May 172011


The fact that Henry was in charge of purchasing the decorations for Chooch’s party made me nervous. I mean, he’s Henry of the Non-Descript T-Shirt Tribe, after all. I hear his people like to transcend their non-descript persuasions upon parties, too.

So I wasn’t surprised when my friend Janna and I arrived at the pavilion an hour before the party started and I found in a bag one (1) Star Wars table cloth and five plain black ones.

What did surprise me was the Jaguar parked next to the pavilion, owned by a family of yuppies frolicking around the nearby playground under the overcast sky.

Let me rewind to 7AM when I woke up and panic immediately staked out a home in my chest. In my mind, this was the most sloppily-planned party to date and I was running around swearing, barking orders, threatening cancellation and stinking up the house with Yankee Candle’s brand new BITCH scent. Plus, it was raining. I was anticipating this, as the weather had been calling for 24:7 rain for Saturday all week long. Henry, who had been in the kitchen cooking army-sized batches of rigatoni and potato salad, came out and said, “I got this. Just sit down.”

So I put on Bring Me the Horizon super loud and changed my clothes eighteen times.

I was still shaking beneath my skin by the time we got to the pavilion, even though Henry promised me the food situation was under control. So when I saw Mr. Jaguar and his douche-brood, I pretty much snapped.

“They better fucking leave before the party starts,” I growled, and Janna assured me they probably would once they realized the pavilion was spoken for. (I gave it a promise ring the night before, after all.)

There was one bag of white balloons. Who buys one bag of just white balloons unless they’re celebrating virginity? I called Henry and yelled about this.

“Well, they didn’t have any black!” was his excuse. After hanging up, I noticed that the streamers were black and white. What the fuck, were we having a fucking Over the Hill party?

I was in the middle of holding Janna at the mercy of my rant about the lack of decorative color when Mr. Jaguar himself approached us.

“Did you guys rent this pavilion or something?” he asked with one of those sharky smiles you’d expect from a small-statured Jaguar owner. He kind of looked like Billy Joel.

“Yes,” I said figuring he would then leave.

“Hmm,” he murmured, sharky smile losing even more of its friendliness. “I’m pretty sure I rented this one, too.”

My fingers involuntarily dropped the bag of balloons. Adrenaline began pumping through me and the morning’s panic was back and better than ever.

“Woodland Crest?” I probed.

“Pretty sure that’s the one,” he said, and we both moved over until the pavilion marker was in our sight. It clearly said Woodland Crest.

There was a moment where the atmosphere birthed babies of awkwardness right on our faces. I started wringing my hands. What if I had the wrong pavilion? I wasn’t with Henry when he rented it, but I was sure I triple-checked the paper work before sending out the information to all the guests. I had a vision of Jaguar banishing us from the premises like the poor raggedy folk we are, and all of Chooch’s friends showing up and being taken under the wings of the mini-Jaguars while Daddy Jag spoon-fed them all caviar on the swing set. They were going to steal my party.

I wanted to stay for that party.

“How many people you got coming?” he asked me.

“I don’t know,” I muttered. “Like, at least 30.”

His eyes widened and he said, “Wow, that’s a lot. Well, I certainly don’t want to be the bad guy here.” And I thought, before he walked back to the playground, that he said he’d back out. But they all stayed and continued to run around in their riches and scream delightfully.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I squealed to Janna. “He rented this entire pavilion for his family of five?”

“Maybe he thinks that just because he was here first, that means it’s his,” Janna offered, trying to keep me from hanging from the rafters.

I called Henry in a panic and he flipped out. Of course, he didn’t have the permit in the car anymore, and even though he was nearly to the pavilion, he turned around to get it from home.

“If that motherfucker is still there by the time I get back, I’m punching him in the fucking mouth and calling the police!” Henry shouted, which made me laugh because Henry has never been in a fight before, unless you count the time as a kid when he fought a five-year-old girl over a Barbie sundress. I couldn’t even imagine him kicking gravel at the guy’s car. Meanwhile, Janna had gotten hold of someone at the park office who confirmed that the pavilion was indeed in Henry’s name and that we could always stop by and have a copy printed off.

“She also said to call the police if he doesn’t leave,” Janna, looking all important for being privy to this information. I’m all for confrontation, but not when my child’s birthday party was expected to start in thirty minutes. I’m already such an outcast among the school moms, imagine if they showed up with their children just in time to see the South Park police prying me off this rich dick, and I mean that in the least sexual sense possible. (For once.)

However, once I had confirmation that we were legally in our rights to be there, I instructed Janna to finish decorating. Let us not forget that she is the help.

While I blew up white balloons and Janna stapled them in trios around the corners of the pavilion, a guy on a bike skidded to a halt next to us.

“Hi!” he said cheerfully, wiping his brow. “I’m having a party here—-”

Detonating nerves shot stomach acid up to my esophagus like a geyser. If the inside of my stomach right then was a comic book cell, it would have KABLOOEY stamped across it.

“—in two weeks, and my wife sent me here to count the picnic tables.”

Janna and I looked at each other and started to laugh. The biker was too busy counting to question it and instead said, “Have a great party!” We thanked him and laughed harder as he biked away.

We had a few bags of animal twisting balloons for Bill, and Janna suggested adding one to each cluster of white in order to give it a shot of color.

It was a nice phallic touch, and we agreed it was a good thing there were three balloons in each cluster, and not just two.

“Should I stick with red and green?” she asked. We were basing the color choices off the colors in the lone Star Wars table cloth.

“I’d use other colors too, otherwise it goes from an Over the Hill party to some Italian guy’s Over the Hill Party.”

At 1:40, the Jaguar-brood loaded up in their car. (Not before discarding a drink tray onto the ground; the environment thanks you, litterer-fucks. Don’t worry, I threw it away.)

“Thanks for letting us intrude on your party,” Daddy Jag joked, and I couldn’t help but wipe his sleaze off my face.

“No problem,” I said with a tight-lipped smile.

And then Henry’s son Robbie arrived with his girlfriend Karen, who dutifully twisted and hung the black and white streamers. Karen was really concerned with getting the streamers to look prom-ready, practically fashioning a yardstick out of tree roots to measure the proper length, but I was like, “Please. Look around. This party is already halfway down the path to Cousin Jim-Bob’s Prison Release hoe-down, BYO-Moonshine.” 

Ain’t no one dancing to Forever Young beneath the streamers on this day, friend.

Anyway, I like Robbie and Karen because they laugh uproariously at everything I say. Good audience. And because I basically whaled the streamers at them and they asked no questions.

Right before 2:00, a cop car crunched down the dirt path to the pavilion.


But really, he was just there to smugly tell Janna she couldn’t keep her car parked in the dirt. Seriously? That may have been the most eventful hour of the whole day, and the party hadn’t even kicked off yet. It was like there was a beacon above our pavilion, alerting everyone to go fuck with the short-fused party host.

And don’t even get me started on the staple gun.

On my tombstone, please have engraved: “No, the universe was not fucking kidding you.”

I was already on the fact track to Pacemaker and hadn’t even been faced yet with the torturous chore of making nice with the preschool moms. And then it started to rain.

  11 Responses to “The Birthday Party: Decorations & Jaguars”

  1. My friends rented a grove and some people were there using it when we got there and my friend just let them keep using it too because we didn’t need all the space! Who DOES that?

    • If they were just using the playground, I wouldn’t have cared. But we ended up having 62 people there. Every last table was being used. I supposed he could have picnic’d off the hood of his fucking car, though.

  2. I’m still reeling over this line…”while Daddy Jag spoon-fed them all caviar on the swing set”

    Note to self: never rent a pavilion for a party

  3. You poor thing. The whole kids party scene is crazy! I’m glad you didn’t stab anyone. And I’m glad that Henry didn’t have to kick gravel at that assholes car.
    Wish I could have been there :(

  4. I would have cut someone.

  5. Wow… sounds like fun. Ahem. Jesus Christ.

  6. I’m impressed you guys knew to rent the pavilion. I never would have thought to do that. lol

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