When geeks throw a party

Back when he got engaged, my brother groused that his future mother-in-law had gotten him “service for thirty-six.”

He muttered, “If there are thirty-six people over at my house, I’m not going to be one of them.”

God has a sense of humor. My brother and his wife (she is one of the classiest people I know, and you can tell her I said so) have often hosted parties with thirty-six-plus people at their home, and they’re quite good at it, so when my brother told me, “Get a tent,” I listened to him. Even though it was forecasted to rain, I listened to him.

Last Saturday was Kiddo3’s First Holy Communion. He has been wearing his First Holy Communion suit to church for the past…well, two months now. He looks sharp. He even wears a fedora with it. His mother? She had thought a lot less about the fact that twenty-five people were going to come to her house for the party afterward.

It wasn’t a mystery that these people were coming. I’d even invited some of them myself. But I just kind of spaced it until I was talking to my brother and said my house was a bit small for that number of people. On Monday, I called and spoke to a young woman at Angelborough Rent A Tent And Other Stuff, and she agreed that for a small fee (cough) they’d set up a tent. Then she started asking questions, and when I couldn’t answer, she finally stopped and said, “Okay, um, what’s this for?”

I pity her. I really do. I hope the party people give her a raise.

And yes, this is what happens when I do a party. The party people need to ask very easy questions, the way you’d ask a three-year-old. The fruit salad has to come already chopped up by the nice people at the store. The party guests, when they arrive, immediately go into the kitchen and say “What can I help you with?” because it’s obvious that the Geek and her Patient Husband are totally out of their league.

(In our favor: I did set up an iPod with a six-hour playlist outside. That worked really well. Later I found one of the guests turned it to Weird Al Yankovic. Party on!)

My friend Sarah came with bubbles for the little kids and a game called Flickin’ Chicken. This game? Buy it. Buy it now. The thirteen children in attendance (from ages 4 to 14) spent quality time hurling chickens off our porch. I cannot thank Sarah enough for bringing that.

See? I couldn’t have done any of this myself. It was an amazing success. It had nothing to do with me.


  1. Carol Bird

    Hilarious!!! And I agree with you, the playlist is key!

    There’s a reason why people make a living out of party planning. It’s a difficult job but the people who are good at it make it look like it is nothing at all. I can go either way on the tent, but it’s the “And Other Stuff” I think we can all use help with!

    Like it or not, my kids get ONE combined birthday party and it’s outdoors. The food is Oliva’s takeout. We have a large paint mural and a slip & slide. Maybe we add chicken flinging this year. Yeah, that could work…

  2. Cricket

    But…you didn’t get the extra points for doing it all yourself, with 7-layer cake and polishing all the silver and being in three places at once and almost passing out and complaining that no one helped!

    Chances are, your way was also cheaper. The fruit salad store charges less for whole-sale priced fruit and five minutes with their choppy machine than the grocery store charges for the fresh stuff retail. We won’t mention how much a tent costs if it falls and tears because you didn’t set it up right.

  3. Monica

    Happy First Holy Communion to Kiddo3! Sounds like it was a good day.