So I collected gourds and pumpkins and potted mums for a few weeks before the party. Because how cute is a pumpkin patch birthday party for a one-year-old boy who lacks the vocabulary to protest? SO CUTE.
We would pile the kids into the pumpkin patch, snap a hundred frame-worthy photos, and enjoy the beauty of an October afternoon with bowls of chili in our hands.
Which means it rained, of course. Not only did it rain, but the weather service forecast a widespread outbreak of super-double severe weather full of hail and wind and even a naughty tornado or two.
The hourly forecast called for a 100% chance of rain at 4PM. Our party began at 4:30.
The straw bales and pumpkins and mums would just have to come inside, that was all there was to it.
And indoors, everything went beautifully (more on that soon). The kids climbed on the bales and sat on the pumpkins and refused their chili just as if they had, indeed, been in the great outdoors. Sure, our sunroom smelled a bit like a barn, but the party was fun, the cake turned out adorable (...soon), and our baby boy was a sweetheart of a one-year old.
We collapsed that night, Justin from having too many chores required of him, I from obsessing about how to make the house look clean when it's usually so very not clean, and the kids from the combination of party-high and sugar-coma.
Oh, and the severe weather missed us altogether. Too many people crying wolf turns the wolf into a kitten, I guess.
And one thing led to another and suddenly it was Monday night and we still looked like we'd just hosted a party. The house was still quite a disaster, only now it had the added benefit of being strewn with bits of straw that had escaped from the confines of the sunroom. I told myself I'd clean it all up soon. Which is what I always tell myself, right before I get distracted.
Do you know what makes for a good distraction?
You probably already know how I feel about the arachnid family. And I should also tell you that if you are as big of a freak about spiders as I am, there is no reason to ever bring a straw bale into your home, even if they will only be used for one day (which turns into three...) in a closed-off sunroom. Because grass spiders are exploratory by nature (one would assume) and can creep under closed doors to terrify the lady of the house.
I stood in the kitchen with Justin's size 12 Converse sneaker in one hand and a phone book in the other hand, trying to talk myself into smashing one giant grass spider. Those things are fast, you know? Mia encouraged me, though.
"I can do this....okay....here I go...I can do this...I can do this, right?"
"RIGHT!" she said. "You can do this, mama!"
Then, before I could pee my pants, I threw the shoe and squeezed my eyes shut. Somehow, my aim was true. And that was that. I even updated the United States of Facebook, because they needed to know:
But where there is one grass spider, there are probably more, especially where straw bales are involved. While Justin worked late last night, another beastly, hairy spider came looking for me. The closest available weapon was a can of WD-40.
I used it.
But I had the heebie-jeebies all night. I called Justin and begged for him to come home and remove the straw bales, no matter that it was almost 10PM and he was tired from a long day. I think he heard both the urgency and the crazy-lady in my voice, so he pulled out his work gloves and his muscles and hauled the offenders away.
"Hey, Sarah," he whispered as we were on our way to bed. "I'm pretty sure that kind of spider is known for burrowing into your ear canal while you sleep..."
And thus ended my fragile but beloved relationship with sleep.