Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crisis and cakes

I can’t decide whether it is my stage of life or a fundamental personality type problem but life in our household does seem to lurch from crisis to crisis. Being by nature an optimist I keep thinking that once I get past whatever the latest stress is, that I will have a nice, calm week that does not entail rushing about like a lunatic clutching large musical instruments, doing a mercy dash to the all night garage in search of loo roll at 10pm or trying to pass off jam or hardened cheese as exciting fillings for packed lunch sandwiches.

Having stressed about the 80’s dance, it was of course, great fun. As with all fancy dress parties once you have got over the embarrassment of exiting the house looking as if you are heading for either a transvestite club or the cast party for a particularly saucy pantomime, you enter into the spirit of the thing. I came home from the party clutching a large Wallabies dog bed for Pluto that I had “won” in the silent auction, if won is the correct monetary term for ‘handed over large wads of money’. Fortunately the dog bed has been a huge hit and not only has it weaned Pluto off his sofa surfing habits but it appears to be regarded by the children as satisfactory compensation for the fact that I didn’t buy Drama Queen no.3’s class artwork, (which needless to say went for a comparative fortune) at the auction, so perhaps I did win after all.

Next excitement on the horizon is Drama Queen no. 3’s 10th birthday party. For the second year running she has organised this herself, past experience having taught her that there is no point waiting for her parents to get on with this annual chore. When I protest that we’ve always had some kind of party for her birthday, she points out that her 8th party was held in December, by which point her August birthday was a dim and distant memory. The good news is that this year I managed to get my hands on the invitations before they went out. Last year she managed to put a selection of different times on the invites with the result that we had expectant children ringing the doorbell a good hour before my anticipated kick off.

One of the magic ingredients of the party – besides a good slug of gin in my tea, will be the fact that DQ no. 1 will just have arrived back from five days in a tent courtesy of the school camp. Her views on camp beforehand were fairly unprintable but seemed to centre on the fact that having been subjected to outdoor holidays involving tents and boats on a regular basis by her parents from a young age, she has been left with an almost pathological hatred of nature in all its forms and indeed her very soul (and I am paraphrasing here) yearns for urban splendour, ipods, internet cafes and teenage retail outlets – none of which are likely to be found in a rural retreat where her days will be occupied with the wholesome pursuits of hiking, canoeing and biking.

Drama Queen no.2 has been helpfully combing the Children’s Birthday Party Cakes book which contains a number of ambitious and complicated cakes, thank you to the godparent who thought that was a helpful present, easy to see whose side you are on in the parent child tussle for supremacy. I keep nodding weakly as she holds up illustrations knowing in my heart of hearts the very low odds of my being able to reproduce a swimming pool complete with swimmers, an octopus or a sheep in edible form. However before I am too hard on myself I should remember the cake I made for my mother’s birthday, ornate and emblazoned with a large medal made out of icing, it was a triumph complete with wobbly writing – or would have been had the dog not eaten 2 corners of it just before my mother’s entry necessitating radical surgery and transforming the magnificent square edible edifice into a round cake etched with disguised canine teethmarks.

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