If you don't like gossip, you can skip this one (I'll probably delete it in a few days). If you're in more of a Dorothy Parker mood and would like to sit by someone who doesn't have anything nice to say, stick around.
We had both kids' birthday parties this weekend, one Saturday at home and one Sunday at a roller rink. Saturday I had to clean up vomit (canine) before the party. Sunday I had to clean up crap (human) before the party. I'm glad we didn't have a party on Monday because I wasn't interested in mopping up any blood.
Since Opie wanted to have his party at home, we kept the guest list small--a bunch of his friends from child care plus a few neighbors. The response was abysmal. Out of nine kids, only one showed, and only three others actually sent regrets. At the last minute I invited some other neighbors, a family of four kids--thank God, because they made up pretty much the entire party.
Luckily, Opie didn't seem to care. His best buddy from school was there (and his parents did some heroic schedule-shifting to make that possible). He had a Superman cake and a Superman pinata and everyone got to wear a cape.
Jo's party was the opposite. Her guest list kept growing as she begged to invite "just one more" kid from her class. And all except one replied in the affirmative. Which, fine. The roller rink was a dirt-cheap venue: $5/kid. (The place clearly has changed neither its decor, or its music selections, or its prices since 1985.)
(Here's where the gossip comes in.) A few days before the party one of her friend's moms, who I know, called because she was having transportation issues. We eventually worked out that the child's cousin would bring her to our house, then we'd take her to the party; another friend would take her home. Easy.
Then another mom calls--someone I don't know at all. And she gives me chapter and verse on her recent hysterectomy/gallbladder surgery/"total abdominal reconstruction" and how she can't drive and is there any way I could ... ? So I say yes, of course, we can pick up your daughter and take her to the party and bring her home.
I'm glad she asked for help and I was glad we could offer it. I really didn't need so many details. But it got better. An hour before the party--when I was cleaning up the aforementioned crap, which happened to land on the one small patch of white carpeting we have in our house--Hysterectomy Mom calls back. This time she wants to know if her son can tag along. She'll pay for him, he can just skate, etc. Once again I get a whole saga of a bad night's sleep, Xanax didn't help, yadda yadda. I quickly calculate whether we can fit all of these kids in our station wagon and determine that we can. So I promise to pick up the birthday guest and the brother in half an hour.
We pile into the car and I am wedged into the front passenger seat with a huge box filled with goody bags and party favors. I can't move at all. We get to the kids' house and I make Jeff get out to say hello to the kids and the mom. She comes out in her pajamas and proceeds to pull from her pants pockets:
two drainage pouches filled with pus.
Like we needed proof that she had had this surgery. Good gravy. Really, how do you respond to such a thing? We backed out of the driveway as quickly as we possibly could. I think she was still talking about how many cc's of fluid she needed to allow to drain before she could have the tubes removed.
At the end of the party, some other mom volunteered to take those two kids home.
We said yes.