my nephew, who just turned one, decided to have his birthday on the same day as my dad. now, normally, a grandfather would be thrilled to share a birthday with his grandson, but for my dad, everything, especially his birthday, is a competition. so already a few months out we (being my mom and i) were being lambasted with ever-changing edicts as to how the perfect birthday was to function. it of course did not help that not only was my nephew turning one, but my father was turning 70.
"I'd really like donuts from dunkin' donuts" my dad announced one morning at breakfast.
"you hate donuts and you hate dunkin' donuts in particular" my mom responded.
at this my dad looked offended and retorted, "well I guess I just want to be a kid again." then, after contemplating this latest mandate for a moment he added, "also, I would like to do surf and turf."
aside from the drama of what we were going to eat, there was the logistical nightmare of organising the actual fete in covid times. my sister-in-law's parents were coming over as well to see their grandson and the family friend, who was 82 and pooped like a Mexican construction worker, also was coming. it was met with astounding disbelief that the baby's sleep schedule would dictate the parameters of the party.
days before my mom and I went to party city. if you want to know where the stimulus checks are going, checkout party city. Jesus Christ. are people just plowing that stimmie check into balloons? also, there is nothing more entertaining than watching someone trying to get what appears to be 36 oversized, helium filled balloons into a Honda sedan on a windy day. it's an amazing display of the futility of human determination in the face of ever-increasing odds. after dropping what I considered to be an obscene amount of cash for party decorations (party city really has that on lock, Jesus, 16 bucks for a balloon? 15 bucks for a yard sign?) we finally got to the day of the party.
the family friend, always one to ensure that the day revolves around her promptly called us at 10 am to inform us that she hadn't taken a shit in 3 days. making sure to enshrine herself as the drama queen of the day she then proceeded to rattle of a disconcerting variety of laxatives that she had ingested that morning with the hope that she would "clean out her system" prior to the party.
at approximately 11:15 am we received a follow-up call that the laxatives were indeed working, only far too well. she sounded like she was calling from an interstate tunnel which apparently was actually her bathroom with the exhaust fan turned to max. she politely extricated herself from the luncheon informing us that she would grace us with her presence for coffee and cake.
around 12:30, around a half hour before the king baby (my nephew) was to arrive along with his entourage (my bro, sister in law and her parents) my mom was stressing about how to prepare the Costco carrots she had purchased for the occasion.
"these look like dog shit" my mom exclaimed as she emptied the tubular roots out onto a baking dish.
"yeah, well, what did you expect, you bought them in bulk at Costco." I responded.
my mom glared at me, picked up the box, glared at the definitely non-representative photo plastered on the front of the box and sighed in exasperation. then the doorbell rang. my mom and my brother's dog (who had been with us for weeks already) had the same reaction, sprinting to the door with my dog barking and my mother muttering.
after the full frontal assault of kisses, hugs and drooling all over everyone (by the dog and my baby nephew) we settled down to lunch.
"what if he feeds himself?" my dad asked of my one year old nephew. my dad had this odd inspiration that my nephew would somehow age 5 years and acquire the dexterity that accumulates with such growth in one afternoon.
"well," my brother started, "he would paint the walls with peas."
"well," my dad settled in, with his hands clasped, fingers on the bridge of his nose, "let's try it."
my mother, who was viewing the house that she had so pristinely cleaned with great unease chimed in, "well let's jus-" SPLAT and with actual amazing dexterity and strength for a one year old, peas went the length of the table onto the floor.
by then we had made it to coffee and cake. our family friend ensured us that she was coming over any minute but my nephew, who had not napped all day, was starting to condense the timeline dramatically. after pouring some sugar into that gasoline tank shit really hit the fan. the adults, hyped up on coffee and cake and the baby, hyped up on sugar, were babbling ninety miles a minute. we were all in a sugar-induced euphoria.
my sister-in-law's father, who is a big trump supporter, was going into "a beautiful mind" type theory state to explain to me how the election was rigged and how trump, who had not conceded, was still the rightful president. then he did some back of the cake-stained napkin mathematics as to how the whole global financial system was on the verge of imminent collapse due to the oversupply of money.
then the sugar crash set in. lethargically everyone agreed it was best to part ways. my nephew and his entourage, with my sister-in-law's dad promising that he would send me some "interesting videos" upon parting all filed in to their car.
about 15 minutes after their car pulled out, our family friend pulled in. noticeably more nimble and lighter having rid herself of what I would imagine was 30 lbs of partially digested porkchops she entered the living room, hands on her hips with the question, "now where is the baby?" upon being informed that the baby was sleeping off a sugar-induced mania my dad informed her that HE was still present and that it was HIS birthday too. at which point the family friend, dismayed at the lack of a baby, sighed, dug into her purse, produced what seemed to be an insulin shot and inquired, "fine, where is the goddamned cake at?"