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That's not very funny, you know


Several weeks ago I custom made my daughters' birthday party invitations because---despite ample shopping endeavors---we could not find the exact ones that met Patience's specifications. If you'll recall, this is also the child who drew a detailed schematic for the cake, which she handed off to the cake designer. Luckily, my crazy cool Photoshop skills allowed me to create the Just Right invitation. When I sent the image to the printer, I had to select quantity. I dithered over 10 or 20 and asked my husband for input. I think I may have mentioned this but he suggested 50 (!!!) because we needed to be inclusionary.

I gasped at 50 (!!!) and asked who we knew that well. He started listing and sure enough, he had in mind a large group of children. I about cried. He asked what I had I mind and I said maybe 10. He more or less accused me of being snobbish and exclusionary. He reminded me the school encouraged us to include every child for birthday parties and thus far every party had (and you can imagine how well that argument went over...oh the school said, oh the school tells me my morals now...)

I argued against a big crowd: money, chaos, Julie's hair all falling out.

"I can't do this all by myself," I said, "That's too many kids and you know parents will drop their kids and run like it's free babysitting. Especially this time of year when they'll think, 'HA! Shopping time!' I can't handle that many kids!"

He said, "What's this 'I' you keep saying? Aren't we a we?"

And I, cruel yet honest woman that I am, laughed. "Yeah sure! It'll be the two of us fairly and evenly distributing the work load and supervising the kids. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!"

He was offended.

I had chapped my husband's hide and proved myself snobbish and exclusionary.

Guess who lost?

That's right: me.

Believe it or not, the Kind and Generous person won the round. So I ordered 50. And duly sent them out to Every Single Child Patience Ever Sees God Help Me.


The party is nearly upon us and I am streeeetched to my limit trying to plan and manage Big Honking Party, Christmas, and plans every single day of the week. Husband's contribution thus far:

That's right. Blank.

I think he grunted (in approval?) at the party favors (little 'color your own' 2008 calendars and crayon sets).

So you can imagine how well I took it when this happened:

Husband: Hon. I need to tell you something.

Me: You are NOT backing out of this party.

Husband (with surprise): How did you know it had to do with the party?

Me: The dire tone. You know your ass is about to get kicked and your tone is very dire. The most likely thing for me to get that upset about is the party.

Husband: Well it's out of my control. The weather has delayed the foundation and they have the cement mixer scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They planned to pour the concrete starting at 4 a.m. Saturday. If I have to go, I'm sure I'll be back in time for the party.

(Please note that the project is out of town. And my husband is a Big Appeaser.)

Me: (No words, thoughts not publishable)

Husband: Ummm I can probably see if my boss can go instead. But his wife is starting to ask him to get some shore leave, too.

Flash party...feeling fine with my wine and hot new outfit...

Husband's boss: So, I hear we have a scheduling conflict on Saturday.

Me: No conflict. Husband has a family obligation.

Husband's boss: So do I and I promised my wife I'd spend my weekends at home.

Me: Do you have 75 children coming to your house, all under 7?

Husband's boss: No, just my own kids.

Me: I'm all full of sympathy, really I am. I know you guys work hard. But a job can only fire him. I can kill him. And I will. This birthday party was all his idea.

Husband's boss: Well it's at 4 a.m.

Me: Yes, and he needs to receive and supervise construction of the jumpy thing and pick up the cakes and balloons. I bet if you drive fast you can be home before your wife wakes up.

Husband's boss: All right. But we keep this between us. I can have way too much fun with your husband all week about it.

Me: So long as we are clear, it's straight between us...he's so not going to be there. He's mine this Saturday.

Husband's boss: Aye aye.

At least this round goes to the Heartless person in the marriage. Kind and Generous comes through again making us flat even:

Me (aka Heartless) --- 1
Him (aka Kind and Generous) --- 1

And the rest of what made me eat more chocolate than I should have this weekend? Falls into the "not fit for print" category. So if I'm a little stressed seeming (aka preachy and ranty) you'll all understand, right? Anyway I already vented to my husband last night who laughed. Apparently my rendition and imitations are fairly is my outrage.

I'm so glad one of us finds this funny.


Lotta. I need Lotta and our support group.

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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Christie said…
Oh my. I can't imagine trying to organize a party like that. Good for you for talking to his boss yourself! I'm totally impressed.
atypical said…
Gosh, and I stress like that over 15-20 invitations. There is something to be said about homeschooling. ;)

No, not funny at all. And you know, I can relate to the "Blank" part even if my husband isn't an architect (though his job title once had the words "web architect" in it for some reason).

-me (spending all of my time commenting instead of writing an actual blog post)
S said…
good lord, woman. if i invite more than ten children to anything, i break out in a sweat.

exclusionary? no.

sanity-preserving? absolutely.

your husband made the bed. now he must lie in it.
Emily said…
We had a similar problem on a smaller scale and ended up with 20 at a 3 year old's party. Fortunately, my husband knew that, after leaving the 2nd b-day party early, I would kick his backside if he didn't help out.

I sort of wish the schools had a policy that said you could bring in cupcakes but you could NOT have an at home party at which you invite any school kids. Then, you could just have a party with outside school friends...
Julie Pippert said…
Marie, as it happens his boss approached me about it, probably to see how close to postal I actually am. Seeing as how I am about a 9 on a scale of 10 (10 being postal) he wisely decided my husband stood to lose the most. I know his wife a little too and I think she'll understand, this time. So he is generously going.

BTW, I should have clarified that wasn't a misplaced apostrophe in the first paragraph, although I don't mention Persistence here; it is a party for both girls.

I am culpable for the idea to share the party for both girls.

In my defense, it is logical: Persistence's friends are by and large the younger siblings of Patience's friends or my friends kids. All of whom would be invite to both birthday parties, which could only be one week apart at most, anyway.

So I said, this time of year? Just make it one party.

When I decided that, I was thinking to only invite our good friends. Like 10.

Mr. Nice then upped the ante.

Atypical, it's not just school. It's neighbors, friends, soccer, girl scouts and so on. I like these people, I do. They are all nice and I will be glad to see them, just maybe not so much en masse LOL.

SM, I am so far past breaking out in a sweat it's not even funny. And I have The Queen of Perfection to contend with, too.

I count this party as a future natural consequence. I think he will see the cost and chaos and wife losing her noodle and decide Snobbish and Exclusionary is Just Fine.

Emily, I wouldn't want to *have to* exclude school friends any more that I want to *have to* include every child in the class. But yes, sometimes? I wish we could just manage disappointment and not have to be so PC. Trust me, I know it's tough when it's your kid. I do.

But on some level, isn't it a sort of case of *knowing* versus *friends?* Just because I know someone doesn't mean I need an invitation.

Someone I know had an grown-up birthday party this weekend and I knew about it (first-hand) but my knickers did not even wrinkle much less twist over the fact that I wasn't invited. We're acquaintances. That doesn't make her owe me an invitation.

Well anyway I know most people don't think that way...or maybe more do than I realize.
Julie -- good luck! Really. You need it. I'm with you in spirit.

alejna said…
Wow. That sounds truly daunting. I'm so glad you didn't let your husband off the hook, it being his idea to invite the hordes.

I wish you smooth sailing, or smooth whatever it is that people do at humongous children's parties.

collecting tokens
Mary Jo Koch said…
I admit it would never occur to me to invite every child in the class. We didn't have such crazy expectations back in the old days 20-30 years ago. We never managed to follow the then standard advice to invite one child for each year of the birthday child's age. But 12 was our maximum. I was thankful when they were old enough for sleepover birthday parties, because then 7 or 8 became the acceptable number of kids.

Good luck. You are braver than I ever was.
Not laughing at you but with you b/c the post was funny, in that I can so relate!! My husband is always concerned with including and I am all about low-stress, keep it simple. And he tends to cancel out on me just like your dear hubby!! My husband is a fabulous cook and will suggest big dinner parties, when I hedge, he says "but I do all the cooking, what's the big deal?" Um, what about buying the food, figuring out where everyone will sit and all the cleaning up b/f and after. Does he do these things. NO!!!

As for excluding, I just refuse to buy into it. B/c Scott can't handle too many people I just don't feel badly in THE SLIGHTEST! And if he (or we) don't get invited to someone else's gig I am grateful for one less thing I must do!

I feel your pain.
Good luck with all that. We let each of our kids invite their kindergarten class (about 25 kids) but that was the only time they were allowed a "group" party. After that we aimed for 1 kid per the birthday kid's age, which has always worked out fairly well.

I'm quite sure this will be your last party with more than 10 kids ;-)
Gina Pintar said…
Did I read correctly that your husband's boss promised his wife that HE would not work on the weekends but it was ok for YOUR husband to work? WHAT?! If that is true. WOW.

Glad he was able to attend the party. I hope he saw the chaios and mass hysteria that is a BIG party and said to you "YOU - WERE - RIGHT!" Ah sweet 3 words.

I was in a "on my way to Disney vacation stupor" when I invited 32 kids to my daughter's 4 yo party. Thank goodness we only had 21 attend. It was a great party but NEVER AGAIN.

I think it was fine at this age to do a joint party. You only get away with that for so long. Take advantage while you still can!
Unknown said…
I used to think that whole 4 friends to 'sa 4 yr old's party and 7 to a 7year old's party thing was dumb.. now, I'm not so sure.
If we have more than a handful then we do it where there are pros to help- like the pool with lifeguards or partyplace with trained and well tipped helpers. I always do it on a weekday when Hubby is at work- and wserve lots of wine which encourages the moms to stay...
good luck, looking forward to pix
Anonymous said…
I'd (want to) kill him anyway. We're having a work party here in two weeks and I'm already worrying about what I'll say to the boss once I've had a cup or two of "cheer."

As far as future parties go, I should send you my husband's phone number and you can consult with him. I was thinking about having a party over Christmas Break for the Kindergarteners, because, in my mind, a week at home gets too long and maybe they'd like to see each other and blow off steam. Husband says, "Are you nuts?"

He just wants me to conserve energy for our anniversary.
Emily said…
AAAHHH! I have broken out in hives just reading this post.

Seventy-five? As in 7 - 5?

How are you able to sit and write? I don't think you were heartless, at all. Completely reasonable. I think you could have lost your head a little more, actually.

Good luck!
NotSoSage said…
Luckily, I am the overly generous one while I can barely convince the hubs that his family deserves presents for Christmas (okay, deserves might be too strong a word...).

I am sending lots of sanity vibes your way (the few I can spare).
the dragonfly said…
Oh my goodness. I cannot even imagine. I get stressed when I'm planning a get together with a few of the neighbors...
See this is why I'm a fan of Jump N Jungle. You show up...drunk...and they do all the work. Did I mention the drunk part?

Maybe I'll have an emergency and you'll have to leave the party to come to my house for drinks?
Did you really say that to husband's boss? YOU ROCK! Good for you for drawing your lines in the sand indeed.
Kat said…
Wow. I can't imagine having that many children over for a party. Screw that! That is insane! The hubby's ass would surely be grass.
Cheers to you! You are a brave woman. And very kind for not having offed your hubby immediately.
Julie Pippert said…
I must have all been validating (thank you) by agreeing with me that 10 children is more than enough (aren't there state guidelines for proportion of adults to children anyway, like 3:1?).

You have all been stressful too, reminding me I am NUTS and this is CRAZY. ;) LOL

Trying to recall questions:

1. Yes, I did in fact really have more or less that conversation with my husband's boss (it's not verbatim, that was a few nights ago and a few cocktails in to the evening).

If he heartily disagrees with the conversation as I reported it, he can comment here.

2. Yes, my husband's coworkers know about my blog. They found me. I believe it happened during the raccoon incident (the first one) so some time back.

3. My husband's bosses are pretty great people, actually, aside from, you know, being architects. But you just can't help who you are by nature, you know? I have always liked this company, which tries really hard to not completely work you to death, and at least when they do, they feel sorry about it. And if their teams are working, they are too.

4. I am not 100% sure how many children will actually appear. The vast majority are bringing siblings per the RSVPs.

5. I am sure it will be fun and seem like a good time once the party gets started. My Type A stress is my coping mechanism and motivation to ensure it goes off nicely.

Linda (and Mary Joan) I think the rule of thumb of number of kids per age is a pretty decent one. I don't think it needs to be exactly so, but it's a good guideline. I've more or less followed it.

Until now.

SB you should probably bow down and kiss your hubby's feet for being the voice of reason, but I must say, that sounds like a cute little idea. Maybe a potluck at the park!

Lori, my cosmic sister. What can I say. LOL You DO understand. :)

Jeff, from your lips to my husband's ears. :)

Jenny here's what we guys come late and with the cocktails...we'll put Hayley, the Tars, my kids and Flavia's kids in the jumper and the grownups can sip mommy juice. ;)
Gwen said…
Holy hell, you are C-R-A-Z-Y. Because not only does 50 bajiggety kids mean 50 bajiggety messes and stresses, it means 50 bajiggety gifts ... and right before Christmas. 50. 50?!? Holy fuck.

Sending ummm ... yeah, something your way.
Kate said…
I'm sorry. Your husband suggested inviting FIFTY kids?!?! And you end up with SEVENTY-FIVE saying they'll come?!?!

I will coldly and boldly say you were insane to agree, in the first place.


And your husband is insane enough to suggest he wouldn't show up?!

And he's not dead? Or divorced?

Man, is he lucky.

Oh, MAN, is he lucky.
Kyla said…
I love you for this. I'm floored at the sort of women who actually let their husbands out of this kind of thing, so whenever someone steps in to be Heartless like me, I cheer a little inside.

I am so in for the post-party-party. LOL. ;)

50 KIDS?!? HOLY MOTHER. Really, you, HOLY MOTHER. :) You deserve some sort of sainthood for that.
Liv said…
Dude. You have seriously got the heat bringing. I mean, I feel you, but I would have never had the balls to say something like that to my husband's boss. You know, southern upbringing and all...
Mary Alice said…
The idea of fifty kids makes my blood run cold. This is what party managers are for. People do this for a living. Not that I could ever afford their services, but still. 50. shudder. I can not tell you how many times my husband has promised unending assistance and then the military calls. That always trumps the wife. I finally got wise and just nod sweetly when he promises…then I go right on ahead and make my plans like he won’t be there. That way if he actually is, I can be delighted.
jeanie said…
On my daughter's 4th birthday party I had 25 children, 50 adults a clown - and no partner. I don't remember anything of her great day.

On my daughter's 5th birthday, were were going to a park for cake and playtime with 10 friends - it rained, at my house, became a party. I still had no partner. I don't remember anything of her great day.

On my daughter's 6th birthday, repeat the 5th birthday scenario.

On my daughter's 7th birthday, we had 2 parties of 20 (old school friends) and 10 (new school acquaintances) as we had just moved and she was very sad. I had a new partner and he got roped in to both.

On her recent 8th birthday, she invited 2 friends to go shopping. Partner bailed.

I really feel for you, and next time he has such a great idea, division of labour = you organise (you would anyway) and he stress on the day (if you can load shed).

I bet next year will be quiet!
Jen said…
Your conversation with your husband's boss was hot. You are amazing!

And that is way too many kids. Exclusionary sounds pretty good to me!
After reading "50 children" I'm torn between hyperventilating or polishing off this here glass of wine.


Way to work the bossman, baby! If they try to send Hubs out of town on Christmas Day (AGAIN!), I'll be coming to you for advice in boss-managing.
Melissa said…

That's the sound of my chin hitting the floor.

Spouse does crap like that to me all the time. He's about to do it to me with a Christmas party for our friends. He's going to want to invite a boatload of people, and then something will come up and I'll have to do it all. Again.

Exclusionary? Hello? Try realistic! Not everyone can do everything!

Hang in there. Maybe he'll see the folly of his ways.
Lawyer Mama said…
Dude, your husband has balls trying to back out of that. But then so do you for standing up to his boss.

Babe, I think KC needs your help. They're sending her husband to Iraq. Do you think you could go tell GWB it ain't happening?
Ally said…
You are totally my hero, the way that you talked to your husband's boss. Seriously, you rock.

And what's with the new we-have-to-include-everyone rule? Is the school trying to make moms crazy? Oy!
Julie @ Letter9 said…
My mom's rule was as many kids as I was turning old. If I turned 8, I could have 8 kids.

Excellent rule.

Angela said…
Husbands just have no idea what it takes to run a party! We had 21 kids for Adam's 6th last year but at it was still warm enough for them to play outside in November. Even if they do what they think is half the work, it is really only like a quarter. They don't really care what the cake looks like, what the inventory count on all the goody bags contents are (I have 9 foam airplanes and 12 monster mini-skateboards left among others) or even what activities should be planned. The rule of 1 kid per year of age is pretty hard to follow, but we actually ended up with 7 for Adam's 7th and it was perfect, especially since it rained.
Lisa said…
Hey, is there a club for widows of consulting engineer husbands?

My husband would SO be the one to make me feel like shit because I only wanted to invite a few kids. So then I'd finally back down and invite a ton of kids. Then he'd back out on FRIDAY night, tell me its for work and then I'd be stuck. Later, he'd tell his friends about the party WE planned and make himself sound like he was all involved and father of the flipping year. And years down the road, I'd accidentally find out that he didn't really have to be at work that fateful day. That he was at the office but he was really surfing the net and hiding out because he just didn't want to be at the party. (Yeah, its probably why I rarely mention him on my site. If you can't say something nice....)
Michele said…
Wow you are totally amazing to invite 50 kids under the age of 7 to your house for a party. I can't wait to hear how it goes. Good luck and may the force be with you.

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