13 September 2008

A Quiet Afternoon Tea Party

"Two loaves? What are we doing? feeding the population of Australia or 30 kindergarten children??...It looked like a case of organised chaos (which it was)"

A couple of weeks ago No Worries and I decided to have a party for our eldest daughter who was turning 6. We decided to have the party (aka afternoon tea) after school. The idea was to invite her friends over for an afternoon tea.

To ensure a successful afternoon was had by all No Worries and I, in true military fashion, got out the white board, donned our flak jackets and worked out a plan of attack for the party. Initially discussions were around what food should be on offer for our hungry guests. We decided on cooking most of the food ourselves. I got the gourmet pizza cooking rights as well as the honour of making chocolate crackles (being a chocoholic I readily volunteered for this). No worries would take care of the fairy bread, pancakes, salad and all the other yummies.

As the party was on a Monday we decided to do a lot of the preparation on the weekend. I had lotsa fun making the chocolate crackles and have to admit I probably overdid the tasting sessions! The pizzas were made on the Sunday and cooked gourmet style on the barbecue (note - my pizzas are reaching legendary status and I can hire out my services for a small fee of course! - or a beer or two).

Before you could spell Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrob wllllantysiliogogogoch it was Monday. The birthday girl was dropped off at school and was really excited about the afternoon festivities. Meanwhile, No Worries and I headed to a cafe for a coffee and a recap of our plan of attack.

I was a bit concerned that we would not have enough time to get everything done. After all, I still had to blow up the jumping castle. A feat that would normally take an hour or so. Naturally my wife muttered those famous words of hers. "No worries" said she. "It will all work out in the end!" Deep down I was not that confident.

We headed to the local shopping centre and got some party plates, cups and cutlery. At another store that we visited I noticed some jalapeno flavoured crisps. These were swiftly purchased by yours truly (and lovingly devoured during the day). The it was back home to get things ready for the party. The time was now 10.20am and were were on time as per our well thought out plan.

I was feeling good by now. All I had to do was pump up the jumping castle and I would be able to take it easy up to the start of the festivities. I got the jumping castle out of the garage and put it in the backyard. I then went back to the garage to find the air pump. It was not there. I searched frantically but couldn't find it. I called out to the wife. No Worries came into the garage and helped look for it. After 15 minutes it still hadn't been located.

No Worries then came up with an ingenious idea. "No worries. Can't you blow it up manually yourself?" I promptly pointed out that, given the size of the castle, it would probably put me in the intensive ward of the local hospital if I blew it up all by myself. The watch now said 11.05am. Time was getting away from me. I would have to buy a new pump.

I got into the car and started driving to the local shops. Fortunately, the traffic was very light so there were no need for any Lewis Hamilton impersonations. I parked the car and sprinted (gazelle style) to the appropriate shop. When I got there I couldn't find any air pumps. Obviously they had moved them. I also couldn't find a shop assistant to ask either. So after frantically wandering around the store for what seemed ages I found them.

I purchased the pump and started making my way to the car. Then my mobile phone rang. It was No Worries. She wanted me to buy two more loaves of bread so that she could make lots more fairy bread. Two loaves? What are we doing? feeding the population of Australia or 30 kindergarten children?? Anyway, in case we were feeding the whole country I bought the two loaves.

Once back home I started pumping up the jumping castle. It was inflating like a treat. Meanwhile, No Worries was having a few issues with the jelly. It wasn't setting properly. In fact it wasn't setting at all due to my wife adding too much water to the crystals.

The castle was now fully inflated and looked good. It was then that I noticed it was starting to deflate slowly. "Oh no" I cried out. How was I going to find the leak,and more importantly fix it in time before the party? No Worries soothed my nerves with her commentary. "No worries, it'll be okay" . I decided that as it was a slow leak I would re-pump it up just prior to the guests arriving.

Before we knew it the time had come. I drove to my youngest daughter's school and picked her up and then collected the birthday girl. I drove home and then took my youngest daughter to the cake shop to pick up the birthday cake. I was gone literally 20 minutes and arrived home looking forward to a great afternoon. When I walked into our house my eyes literally popped out of my head.

It seemed as if the whole population of Sydney had turned up! It looked like a case of organised chaos (which it was). The jumping castle was a mass of writhing school children and I was worried about how long it would remain inflated. I didn't need to worry too much as the castle was deflating very quickly!

I then decided to not worry about anything and enjoy the moment, and the chocolate crackles! The afternoon passed into early evening and the majority of children were still on a sugar high. Then, within a blink of an eye, everyone left and quietness befell our house. It seemed that everyone had had a great time, especially the birthday girl.

After our daughters were in bed, No Worries and I continued cleaning up. By the time we finished it was 11pm. We were both tired. It was then that I had an idea. "Next year, let's have the birthday party at McDonald's!" I said to my wife. Her response was a very tired "no worries".

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