customer" rule. The Boy is charming everyone around him. He's the only reason I haven't stormed out of the store already.

10:30 am - P hops in the car to go buy party favours. My parents have arrived, and not a moment too soon. They take care of The Boy while I start gathering things together and assemble the BBQ.

10:35 am - I bought the cheapest BBQ on the shelf. Parts are missing and a handle has fallen off. Too late to return it now, so I jury-rig it together. As long as it doesn't catch on fire I think we're good to go.

1:30 pm - We arrive at the park. Some people are already there. Late for our own event we rush around setting things up. The BBQ manages to hold together.

5:30 pm - The picnic was a success. After we got settled went along pretty smoothly. Lots of food, drink and merriment abound. Kids had fun, adults had fun and most importantly The Boy had fun. I'm exhausted but in reasonably good spirits.

The next three days P and I have left-over hotdogs and corn for dinner. Ugh, I still can't get the taste out of my mouth.