HELL: an extremely unpleasant and often inescapable situation
What on earth makes people so fertile in August? Is it the skimpy clothes? Drinks by the pool? Forgetting to pack pajamas in their vacation suitcases? Whatever the reason, there seem to be a lot of babies born nine months later.
There is a birthday party (sometimes two!) on our calendar every weekend this month.
I consider myself a bit of a birthday party connoisseur. I have tasted cakes and cupcakes from dozens of ovens and bakeries, admired a variety of invitation and décor themes, and pawed through the contents of countless goody bags. But, for me, all those party particulars are secondary to the most important feature: Location, location, location!
I’m a city girl. I like my city neighborhood. The best locations are those I can walk to. Second best are those I can drive to and still have hot coffee to sip when I arrive. Far, far down the list are locations that require me to use a freeway or Google maps.
This month’s party locations vary widely: some are at the neighborhood park, some are at private homes, two are in my own personal hell.*
I’ve adapted to the world of Evites and no longer launch into a monologue about the merits of real invitations every time I see one in my inbox. But, there is one particular brand of Evite that brings tears to my eyes and a scream to my throat. It’s an Evite that reminds you of an old-fashioned invitation by showing you an image of an envelope…only where the wax seal should be there is a logo from “Pump It Up.” Click on the logo and you will be directed to the party details, a waiver form, and the necessary Google map driving instructions.
Pump It Up claims to offer parties that combine imagination and inflatables to create “the most exciting party your child has ever had.” It promises to be stress-free and easy.
I see things differently.
Pump It Up is a warehouse in suburbia filled with inflatables. Don’t forget socks – they are required and priced like Disneyland ponchos on a rainy day. You must stay because the facility is too far from your house to make it home and back before the end of the party. Unless you need your license renewed at the nearby Department of Licensing, there aren’t many “kill time” destinations in the vicinity.
Your child will add his/her germs and sweat to the surfaces of said inflatables in exchange for the germs and sweat of his/her classmates. Your child will jump and slide and frolic joyfully while you try to get the kinks out of your back and shoulders from the 45-minute drive. You will do your best to converse with the other parents over the blare of pop music.
Your child will be ushered from the germ and sweat room to the food room. Hand washing will not be required or encouraged. Bring your own Purell. You will snack on vegetables provided by the birthday kid’s mom while your child shuns red peppers and carrots in favor of a juice box and birthday frosting (cake optional).
You will buckle your satisfied and sweaty child into his/her booster seat and spend the 45-minute drive home trying to get Katy Perry’s “Firework” out of your head. Once there, you will wash your hands thoroughly and try to forget that you just lost four hours of a sunny Seattle Saturday to a warehouse in Lynnwood. You will check your email while you decide how to salvage the day.
You will see another Pump It Up invitation in your inbox. You will cry.
* NOTE: Son and Daughter do not endorse (or share) the opinions expressed in this post. They love this place. Someday, they will ask to have a party there. I will refuse. They will think I’m a bad mom. I can live with that.