Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I'm Beat!-The Party, Part 3

Having so many people drive so far for your birthday is humbling and also presents the daunting task of keeping them fed, entertained and adequately plyed with adult beverages during their stay. A five-hour party on the boardwalk leaves a great hunk of time to fill during the course of a weekend. The original plan which was codified by means of invitations was a cookout at the homeplace starting Friday night at 6:00, with the main party from 1-6 the next day, followed by a dinner at 8:00 at one of the great waterfront restaurants where we would have our own room.
February, March and April limped by with some of the shittiest fishing and boating weather ever. May arrived finally and all of a sudden this party weekend was on me like a cheap suit (inside joke with Scott). The thought of having 30 or so people scoping out your house at one time is unnerving and requires a herculean effort to overcome the winter's neglect. The list grew like kudzu-powerwash the screen porch and porch furniture (the latter was avoided by buying new porch furniture), powerwash the mildew off the vinyl siding of the house and the shed, clean up all the rodbuilding crap from every room in the house, i.e. hide it in the attic until the guests leave, scrape the epoxy from rodbuilding off the countertops and tables, replace the kitchen sink and faucets, fix the closer on the front door, arrange for the carpet and furniture to be cleaned, plant the garden and front flower bed, replace all burned-out lightbulbs, nuke the weeds in the natural areas into oblivion, mow the yard to get rid of the dog shit, buy beer and ice, buy plastic cutlery, paper plates and groceries, clean off the fly tying table, wash the car, clean the boat and confirm with the restaurant. It seemed that every chore done spawned three others. I had court the week of the 2nd and I planned to get most of the stuff done following that. The plumber put the sink in on Monday, the 9th and the carpet people showed up Tuesday afternoon to do their thing. I took off at noon on Wednesday and made a 3-hour Walmart run-two carts filled to the brim and it felt like I was pulling a coal scuttle. Got in the wrong line-it was the shortest line by far, just the wrong one. An octogenerian wearing a ball cap with the insignia of a local bank was claiming the checkout lad had shorted him two bucks on his $400.00 pile of stuff. He took the 3-foot long receipt and pored over it item by item like an FBI agent for what seemed like a lifetime until I was ready to give the guy five bucks just to get the hell out of the store. I was saved by a young lady who opened up a new register for me. Three hundred smackers later, I'm out the door with the booty.
My plan was to have hamburgers and hot dogs for the cookout, cooked on the new stainless steel Charbroil beauty that Scott sayed he was giving me as a present from he and Jeff and Jason. I spent all Wednesday and Thursday evening forming 25 lbs. of burger into about 60 patties, making a massive pasta salad and potato salad and a gallon of baked beans. I took my 17 foot Old Town Canoe, pulled it up on the screen porch and made it into the world's largest beer cooler. It took 400 lbs. of ice to fill it up but when the beer was added, it was a beautiful sight. Other ice-coolers were used to chill the wine. It was finally Friday-I looked at the clock. It was 4:30 P.M. and I had time to extract a celebratory beer out of the canoe, take a shower and change into some new threads and wait for the first guests to arrive.

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