birthday parties & snail huntin'


the great snail hunt, originally uploaded by mo jackson.

i always wanted to be a mother and high up on the list of things i was lookin forward to doin, along with all the really important ones, was celebratin birthdays with elaborate creative parties each and every year.

i must say in the beginning i had the best ol time making the plans and creating the mutli-part invites by hand and going overboard with the decided upon theme and creatin party favors that would make it into the party favor hall of fame if one existed. and i was lucky that mini's dad just kept forkin over more dough for all the things i came up with to make sure mini mo had the best birthdays ever and would always remember with fondness how much we adored her and wanted her big day to be really special. and of course all the good photo ops created to have for lookin thru later in her life.

but i realized pretty early on this birthday party throwing can become overwhelmin. the problem is, whatever you do one year, you are expected - even if it's yourself doin the expectin - to do even better the next year. i achieved this silly goal for the most part.

we had an incredible farm party with a cajun band and just about every kind of farm animal imaginable in attendance. it went off without a hitch except that the goats ate all the flowers in all the flowers beds and the valet parkin guy left with most of the guests car keys so we had to pay to have the cars opened and new keys made.

then there was the really fancy tea party catered by the la-tee-da caterer but because they forgot to bring the ice i had to go get some and missed mini being suprised when snow white and all seven dwarfs arrived. i missed most of the circus party too - i was actually in attendance but don't really remember it much cause the man that would turn into a clown set his bag full of clown stuff down right behind me and when i turned to show him where he could go to turn into a clown, i tripped over the bag and injured myself so bad i had to take some pain relievin potion just to be able to move so it was just all a big blur. i hear it was a great party though.

even the parents enjoyed the party that the rock climbin man actually brought the big fake rock thing all the way up our long driveway so all the kids and parents could scale up and down over and over. but it was a bad day for mini's daddy's prized grass. see, even though the rock providin man had come a month earlier, just to make sure he could get the mountain in where it needed to be and then out again, it ended up the only way that fool could leave with the mountain was to drive his enormous truck and the whole mountain right down the middle of the beloved golf course like lawn. i think i would have understood mini's dad filin for a divorce that very night and tho he didn't i still hear about that truck draggin the mountain thru his grass from time to time.

the most memorable one for me was the year mini's weener dog betty turned one (she was actually born on the same day as mini) and mini wanted everyone to bring their dogs to the party with them - sort of a BYOD. mini's dad arranged for a whole dog circus to come and perform in the back yard. problem was the dog man got the time wrong and by the time he got here he had to set up the dog circus tent on the sloped front lawn (fixed since the mountain was pulled through it).

the tilt made it real difficult for the dog man and all the dogs to perform their tricks correctly. mini's dad finally had to tell him he could stop torturing the lil canines when the well-dressed poodles tried to stand on top of each other until there was a stack of about six of em on top of a unicycle and then the bottom one was supposed to take em all for a ride. they lost control and almost ended up in the street way down below where there was a big traffic jam of cars stopping to watch the whole crooked dog event.

of course the kids thought it was all part of the act - the dog man and his lil dressed up poodles flying hither and yon to the circus organ music but me knowin differently found the whole thing quite painful to watch even though the 70 somethin year old dog man in his one piece shiny blue spandex jumpsuit kept saying 'but the show must go on!'. last thing i wanted to happen was mini and all her friends being traumatized for life by seeing a bunch of pink skirted poodles and their master getting killed in some horrible trapeze accident because the slope made all of em miss their mark. it was surprisin though that all the dogs got along and the only fight that took place was between two of the moms.

before i knew it another year had passed and it was time to start plannin another birthday party. i have to admit i was dreadin hearin what mini had dreamed up for this year's celebration. you can imagine how thankful i was when mini asked if my feelins would be hurt if instead of having to come up with a big party for me to have (is that what she thought we were doing all that time!) if she just invited a few friends over for a slumber party. well, this was just what i had been hopin and dreamin for. she wanted to just order pizzas and swim and build a tent with blankets in the playroom and watch movies and do some' fun stuff'. i was beside myself with joy!

the big day arrived and it was so nice to enjoy spendin the day with mini instead of workin like a horse to get ready for a big ol party. i felt good about the whole thing until about an hour after the glrls arrived. they were bored with the swimming and asked me what fun thing i had planned for them to do since i was their favorite mom and they always looked forward to coming to our house because i had the best ideas in the whole wide world. ahhhhhh! i didn't dare tell them the plan i plan was to dial the number to the pizza delivery place and plop their pizzas down in front of em to eat while they sat under the blanket tent and watched a movie. i guess all that flattery just wouldn't allow me to tell em that was all there i said - well - it's real exciting - and i ran in the house without a clue as to what i would come back out with.

and that's what led up to my best birthday party activity idea in the history of me bein a mother and one that many people are still copying for their own parties. i gave the girls some little buckets i had been keeping art supplies in and had them write their name on the bottom with a sharpie. then they each got a flashlight and a pair of clean garden gloves and i told em we were going on a snail hunt.

for the next four hours we traveled all over the property gathering every single snail we could find - and there were hundreds of em. they had been making my gardening life a misery ever since i caught mean bob from next door pitching a big ol jar of em over the fence onto my side....who knows how many times he had done this before i caught him but for the last three years the slimy guys had been eating everything i planted. they were quick and ruthless. i once spent a whole day planting and the next morning it was as if they backed up a u-haul and moved the whole flower bed to another location. we tried everything to run em off that wouldn't kill our pets. the thing that worked best was putting out the beer for them to be attracted to but our weener wilma was attracted to it too and was becomin an alcoholic so we had to stop that technique.

i haven't seen a snail since that birthday which delights me but is sure disappointin when the kids ask if we can have another big snail hunt. too bad they can't catch squirrels or other creepy critters with just a bucket, flashlight and gloves. i'd sure be settin that up for the comin birthday.looks like mini has many things planned for her thirteenth birthday next week and none of them involve animals or fake mountains or party favors or invitations or really anything for me to do except maybe hand over the credit card. while i am relieved not to be trying to entertain a hundred or so people better than i did the year before, i must admit i to missin it some. i'm realizing it's an awful good thing i have the un-dog and the doo dads to keep me busy cause the body snatcher is needing less and less of me these days.

it's not that i'm exactly having a big ol pity party for myself in place of a big ol birthday party for mini but i do think there should be as many classes and books offered for moms concernin this change of life as there are when you're gonna have a baby or that other change that sounds almost as unpleasant as this one maybe but just not so sudden in comin on. like - why isn't there a 'what to expect when you're expectin...that baby to turn into a pre-teen". there's all sorts of books about kids that are talkin back or misbehavin....i can't find a single one written that involves a good kid just gettin older and more independent but where the mother is misbehhavin because she just isn't ready for it yet. is it possible that there aren't enough of us odd ones to bother helpin? and another thing i can't find is any help with the pros and cons of all this new fangled computer stuff mini wants to instant messages and live journnals and something called my space. my excuse that oprah said it was a bad idea is starting to run a little thin and i need some help. maybe if i make it to the other side of it all i'll write that book myself - the one for the odd mothers as i can't be the only one that doesn't fit the normal description...could i?

well...i'm sure you're gettin tired of me complainin about the body snatcher and all the critter problems - altho i'm hopin one of you out there can benefit from having a big ol snail hunt! want you to know all the doo dads that were ordered before this week have been mailed so if yours didn't arrive yet and you haven't been chattin with us already (and you weren't one of the handful i emailed confessing to finding your stamped and ready to go package had somehow made it under the shabby couch), please email us so we can look into why they haven't arrived yet. we have worried ourselves silly just knowing we couldn't possible have sent so many doo dads in so many directions to so many people without making SOME mistake. we sure are lookin forward to you being able to download your doo dads right after you discover them and have to thank you again for the patience you have extended to me and jo over the last month. you won't be asked to use any when we're done with our site chores and are hoping to reward all of you who had to this past month!

before i go....i wanted to thank you all for sending me your "dorothy's kitchen" art - it's been amazin. dorothy has been having a time with her vision the last few years and hasn't seen the art or your work yet but her daughter margaret is going to be visitin' her this weekend and is going to make everything i send her big enough for dorothy to see and she will be delighted to see her name sake is getting lots of use! thank you for stopping by again!