Party Peeves

We went to a couple family parties this weekend. One was a Labor Day bar-b-que – which was relatively mild; the other was a family dinner in honor of the seventh birthday of my cousin’s kid. These parties (the latter for the most part) inspired me to compile yet another list of pet peeves. Today while we were eating lunch at Panda Express, I got a little teary over the music they were playing and realized it must be getting close to Rag Time, so excuse me if my reasoning sounds particularly bitchy.

Party Peeve 1:

You Scratch My Back, I’m Not Scratching Yours

How many birthday parties have we gone to where the other person never comes to ours? These people with this seven year old kid (relatives of my Trailer Trash Mom) are the worst offenders. They are the only real family we have in California – which makes it particularly difficult – because every kid party we have they never show up for, making ours sort of un-kid kid parties.

Year after year, though, I send down a gift when it’s time for one of their two kids to celebrate another birthday. When they have a family party for it, we make the two hour drive there and two hour drive back and bring wine and a side dish. We smile. We listen to people talk about their hillbilly family dramas. We show interest when my aunt talks about all the oppressions put upon her working for the Girl Scouts. We laugh when her husband tells jokes about watching pornography on the Internet.

But when it comes time for a kid party here, they can’t make the same trek.

Party Peeve 2:

Cow-Towing To the Old People

I’m sure when I’m elderly, I’ll want everyone to cow-tow to me like they do at my family parties. Kiss my ass and act like everything I say is plated in gold and shit. I’m not being a dick, either, by saying it’s a problem to let the elderly have the comfortable chairs or use the bathrooms first or whatever would make me sound like a real asshole. Because that’s not what I mean.

By cow-towing I mean that everyone in the family acts as they always do – as though what the old people say goes. An example: my grandma and grandpa went to college in Nebraska, so of course are Cornhusker fans. But if you aren’t a Cornhusker fan too, you have to sit there for forty-five minutes while grandpa fucking yells at you for being such a dumb ass. It’s really mean, actually, if you think about it because he will shout at you and tell you to get out of his presence if you support a team other than the Cornhuskers.

Just about everyone in the family swore their allegiance to the Cornhuskers a long time ago just to get grandpa to shut the hell up.

Party Peeve 3:

Feeding Kids Different Food

Oh dear God, this really roasts my ass. If you think it’s totally acceptable to let your kid drag you around by your she-balls, and therefore prepare meal after meal after meal until you settle on Spaghetti-O’s because your precious cargo has been conditioned (by you) to be a terribly picky and unhealthy eater – well then you should stop reading now. Because I don’t tolerate that shit, and so it really pisses me off when other people do it at a kid’s party we attend.

I can see that not all kids at the party are healthy eaters and the host just doesn’t want them to go hungry. I’ll accept that a lot of people were born and raised in a barn and, therefore, don’t care much about instilling basic values in their kids’ upbringing.

At our house, you have to try everything that is put on your plate. If we go out to eat or to someone else’s home for dinner, we all eat what is served. We do not request that people make us something special because we’d rather have neon-orange fat-O’s in a can.

At the family dinner Sunday night, they served BBQ chicken, bread rolls, fresh fruit – all in all, a pretty healthy meal. You can imagine, then, that I was fucking livid when I saw my mom carrying plates of per-request food for all the kids, none of which had BBQ chicken or fruit. All of which were covered in Spaghetti-O and macaroni and cheese slop.

Party Peeve 4:

Inadequate Planning

When I plan a party, I typically plan everything down to the “T.” It isn’t what you faithful blog followers are probably thinking: that I’m terribly anal retentive and OCD. (Well I am, but that isn’t what this is about.) The thing is that when people take the time and effort to come to a party you’ve thrown, the least you can do is have things organized at least enough so that things don’t get out of control and chaotic.

I mean, every party in which kids are involved is going to have a little chaos. But at least have it be organized chaos.

This party on Sunday was so poorly planned (go figure, it was done by my mother and her sister with the porno-watching-husband). It was supposed to be a kid’s party (sort of), but they really didn’t plan anything for the kids to do besides terrorize everyone else with chaos, out of control screaming, and whining that they were bored.

Of course my Trailer Trash Mom was too busy rambling on about her recent Hillbilly Husband sagas to actually entertain the kids. My aunt was busy cooking the food. My grandpa was yelling at me for being a Notre Dame fan, instead of the Cornhuskers. My aunt’s husband was in the other room looking at his Internet porn. Pretty much everyone else was just sitting back, watching carnage unfold until finally, towards the end of the party, Poor Nick and I took charge and played Duck-Duck-Goose with the kids to try and get things under control.

Party Peeve 5:

Dresscode

This is always a sensitive subject for some people. I get it: people didn’t come to the party to see my fancy house or my fancy clothes. So the place isn’t perfectly cleaned, and I’m wearing sweatpants – but we’re family so it should be OK, right? Or as a guest, you should just be grateful that I came and spent the money on a birthday gift and the time preparing these appetizers and the gas driving down and my Sunday that could have been spent doing something else I actually want to do, so I should be cool in these coolots and halter top, no?

Actually, NO. You should not be “cool” or “down” with people dressing down for a party. As is the case with organization, the least people could do is wear regular clothes or even just pants. When I opened the door to my aunt and her husband’s home Sunday, you can all imagine my surprise when I was greeted by her porno-watching husband wearing nothing but a t-shirt and Cornhusker boxer shorts. Maybe he was trying to impress my grandpa. Maybe he needed easy-access for when he’d be spending the duration of the party in the other room, looking at Internet pornography. Maybe he was just really hot. I don’t know, I just thought he could have actually put a pair of pants or at least shorts on. His boxers, in combination with my mother’s pant-wedgie that lasted the duration of the entire party and seemed to cause her nothing but pleasure, made the dresscode at this particular hillbilly brawl just intolerable for me.

After the lack of organization, the food problems, the underpants, the screaming at me for not pledging my loyalty to the Cornhuskers, and my mom rubbing her pant-wedgie further and further up her asscrack during the inevitable family photos that always cap off a family party with these people, I had just about had it.

What are your party pet peeves, faithful blog followers?

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All the Things I Should Have Said Today, But Didn’t

So who’s going to sign up for the “drag Heather back to California kicking and screaming” team? Because the way things are going, I don’t feel like it’s going to be easy to come home from our vacation, which begins in T-minus two days. The only saving grace is that my husband and all my things are here. Otherwise I would be so disillusioned with California culture at this point that you’d have to put me in a  straight jacket and mouthguard to force me back.

Today I went to a kid’s party. Seems normal, although I went on my own for once since we have been getting over a cold and the last thing I want is for everyone to get worse just before we leave for my sweet, home:  Chicago. It was the third birthday party of the daughter of one of my long-time California friends. She and I have known each other since I worked on her mother’s campaign for United States Congress – I was at her wedding, at the hospital three years ago when her daughter was born, and managed to keep in contact with her even though we haven’t seen much of each other in the past few years. Since we moved out of Los Angeles and back into the ‘burbs recently, though, it seemed only natural I would go to her daughter’s party.

Let me start this by saying, though, that I don’t like some of their friends. She and her husband are awesome, their families are equally as wonderful of people; but some of their friends leave me scratching my head. I’m sure by the end of these “things I said” and their companion “things I should have said,” you will be scratching yours too. Or drinking heavily, which is what I did when I got home.

Things I said:

When I walked up, they had one of those Jolly Jumper things set up in the front and kids were jumping and screaming in it with a few adults standing outside of it. I recognized all of them immediately – some of whom were these friends. One of the women I will never forget because (1) she squirted breast milk on me accidentally one time during a UFC party while she breastfed her infant; and, (2) they recently moved down the block from my father and I see them while driving all the time. I kindly said “hello” and she didn’t recognize me. Then she sort of did, then she didn’t, then it got awkward and she said “you must be who I am thinking of, but your hair is different.” I smiled and said “yes.”

Things I should have said: “Yeah, I do look a lot different now. You don’t though. You’re still a borderline obese cow in sweatpants squirting her breast milk at everyone – could never forget that! Don’t worry, I’d forget me too.”

Things I said:

I tried to walk into the actual house to see my friend, drop off the gift, and converse with the sane family members I knew would be there. As I made my way in, though, someone else saw me and this time I was recognized. The woman was sitting down breastfeeding at the time and flagged me over; when I walked over she talked a little and then said “don’t you look cute today! A little overdressed for a kid’s party, but to each his own!” I was wearing a short black spring dress, a white and black striped shirt underneath, a sweater, a pair of leggings, and my black Uggs. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t overdressed – I wear this outfit at least once every few weeks. Nonetheless, I defended myself with an “oh, you know … I never have an excuse to get out of yoga pants most of the time, so I thought I’d at least look nice!”

Things I should have said: “Oh, you think I’m overdressed? That’s funny because even though it’s a kid’s party, I’m fairly certain cheap Kmart sweat pants and an oversized t-shirt is inappropriate. You should probably go change, now.”

Things I said (or rather did):

I walked in the door, but was again accosted, this time by a man. He and I had a great conversation a few years ago at a birthday party. He was engaged to this girl my age that dressed something like my mother. She was there today, wearing a knitted vest with a snowman on it. Anyway, so he and I had a great conversation at a birthday party a while ago. I was dressed down, looking sort of crappy, and just talking to him about philosophy because he asked what I did and I was in school at the time. Apparently afterwards, the squirting cow from earlier started a huge rumor about how “Heather the whore” was always flirting with all of their men. Some big rumor drama started and the guy’s fiancé was just horrified by the whole ordeal. I learned this shortly afterwards because we were at another party and the guy and his sweater vest-wearing-woman didn’t even come, which I guess was because she was afraid he’d flirt with me “back.”

So they were there today and the guy said “hello” and started talking to me. In the three years since I’ve last seen him, he’s aged about thirty. His fiancé is now his wife and while I spoke with him, she walked by staring. She just paced back and forth, glaring; and a minute later when I said “hello” to her as well, she turned around and walked off. Politely, I concluded the conversation and said it was nice to see him, and went about my way.

Things I should have said (or should have done): After the second or third time that bitch paced back and forth, glaring at me, I should have shouted “I’ve been wanting to do this for years!!” and then planted one on him, not forgetting to grab his balls briefly at the end.

Things I said:

Finally, I made it in. I was greeted briefly by my friend and her husband. I spoke with her mother, his father, and got some food. I didn’t want to eat much so had a chicken leg and some crackers. While getting myself a Diet Coke from their drink stash, someone else came up to me. This woman really roasts my ass. At my friend’s wedding, her husband referred to my father as “the help” and yelled at him – that’s the kind of person we’re talking about, here. Anyway, so she is something like 60, acts 150, and she walked up to me, grabbed my unequivocally not-baby-filled-gut and started screaming “ooooooooooohhhhhhhhh, you’re preeeeeegggggnanttttttttt!!!!!!!” Now I can admit that I could shed a few pounds here and there, but I most certainly did not look pregnant. I laughed, said “no… I’m not pregnant … so how are you doing?” Then excused myself quietly as people still stared, about five minutes later.

Things I should have said: “Yeah, you know I am. Hope they don’t mind but I just peed on the couch inside – the baby was pressing on my bladder. So I guess the rest of these breast milk squirting cows are all carrying, like, quintuplets or something, huh? And you’ve got a baby under that senior discounted Walmart moo moo too I see! You’re preeeeeeeeggggnantttttttttt!!!!!”

Shortly after, I left the party. Said my goodbyes, hugs and such. Then I went to my car with my head held high, only to feel completely demoralized by the time I got home. Wine and cheese made everything better, as well as the reminder that in just a couple days now I will be on my way home for the first time in over a decade. California will be lucky if I return.