Party Chick, officially.
Since we took Chooch to Knoebels on the other side of the state for his birthday, we toned down the actual party this time around and just had it at Games n’At, a retro alternative to Chuck E. Cheese with tons of Pittsburgh-flavor. It was a big hit with the kids, and awesome for Henry and me because literally all we had to do was drop off party hats, plates, etc the day before and they had everything set up for us. NO DECORATING! And each kid got to choose from a list of snack bar options, so NO PROVIDING OUR OWN FOOD!
Holy shit, it was a parental dream come true. With everything we’ve been doing lately, planning a party just wasn’t something that either of us had the energy for. And Chooch still had fun,which is all that matters.
“You’re only picking Ugli Doll stuff because you like it,” Henry accused me the day before at Party City. Well…I didn’t see any Minecraft stuff there! And Chooch likes Ugli Dolls too, God!
I secretly had Kaitlin make Chooch a “creeper” cake. It is my reluctant understanding that creepers are some sort of Minecraft villain and Chooch really likes them. When I met Kaitlin in an empty strip mall parking lot 9AM that morning, like some creepy—but delicious—drug deal, I was floored when she removed the top of the cake box to reveal this edible work of pixelated art. I mean, if it had been left up to me, I’d have just slathered green frosting on a rectangle and then finger-painted the face with black stuff.
Maybe the black stuff would be non-toxic. Maybe not.
But when you’re the presiding Queen of Zia’s Desserts, you go above and beyond and make that fondant pixels because THAT is what a true Minecraft player wants to eat. When Chooch saw it, he gasped, “Kaitlin knows what creepers are!?!?”
When we first got to the arcade, I plopped my ass down on a couch across from some dad and watched the Penguins game for as long as I could until guests started to arrive. Fuck! I’m sorry, I know I’m the birthday boy’s mom, but theses are some important times in the NHL, OK? Step off
So then I tried to be actively involved for awhile. I even spoke with a parent! And heckled Janna mercilessly!
We all wanted something magical to be inside that armoire. But it was just a folded-up table. No Narnia.
But then something glorious happened: While I was in the party room talking to one of the parents (I did OK at that, you guys!), one of the arcade workers who looked uncannily like the dude from Ridiculousness approached me with a concerned expression and asked, “Do you want me to put the game on this TV here?” and then pointed to a TV in the corner that I hadn’t even noticed.
UM FUCK YES.
But then he couldn’t get it to turn on and kept leaving and returning with tools and various wires until finally he figured out that it wasn’t plugged in.
“Oh you have to pay for this,” Janna said, pulling her finger out of the Kiss-O-Meter and walking away.
You know who is really smart? Laura. She brought a present for me because she KNOWS. I was so excited and wanted to wear it right away but for some stupid reason, no one brought a switchblade to the Kid’s Birthday Party, so I couldn’t unleash it from the backing.
Ridiculousness serving up the food.
Chooch was so goddamn sweaty. No one else was. Just Chooch. God only knows.
Of course the kids were relatively uninterested in eating and decided to have an impromptu dance party instead. That might be because I said, “Hey you guys should have a dance party” and the Chooch’s cousin Zac started doing some frantic Gangnam Style seizure thing on the floor, which was a cattle call for the rest of the kids to get up and LOSE THEIR SHIT.
But hey. It’s not my house. Spaz it up, small people.
Blurry or not, you get the idea.
After the raucous cacophony of birthday serenading, Chooch started opening his presents. He was halfway through when he turned around and stopped mid-sentence.
“Where the heck did everyone go?” he cried when he realized he had been performing his gift-unwrapping in front of a roomful of adults.
“Dude, the kids went back out to the arcade a looooong time ago,” I said. Everyone cracked up but he just shrugged and went back to collecting his loot.
Meanwhile, I had made friends with the mom of one of the girls. But one thing to know about me is that I shit the bed when it comes to introductions. (Unless you’re in a band. Then I miraculously will remember your name right away.) So my memory proceeded to fuck her name into oblivion and I spent the rest of the party paralyzed every time someone came over that I wanted to introduce her to because I didn’t want to say, “Hey Laura, this is Astaria’s mom” because fuck if someone refers to ME as “Chooch’s mom.”
(Actually, this happens a lot and I’m OK with it. I think it happened 3x at Crafts from the Crypt in March. “Oh, you’re Chooch’s mom!” Castle Blood denizens would exclaim. Because everyone knows Chooch.)
So at one point, we were all sitting around a large table watching Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which had gone into over time, and I was struggling to replay the scene when we introduced ourselves, but all I could hear was pinball machines and this one Pierce the Veil song that has been in my head for 5 years. So, I covertly texted Janna and ordered her to ask the mom what her name is.
Janna did my dirty work, and I saved the text so I will never forget, you guys.
I win at friend-making.
Chooch’s girlfriend of the week made him a card that stressed in no uncertain terms how awesome and cool he is.
Laura, arcade seductress.
I would probably look like that too if I had to work kids parties every weekend.
This is not true. You’re only a winner if you win. I hope all the kids there knew that.
Blake showed up right before the party ended and asked Henry for an envelope. Henry didn’t have an envelope, so I suggested that he just MAKE one, because isn’t that the kind of bullshit nonsense they learn to do in THE SERVICE?
(Or at the very least by watching “She’s Crafty.”)
I took pictures with my real camera but we have a new computer and the version of Photoshop I’m used to doesn’t work on it anymore and I’m too bull-headed to let Henry show me how to use something new so all of my pictures are just festering in a folder, unedited.
I know there comes a time when the big extravaganzas need to come to an end, and Chooch still had a blast even though this party was waaaaay scaled down, but I can’t help but feel the itch to have one more big party next year. Maybe in the park again, and CREEPY CARNIVAL-THEMED. I could use my papier mache clown head again! Chooch seems down with this idea.
Which is good, because I already started planning it.