It wasn’t the first time my sanity was questioned.
Odds are, it won’t be the last.
It’s no surprise that everyone thought my husband and I were certifiable, choosing to host a birthday slumber party for nine 7- and 8-year-old boys in our home.
Crazy? Have you been to one of those arcade-pizza places for a birthday party, with the mind-numbing sounds of bells and sirens, the pounding crush of little feet running up and down the aisles, the sickening smell of burnt pizza, sticky tables and floors covered in spilled drinks and having to spend $1,000 to get enough tickets to buy the tacky gorilla on the top shelf?
If Dante returned to the 21st Century to write the “Inferno Part 2,” he’d quickly discover he’d need only one level of hell to adequately convey the desperation of the horrific human condition where souls go to die...and it’s known as the arcade-pizza place.
So you’ll understand why I felt home-field advantage was important for this year’s celebration.
Well, in full disclosure, it was my bright idea. My husband’s response after I sprang the idea on him?
Then he headed for the hills with a six-pack under each arm, desperately reviewing our marriage vows and looking for a loop-hole.
What happens when a 49-year-old man is challenged to play kickball with a bunch of little boys?
He ends up in bed later that evening with an ice pack and moaning quietly, “Oh, I hurt. Dear God this hurts.”
I simply shrugged and answered, “Well, it’s your own fault. After you beaned that one kid trying to steal third, you deserved to get dog-piled.
Boys 1, Dad 0.
Tips to hosting your own slumber party for little boys:
1. Remove all exterior and interior doors in the home. They are overrated and just slow boys down.
2. Make sure you have enough bathrooms. We have four. And it still wasn’t enough. Thank God for trees in the backyard and understanding neighbors.
3. There is not enough popcorn - in the world - to satisfy nine little boys.
4. While most parents might view lightsabers, NERF guns and ninja swords as inappropriate toys, just know, they are essential to a great party. If they are chasing each other, they won’t be bothering you. And you’re finally free to crack open that bottle of wine you’ve been eyeing for the past five hours.
5. Make sure your First Aid kit is stocked. ...Stupid lightsabers....
Ever tried to get a gallon of cooking oil out of your carpet?
There’s always a first time.
In my innocence I thought it was the charging mass of elementary-aged, ninja warrior wannabe’s who would bring death and destruction down upon our humble home.
They were little angels. I should have been paying more attention to the gimpy kickball champion.
There we were the next morning, in the home stretch, just 30 minutes to go before our last party attendee was due to be picked up by well-rested parents.
I had long since switched from wine to hard liquor, and after just four hours of sleep, my ability to correctly tell time was quite suspect.
But that didn’t matter. It was almost over, then I could crawl back upstairs and pass out.
And then it happened.
As my husband was returning the electric fryer to the basement storage area, the very same fryer he used to whip up his custom-made birthday tater tots the evening before, his kickball injury rose up and bit him in the you-know-what.
About five stairs from the bottom...he tripped.
He went one way. The fryer went another.
I rushed to the top of the stairs where I saw him slowly reach down and pick up the fryer off the floor, oil oozing down its sides, over his fingertips and onto the carpet below. The walls were dripping with oil, and the last few stairs were splotched with large patches of ickiness.
I braced for the onslaught of four-letter words and hysteria soon to follow.
But he was just too tired to care. His shoulders merely slumped in defeat and he quietly muttered softly, “Well, ****.”
Fryer 1, Dad 0.