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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Of Snowflakes and Rock Stars



As I lay in bed last night unable to sleep, I thought about two things: whether or not we were really going to get eight inches of snow overnight, and how Sabrina’s 6th birthday party was going to go.

As of Friday afternoon, our weather forecast for the weekend was formidable. It looked like we might have upwards of two feet of snow by Sunday night. Though I ought to know better by now than to trust any predictions by the National Weather Service, the news was so good, and the Doppler so promising, that I believed it.

The thought of waking to eight new inches of fresh snow, and then having it continue to snow steadily for the next two days was a happy prospect. I kept my eyes pointed skyward most of the afternoon and evening. During the late afternoon, I watched the snow begin falling even earlier than the NWS had predicted. Though I ultimately did go, I fantasized about the need to miss work, due to treacherous driving conditions on the 10-mile stretch to downtown Anchorage.

“This is going to be good!” I thought. I delightedly rubbed my hands together.

Really, the only downside to extreme weather was the potential of being snowed-in and having to postpone Sabrina’s party, which was scheduled for 2pm Saturday. Despite reassurances that we would reschedule, she did not take this possibility well.

The snow level at 8pm when I closed the gallery (after absolutely no customers coming in – only one homeless man with his baby begging for money and three homeless teenagers trying to get warm) was a mere dusting. Nevertheless, I was optimistic. The NWS’s official “Winter Storm Advisory” was scheduled to begin at 8pm. I would just be able to get home before it really started to fall.

Bruce and I stayed up until 11 or so watching the movie “The Brothers Grimm,” which was, in fact, grim. We could both understand why it flopped at the box office. Although, I must say, Heath Ledger, even in a flop, is a marvelous actor. Wow. Anyway, we kept the back deck light on and watched the snow fall. I was disappointed to see that the dogs’ footprints were not filling with snow very quickly (a very reliable litmus). So, after the movie was over, we checked the Doppler again and confirmed a big-ass blob of moisture heading our way.

At 3am I was jolted awake. I looked out our bedroom window at the sky. Where, oh where, were the harbinger, purplish-orange clouds of heavy snow? (Ellie calls this phenomenon “sunset.” Admittedly, it is not a dissimilar color.) No “sunset” at 3am. I put on my glasses and went downstairs to check the Doppler. Bruce, equally anxious, followed me down.

Juneau was crying pitifully, so I let her outside for a “constitutional” and found the inside of her dog crate drenched. She has been peeing on herself as she cannot hold it all night. (To me it is preferable to have her do it in the dog crate than all over the carpet. So in the dog crate she will stay. I do put a towel in with her to absorb most of it. It is probably time to go to Petco and buy some doggie-diapers.)

I digress. The Doppler loop showed the 8-inches-of-snow-producing moisture dissipating and utterly vanishing over Anchorage right before our eyes.

“God loves someone who hates snow more than he does us,” I thought bitterly. (And I know who that person is…. ELAINE!)

I still had a little hope. But when I awoke at 8:30am, not only was there not eight inches, there still wasn’t enough snowfall to fill in the dogs’ paw prints on the back deck.

The good news was Sabrina’s party was ON!

Our family tradition is that birthday gifts appear during breakfast. Today, Sabrina asked where hers were, and I had to tell her they weren’t wrapped yet. I warned her that there were only three gifts – two from her dad and I, and one from Grandma Pat.

Jack was aghast. “Only three presents! That’s nothing!”

Gee, thanks Jack.

“There’s only three, but they’re really good!” I reassured my daughter. And I reminded her that her birthday party was also one of her gifts.

She really didn’t mind. She trusted us completely. She is an ANGEL.

She opened her karaoke machine and her Barbie video recorder with excitement. “These will be perfect for my Rock Star Birthday Party!”

Gee, really?! I’d never thought of that.

Bruce brought the tv/vcr combo downstairs and got us wired for some serious music-video production.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon we scrambled to get ready for the party. I hung the purple metallic cellophane curtain in the doorway between the office and living room. Bruce ran to Costco to get cake, ice cream, Bagel Bites®, and Kool-Aid®. He was kind enough to take Jack and Ellie. Meanwhile, I took a shower, swept, and vacuumed. I knew Bruce was back by his loud bellowing at the hysterically screaming Ellie.

”What happenend?” I asked, alarmed.

Bruce described Ellie’s twice-refusal to potty before going to Costco, then her insistence on a dire pottying need while at Costco. He described Ellie kicking and screaming. He grimaced at the cashier who tried to put the birthday cake on the bottom shelf of the shopping cart with the screaming, thrashing Ellie. “Why would he even begin to think that would work?”

Ellie was sent to her room for quiet time. It was 1pm. We did not see or hear from Ellie again until shortly after 3:00. The party was half over by then. I think she was a little startled to see all those people in our house with neon hair and glittery faces. (Needless to say, as I write this sentence, at 8:23pm, she is still awake.)

We had seven guests at the party (a very manageable number). Upon arriving, they ignored the Bagel Bites® and Ruffles®, and started transforming themselves into, well, rock stars. They were accessorized with two-tone neon hair extensions, make up, tattoos, and jewelry.

Most of the girls knew exactly what to do with the make up and body glitter (a scary thought). They were frenetic with excitement. Meanwhile, in the living room, Bruce warmed up both the karaoke machine and the crowd by singing a tear-producing rendition of “Born to Run.” (I have an excerpt of video for any takers.)

I was amazed how brave those girls were, performing in front of each other and the five parents who had stayed for the party. They didn’t know the words to the songs by Raven-Symoné and The Cheetah Girls, by they reveled in holding the microphone and shaking their hips. Man, they were so cute. And a few of them had scary-good moves. (One mom admitted, ”I think I let her watch too much Disney Channel.”)

After everyone who wanted got a turn at the mike, the group joined in for a Band Aid-like finale. I panned the camera around to everyone and managed to catch classic moments like energetic Abigail suddenly stopping and saying, “I’m tired”; demure Rebecca twirling her necklaces and just barely shaking her bootie; dainty Lauren twirling ecstatically about; and painfully shy Caitlynn holding the microphone in the center of the delirious activity.

It was just a hoot.

Bruce told me later that he had to hand it to me - he couldn’t imagine how it would all work out. I was thoughtful for a moment. I realized that it hadn’t been my idea at all, but Sabrina’s: Sabrina, who has her finger on the pulse of all things 6-years-old and female. Even I had my doubts: I worried that parents would freak out about their girls putting on make up and dancing; I worried that all of the girls would get stage-fright and refuse to play along.

When our first guest showed up, I was reassured. She was one of the few guests who had been told ahead of time what we were doing. Catrina was already decked out to “rock.” She had on a sequined beret, blue eyeshadow, and low-slung pink belt around distressed blue jeans. He dad told us she insisted on being fully prepared before leaving the house. Clearly a girl who takes music and partying very seriously.

Well, I have two more kids to tuck into bed. It’s now 8:42. I just checked the NWS forecast. We’re supposed to get 3 to 6 inches tonight, and two to five inches tomorrow. According to the Doppler, the moisture is imminent.

Yeah, right.

Though I can always hope, I think I’ll just take it as it comes.

2 Comments:

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the snow. Bring it on. If I could change ONE THING about living in Seattle... :-P

Sabrina is drop-dead gorgeous. Zounds...all that pink and glitter. Blows this mom-o-boys away. But I have to hand it to you...that picture of Jack in semi-drag will be worth beaucoup bucks come senior prom time.

Love,
Auntie Liz

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Great party. Happy Birthday Sabrina girl!
Love,
Abi and her mom.

 

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