2005 birthdaybash #1: RSVPs

Occasionally, a phrase uttered in complete seriousness comes back to bite you in the ass. Occasionally, phrases uttered in complete innocence result in anything but.I offer my current example: "Hey, I want a birthday party this year! Why don't we do a big group birthday party for all of the October birthday folks, and maybe send out an invitation to tech staff to see if anyone will want to drive up from Atlanta?"

Yeah right. It's a 3.5-4 hour drive from Atlanta, plus a time change. All this for a birthday party weekend. Well, that and a dragon*conTV planning meeting (our first for 2006). I figured Brian and Suzan would show up, because I kicked the idea to them first … then I sent out the email. As Jeff has since explained (patiently and repeatedly, I might add) to me: "You said there would be booze. Why are you surprised people are showing up?"

Yes, well, supposedly that'll show me. The RSVP count from Atlanta stands at 16: Meiya, Brian, Suzan, Asai, mishaPatrick, Patrick, Danielle, 4x4, T-Bone, Ogre, Kismet, Ploki, Broadband, Marriott, Joyce, Aaron. The locals count so far is at least 12: Jeff, me, Misty, Stephen, Jason, Jeremy, Chris Adams, Remy, Hallie, Margaret (Margaret!), Ashley, Jon, and whoever else is planning on showing up that I don't know about yet.

We're going to be splitting the Atlanta crew among five houses, with the exception of Patrick and Danielle, who will stay with their families.

I responded with my usual mixture of blatant panic and obsessive list-making. In the midst of this, I saw Geof's post containing a quote from Abraham Maslow regarding a certain personality trait that I think my friends will recognize:

Compulsive-obsessives try frantically to order and stabilize the world so that no unmanageable, unexpected or unfamiliar dangers will ever appear. They hedge themselves about with all sorts of ceremonials, rules, and formulas so that every possible contingency may be provided for and so that no new contingencies may appear. … If, through no fault of their own, something unexpected does occur, they go into a panic reaction as if this unexpected occurrence constituted a grave danger."

I admit nothing. Nothing, I say!

True, we are only going to be officially hosting five people at my house, but unofficially, I have to expect to host anywhere between 5 and 25. People who drink, and who can't furnish a sober ride home, stay at the house with the booze …

Come to think of it, putting the drunks in the house with the booze and telling them they can't leave until they're sober … somehow, we here in Management have doubts Amy's going to get rid of anyone at ANY point during the weekend. --ed.

… and so I've spent the past day washing, literally, the entire contents of my linen closet. Sheets, stadium blankets, quilts … everything now smells less of multiple-year storage and more of just a bit of jasmine. This needed to be done anyway (as did the full-house cleaning that's going on right now) but the party's an excellent excuse.

It's been far too long since I've had to ask myself, "So just how many people can this house sleep comfortably, anyway?"

(Answer: about eleven. Two in the master bedroom, two on an air mattress in the computer room, two in the guest room, two on the pullout sofabed, two on an air mattress in the reading room, and one on the sofa in the reading room. After that, people have to start getting cozier, or start using sleeping bags.)

In the meantime, I'm madly making lists. You guys know me well, and can imagine what they probably contain. I've spent the past couple of days doing menu planning. Each morning we'll do [pancakes|French toast], pajamas, and old-school cartoons. (We may be old enough to drink, but I'm not old enough to grow up. Not just yet.)

People always ask, "What do you want for your birthday?" and I'm always stumped for an answer. Sure, I'd love to have a white version of the sports bras I adore from Title Nine, or a new knife to finish out my German knife collection, but the truth is that those are things. They can be lost, broken, outgrown.

What I really want, really and truly, is a houseful of the people I love, hurling jokes and insults and mowing through all the food I'll spend next week making, taking photos and terrifying my cats and using up all my towels on the first day.

Despite my shock and surprise and my frantic list-making, this is, indeed, the gift I wanted for my 29th birthday.

…and, for those of you who read to the end, I give you the loopy link of the week: Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus!


Mmm ... French toast.