A local skating rink sets up a dozen or so inflatable bounce houses, or moonwalks, or whatever you choose to call them. And the things are huge. One is probably two stories tall, and features a so-called slide that sends kids hurtling end-over-end in a terrifying free-fall. Yeah, it’s a slide like jumping off a bridge is a slide…
So, that’s where we (Toney) opted to hold this extravaganza, and I must admit, it wasn’t bad. I was braced for the worst, but got something a little better than that.
The ten or twelve hooligans wore themselves down to a smoldering nub, atop and inside the inflatable compound fracture chambers. So, by the time we had real interaction with them, they were sapped of most of their maniacal energy. It worked out well for everyone.
For fifteen dollars a head the kids got to play for an hour, and we had a “party room” for an additional sixty minutes. There, the younglings were served pizza, chips, and soda by the staff. We brought a cake (the only outside food allowed), and gift bags for everyone. It went remarkably well.
A few observations, however…
The party rooms are nondescript cinderblock affairs, and they tried to dress them up by splattering paint all over the walls, and hanging streamers from the ceilings. And the splattered paint, which was mostly red, made it look like a family had been hatcheted-up in there; it was like the scene of a grisly murder.
And the cheese on that “pizza” adhered to my teeth like Super Glue. I’d never encountered such a thing. I asked Toney if she was having the same problem, and she couldn’t answer because she was struggling like a cocker spaniel with a Kraft caramel. I don’t know what kind of cheese that was, but have a feeling it was created in a laboratory somewhere. Probably New Jersey.
One kid gave the Secret a card with a gift certificate inside, and had drawn a bunch of stuff on the envelope. I pointed at a confusing rendering of an animal, and asked if it was a turkey or a chicken. And he said, “It’s a turkey, dummy. Can’t you see the gobble?”
Dummy?! I didn’t much care for that. And what the hell’s a gobble?
The whole place felt like one gigantic petri dish to me. I worry that I’m slowly turning into one of those freaky germophobes, who open doors with handkerchiefs, and perform complicated jujitsu moves in order to flush urinals with their feet. But I can’t help it. It’s a new paranoia coming into bloom.
Plus, the older Secret jumped the gun and handed out gift bags before we’d intended. Among other things there was a rubber ball inside each of them, and we didn’t want the kids playing with them until they were outside our jurisdiction. But, because somebody couldn’t follow the rules, projectiles were sailing through the air for the last ten minutes, and one ended up inside a pitcher of Sprite. Good times.
But overall, it turned out to be one of the better such parties we’ve experienced. Oh, we’ve hosted a few full-on fiascos in the past… I highly recommend the concept of wearing everyone out, before sitting down for cake. I really do.
Afterwards, the four of us went to Ret Lopster for dinner. The birthday boy was allowed to choose the restaurant, and he likes to deconstruct crab legs with tools.
As usual, I had the New York strip, since I don’t really care for crustaceans and creatures from the ocean floor… But this time it had a ribbon of fat running through it. It’s the first time I’ve had anything other than an excellent steak there; they’re usually shockingly good.
Also, I had a Sam Adams Winter Lager, and it wasn’t as kick-ass as I remember it from last year. It was only OK, instead of outstanding.
I didn’t say it out loud, but it seemed like everything was mildly disappointing during that meal. And I’m glad I kept it to myself, because everyone else seemed perfectly happy.
A few observations, however…
There was a party seated near us that featured a pair of breathtakingly ugly women. One had a white streak running through the middle of her hair, like a skunk, and was apparently wearing some sort of radical lift-bra. Her cleavage was riding high and exploding out the top of her shirt. Toney said it looked like she had them sitting on a shelf, and that pretty much sums it up.
I guess she was trying to compensate for the fact she had a face like former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill? I just don’t know.
Behind them was another large party, with an older gentleman at the head of the table. And at one point the old guy slammed down his knife and fork, and yelled, “So what did I do now?! What did I do wrong this time?!?” He was screaming it, and caused the whole place to go silent.
Everybody else at the table shushed him, and he reared his head way back and shouted, “Jeeeesus Christ!” But I think they got him under control after that; there were no more outbursts.
And while we were leaving we walked past the hostess stand in the front of the restaurant. Several employees, all apparently teenagers, were standing there talking. When we passed by, one of them said, “…and he was totally wearing tighty-whities. I was so embarrassed!”
Yeah, I have no idea… We just went home, opened up a cuppa two tree Magic Hat Hocus Pocus ales, and gave thanks for it being over. The Secret had a good day, I think, and we walked away unscathed. Somewhat poorer, but unharmed.
And that’s a triumph, my friends.