This week marks a milestone for us as a family. We officially made it to the youngest child’s 3rd birthday without another child in the hatcher. Considering how slow we were to get started, there is quite a tale to tell here. However, that’s for some other day. For today, I have cakes on my mind. If you’ve been following this blog from the beginning, you’ve endured 2 DAYS of cake piping references. And furthermore, you are aware that those references have nothing to do with me. Because I don’t do cakes. I don’t even buy and transport cakes without consternation and disproportionate destruction. The following entry takes place over the course of 3 days last May. Because the bedlam was consistent and unending, I wrote it all down as it occurred.
It was bad.
Today is the boy’s actual birthday and it has been filled with excitement since eyelids sprung open this morning at 6:30. Theirs sprang, mine were pried.
It was a day filled with plans. There was still one hard-to-find present to purchase and that involved a run to a Target much farther than “our Target.” Runs to Target are lengthier and more involved now that Sister Tinkle Pants is potty trained. If we do have to go to the restroom–which is always–we have to be extra vigilant that a small person doesn’t open the stall while others are in compromising situations. And it’s best to be watchful for the TOILET FLUSH that comes before you’ve even terminated your use of it. Nothing like an accidental bedai, right?
Well, so. I got the Target run done and was semi-satisfied with what I got there. Then we rushed home for lunch. While the girls ate, I got my stuff together for the first of our two parties today: the school party. I was supplying everything. A cake, ice cream, plates, caprisuns, cutlery, paper towels, bulky oversized stroller, and toddlers. The cake was something I went out for last night…at 10:40. The cake offerings were SLIM PICKINS at that hour of the night. For a graduate, the selection was like winning the Baked Goods Lottery. Lots of yellow cupcakes with white fluffy frosting. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to cut it. Baking something at 11 p.m. sounded much too tiring, so I scrapped that idea. I found myself standing at the cake freezer, doing math and weighing options.
There was a lot of pink. No.
There was marble cake that was cream filled. No and double No.
There were sheet cakes with primary colors that were $25. Um, no.
There was a round chocolate cake with chocolate icing that had pastel colors for decoration and another round choc and choc cake with yellow roses. After much silent debate, I went with the yellow roses with the thought that I would scrap the flowers when I got home. Not much to choose from just before 11 on a Wednesday night.
I got home with what I needed and went to work surgically removing roses. That was tedious, but successful. Then I blended the icing with some icing I bought and got to work writing on the cake. Happy Birthday, AG. That’s what I’ll say. That pretty much covers it, eh? I cut into the icing and then realized I did not purchase the Betty Crocker frosting tips that screw into the top so that you can have handwriting that doesn’t look like an 8 week old. Hmm. No Betty Crocker tips. It’s 11. How about a ziplock bag with a hole cut in the corner? Yes, that will work.
That didn’t work.
By the time I was done, my ‘Happy Birthday, AG’ looked like Sister Tinkle Pants had written it left-handed while sleeping. But I had to let it go. It was done and I was ready for the day.
So back to the party day. At 12:40, we headed toward school and were running good on time. I had all my supplies and my only challenge was the fairly intense heat of the day and the fact that I was trying to corral two toddlers along with me. It didn’t take long for my control of the situation to unravel. The Baby was sitting in the front of the stroller. The cake was sitting in the back of the stroller. Beloved was on foot. Twenty feet into this excursion, I attempted to hoist the front of the stroller up over the curb. Now, I feel it necessary to point out that there was a handicap ramp about 15 feet to the east here, but I was going to save time and just lift the stroller. It did not in that instant occur to me that the cake was not properly strapped with a 5-point harness. It bounced twice before landing upside down and I STILL hadn’t successfully lifted the stroller onto the curb. I was beyond frustrated at this point. I was sweating profusely. I flipped the cake back over as fast as I could but the top layer was now gummed to the top of the box. I watched in horror as it began to peel away in the heat and plop back down onto the bottom layer, now extremely uncentered and with a large gooey chunk hanging over the edge.
“It’s ruined,” I groaned, defeated.
“Now what do we do?” Beloved asked me.
“We eat it anyway. We don’t have a choice.” I said.
As I walked into that office, I didn’t feel qualified to even be a parent, much less a parent toting a cake, ice cream, plates, caprisuns, and NO UTENSILS. (Cake AND ice cream, Missy? Really? What were you thinking? Self-contained cupcakes from this point forward and forevermore…) When I got down to the picnic tables, Andrew’s class came out to meet me, were very interested in the turn of events that would cause a cake to look like that, and then proceeded to eat it cheerfully. The good news was that my atrocious “Happy Birthday, AG” was no longer recognizable. Most of it was still hanging, smeared, from the top of the cake box. Had it been written beautifully, as it was in my mind when I had started it, I’d have been even more incensed at this particular cake wreck.
Later that day, I attempted to hold yet another celebration for the boy at my parents’ house. He and three of his friends, their moms and sisters, and my family were present. It all seemed to be going well and the curse lifted until I stood up, smacked a hanging, potted plant with my head, knocked it off it’s roost, and watched as the soil and water poured down into the seams of the pizza box and onto the Meat Lover’s Pizza. Bad news for Meat Lovers. That round went to the Fern.
Never have I needed a weekend away so badly. And after five years, a prime opportunity was waiting. A free time-share offered to me and a few friends, compliments of The Informinator’s mom and dad, meant a free weekend of sleeping in, eating too much, and palling around. It was perfect. The curse continued, though, and I bumbled my way through things that should be easy for adults: Using a hotel key. Parking (one of my parking jobs was so bad, someone paid me $10 to not straighten out. I took the money and bought my kids a souvenir). Operating the television. Still, though, it was relaxing and we laughed at me. We laughed at everything. A lot. And then as I pulled out of my last friend’s driveway to drop her off and head home myself for a joyous reunion with husband and children, I smacked into a parked Cadillac.
This is not a fabrication.
That was the end of my weekend.
Talk about a cold glass of water in the face.
Many moons later, I still have the dent as a reminder.
Maybe I should stick with cakes…