It Never Rains, But It Pours

August 19, 2013

And I’m not talking about the weather.

This week, a friend of Amit’s is coming from “foreign” (i.e. US) and spending a night with us.

Then, after he leaves, Amit’s cousins are coming to spend a few days.

The kids turn 7 on Sunday, and since it is a Sunday, there will be a party on the very day. All good, except… I hate parties.

Actually, I don’t hate parties, I just hate doing all the work.

Actually, I don’t hate that either. In fact, I quite enjoy it. What I hate is…

Well, there’s this Archaeology module. That’s another story. I’ve decided this shall be the last one I do. For one thing, these things are much too expensive. And they’re a lot of hard work. And besides – I think I’m done. I’ve covered all the areas of maximum interest to me, and I don’t want to keep going just for the sake of the Diploma (tempting though it is).

So I’m done, except for the one that I’m doing now. It’s a very interesting module, no complaints. But for some reason, part way through I suddenly lost interest. Perhaps it was Sandy’s passing that did it. It did happen around that time. Or perhaps it was the sudden realization that I was done with these modules – it did happen around that time too. Whatever the reason, halfway through this module I suddenly ran out of steam, and from there on it’s been a long slog. This thing only works if you’re really driven to do it – otherwise who has the time and energy to spend hours and hours reading and making notes at the end of a long day when it would be so much easier to watch TV or go to bed?

Anyway, now I have to complete the assignment for this last module. It is a 3000-word essay in which practically every sentence must be supported by three references and each one must be correctly cited and painstakingly added to a bibliography. And then checked and re-checked, because if you get a reference wrong… god help you. It’s not exactly something you can dash off in your sleep. And it’s due next Wednesday, which means I must get it done by this weekend. Which is the weekend we are having two installments of house guests, one after the other, and a birthday party to boot.

So, to get organized for all this, I took a five-day weekend. It would have been great, but for the fact that the kids had a four-day weekend, so it’s not like I got a whole lot of time to get my assignment done. Still, we sent them for their very first night out on Independence Day (so apt, right?), so I did manage to get quite a bit done. But there’s still a birthday party to organize and two sets of house guests to get prepared for.

Any guest room in our house tends to turn into a junk yard. Since we don’t have guests too often, we use it for all manner of things – for keeping Tara’s tabla and the harmonium that nobody uses. For keeping the lawn mower. For keeping the cat’s litter box, now that we don’t keep it in the verandah anymore. For keeping sundry spare parts, from a big carton of electricals to mouldy old curtains that we haven’t had the heart to throw out. Things like that. It takes a good dose of commitment, hard work, and time, to get it cleaned up.

And then there’s the birthday party.

Every year, after the part ends, I swear that next year we will just do it at a party venue, like everyone else.

And every year, when it comes around to that time of year again, I let Amit talk me into doing it at home.

Secretly (don’t tell Amit), I like to do it at home. I know that children’s parties are much more fun at home. But, then… there’s so much to DO!

For starters, there’s the guest list. We only have about 25 kids on that list so far. That’s only because Mrini has exercised the utmost restraint and invited only half her class, instead of all of it. Tara has a smaller guest list to begin with, and of course many of her friends are already on the list, by the time Mrini has finished rattling off names.

They both drew something that will pass for an invitation card. Now I only have to stick some appropriate text on the inside and then scan the drawings and get 20-odd color print-outs (some invitees are siblings, of course, so 20 should do).

And I have to organize chairs! Inclusive of parents and hosts, we will need seating for about 40, which is not something we can scrape together at home.

Food is the easy part – it will be the usual junk food, finger food, ordered in from KC Das, which task will be delegated to Amit. But I have to organize paper (or plastic) plates, cups, bowls, spoons, forks, napkins, and giant size garbage bags. And cake, of course. Tons of homemade cake. Since I don’t have an industrial size oven, it will mean baking about half a dozen individual cakes. There goes next Saturday.

We got the essentials done over this four-day weekend – birthday dresses and lots of other little stuff. Thankfully, they still ask for only little stuff – kiddie watches, dark glasses, pretty shoes, books, and the like. Even return gifts are almost done (as long as the guest list doesn’t expand any further!).

But there’s still way too much to do! Next year, I’m really really NOT going to do this party at home. Remind me, ok?

And just as I’m wondering how I’m going to get it all done in time, like a bolt from the blue and with impeccable timing we get notice of the dreaded Parent Teacher Meeting. It’s dreaded only because it eats up so much time. A good half day will be lost. And you know when it’s slated for, right? That’s right – next Saturday.

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