Wrapping It Up

So lately my back has been hurting.

And by lately, I mean for the last five years.  Apparently this is what old age will get you, in addition to a strong desire to turn your thermostat to 84 degrees and decrease your driving speed to an even 18 mph all over town.

Sister seems to suffer from the same back issues that I do, and she has a contraption that resembles a medieval torture device.  You strap yourself into it by the ankles, and you hang upside down.  Apparently she used her son’s college tuition to purchase this, and, in return, her back feels good enough now to take on Gabby Douglas on the vault. Her spine has been stretched into health.

Today, she talked me into trying it, and listen, people:  My equilibrium didn’t like it.  Sister cranked it up to accommodate my height, and then she buckled my ankles in.  And then she said, “Just lean it backwards,” but before I could even figure out HOW to just lean it backwards,  Sister gave it a push, and over I went.

And then I was hanging completely upside down, and the lunch inside of my stomach boldly announced, “Coming up!”  (Or DOWN, as was the case, as I was about to reign barf up my nose and over my eyeballs and forehead, to the carpet below.)  Basically, I feel like I was dumb enough to stand in line for the Zipper at the local carnival, which always has the most insane and drunk ride operator at the entire fair, as well as more junior high kids coolly clutching cigarettes than any other attraction.  And then apparently, after standing in this line, I boarded the Zipper, flipped it backwards, and completely ruined my day.

Which is a lot of words to say, “If this post seems sideways at times and at an entirely new level of confusing, I blame Sister and her back contraption.”  I still haven’t recovered, and I think I walked into two walls this afternoon.

You might ask, “Who can’t hang upside down for sixty seconds in a back-stretching machine?”  The answer would be ME.  Apparently I can’t.  I also can’t use the weed eater without needing a Dramamine, either.

Oh, the motion sickness is strong in this one!

But here we are, on the final journey of the boy’s long-winded birthday marathon from last week, and if you’re tired of seeing all the birthday posts, then you have company.  I think I’m pretty tired of resizing birthday party pictures so that they’ll fit onto your computer screen.  My camera likes to take VERY LARGE photos, which show up as a single eyeball on your computer monitor, unless I resize them all.

Hubs only had to show me how to resize pictures thirteen times a couple of years ago, before I totally nailed that skill.  I like to consider myself a bit of a professional photo resizer now.

It’s a gift.

You’re welcome.

On Friday morning, Ben drove the 70 miles up from Small Ranching Community so that he could move in with us for a couple of days and enjoy the birthday festivities.  Naturally, this made everyone at the Jedi Manor happy, because Ben brings a bucket of Joy and Happy with him wherever he goes.

And then Mam called and asked if anyone would like to go golfing, because she had nothing to do, and she was plum willing to drive a golf cart and work as valet and caddy.  The boy even passed up donuts for breakfast in his haste to get to the golf course, and Ben was game to tag along.  Ben said, “Yep.  I’ll go golfing.  I’m fantastic at miniature golf, but I’ve never done the real thing, and you should try everything once before you die.”

Words to live by, people.

Except I refuse to try bungee jumping or parachuting or a big bowl of cottage cheese before I go to live with Jesus.

These two boys make my heart glow!

The boys had a fabulous time, and Ben announced that while he loves golf, it’s not physical enough for him, so he’ll probably just stick with football and steer wrestling.

When the golfing was complete, the boys came home and spent the entire afternoon building with Legos.  It’s what boys DO at my house, people.

And then, even though the boy and Ben didn’t think it would EVER arrive, it was finally 7:30, which meant YES! and even YAY!  The boy’s birthday party with all of his school friends was ready to start.  We were playing games outside and having an outdoor movie on the lawn.

We had loads of kids in our front yard on Friday night.

We had running games.  And running games.  And also RUNNING GAMES.  I happen to know a couple of good games, because of PE TEACHER.  We brought out the bean bags, and we threw them at one another, and we sat on the fence, committed to jail, when we were smacked.  What’s not to love about that?  Kids will throw bean bags at one another until the cows come home!

Or until someone loses an eye.

Whichever happens first.

And then we played more running games with a pool noodle, because we were all about the PHYSICAL FITNESS.

(Because I had every intention of feeding all the kids cake later.  And ice cream.  And also M&Ms.)

Before the party, I bought thirty-six bottles of water, and I stuffed them into a cooler with ice.

When we were done playing games, every bottle of water was plum-dang empty, and the kids were running inside to refill them.  Apparently I underestimated our hydration needs.

(Note to self:  One hundred and eight water bottles should have covered it.)

When the kids were dripping with sweat and out of breath, and after they’d all poured water over their heads to cool down, we all  joined our voices — both great and horribly off-key — to sing Happy Birthday to the boy.

Then we had sugar for bursts of short-lived energy.

Ben sang to the boy in the best baritone I have heard in a long time.  He sang loudly, and ended up performing a solo in the end.  I honestly wish the kid wasn’t so shy!

(That was called sarcasm.  Because Ben is the total opposite of shy.)

(I bought the cake from the bakery.)

(I’m sure y’all expected nothing less out of me.)

(That’s part of our retaining wall up there.  Which, did I mention?  DONE!  Now we just need to landscape it with foliage and cute little flowers for the deer to eat.)

(We are all about unintentionally feeding the deer around here, because they are bent on eating my bushes and flowers.)

(I used to love deer.)

(Now I could probably jab Bambi’s mother’s eyeballs out myself.)

(The Great Retaining Wall provides good seating for late-night cake eating.)

And also?  Well, there are always a couple of funny guys in the group!

And then there were presents, which made the boy happy.

Presents will do that to a kid.

And then we started the outdoor movie on the side of our garage at 9:15.  The kids all sat down in the grass with plastic cups full of M&Ms.  Hubs hung a sheet on the garage and set up the projector on a table, because he was our certified Technology Adviser on Friday night.

And then at 9:21 it started to rain.

RAIN.

Because yes.  Small Town, USA is currently in the middle of the worst drought in the history of the nation, and we haven’t seen rain since the days of Noah.  But six minutes after we started our movie OUTSIDE, the heavens opened up…

…and it poured.

And poured some more.

So we moved eighteen kids into our family room.  We grabbed electronic equipment and party supplies and gifts and shoes and socks and sweatshirts and leftover cake, and we threw it all into the family room in one giant hurry.

And because of that, I’ll trust y’all not to judge THE CLEANLINESS of my family room.

A week before his party, the boy pushed for Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, or even The Dark Knight for an under-the-stars movie.  Hubs and I exercised our parental right to veto, and WE picked Despicable Me.

It’s because Despicable Me NEVER! GETS! OLD!, and because we had some younger brothers at the party who would have turned tail and run after catching one good look at  Gollum.

(It’s what I do when I see Gollum, because UGH.)

As it turned out, eighteen kids sat like well-behaved angels in my house and laughed out loud at the movie.  I think it’s because I plum-done wore them out with all the running, and none of them had any energy reserves left to move with.

Win!

And also?

Our family room smelled like wet socks, because no one seemed to have their shoes on when the RAIN! RAIN! RAIN! set in.

For the record, the smell of wet socks is not my favorite scent to breathe up my nose.

By 11:15, all of our party goers were gone, save for Ben.  He lives 70 miles away, and there wasn’t anyone who wanted to drive him home in the middle of the night.  Ben and the boy threw sleeping bags onto our family room floor, and Hubs and I kicked back and said, “BIRTHDAY PARTY MARATHON OF 2012 HAS WRAPPED ITSELF UP!”  And then we sighed with relief.

But really?

We ended up taking the boy to see the third Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie at the theater with our friends, Gabe and Jodi and their kids, on Saturday afternoon, and THEN the boy said, “My birthday is OVER.”

And he was a wee bit sad, because wow!  Who on earth can keep a party going as long as we did?

Thinking back, maybe it wasn’t Sister’s death-defying back machine that spun me crazy dead dizzy today; maybe it’s a full-on, light-me-up, party hangover.

Y’all have a great Tuesday night.

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