Flannery Correspondence

May 1, 2010

Men Are from Mars: Who Buys Blue Light Bulbs?

Filed under: POPS! — BrianOFlan @ 17:39

February 5, 2010

by Brian Flannery

Someone invited our girls to a mermaid birthday party. Christa was out of town with the baby boy so I had to pack up the estrogen wagon and make it to the lagoon on time.

We arrived late. I had to carry the two one-year-olds and motivate the big girls to walk faster. The trip from the minivan to the door was exhausting. My motivators were sore; and the big girls were tired of getting a boot to the behind.

Then we stepped inside.

Blue light led us forward. Blue rippling streamers spanned the ceiling. Blue plastic tablecloths adorned the walls — painted all over with undersea scenery. Bubbles poured into the room over a blue curtain. The finger foods were fish crackers and cheese sticks with little eel-like eyes (cloves). Mini cucumber cracker sandwiches and dyed green cream cheese. A smiling crab (carved red pepper) cradled the dip. The turquoise cake was topped with white foam and rimmed at the base with gravel (chocolate raisins).

The Little Mermaid soundtrack plays in the background. The hosting mother is unrecognizable as a purple-haired mermaid and compliments her guests’ own costumes (we had only one to split four ways). The hosting father is dressed as a pirate and the kids soon discover a treasure chest (brown painted Styrofoam cooler) in the corner, full of sand (lima beans) and precious jewels (with convenient barrettes).

While the older girls take turns excavating treasure among the beans, the younger girls go fishing by casting lines over the bubble curtain and pulling out candy and animal crackers. The climax of the festivities is a jellyfish piñata that refuses its candy until one lucky child plucks the right tentacle. As the party wraps up, the soundtrack evolves into repeating ocean sounds, waves crashing. The parents watch their little mermaids get dizzy chasing bubbles, sugar crashing.

The youngest girls are swimming in the treasure chest beans and using them to fill up other people’s shoes. (They will be vacuuming for weeks.) The older girls find their way around the fishing curtain and are helping themselves to the animal crackers by the handfuls. Someone is running back and forth catching bubbles in her mouth like snowflakes. Lima bean stowaways await discovery during the next diaper change.


We survived the ordeal. My brother called me that evening asking about my day. This is my single, childless, heavily tattooed, military motorcycle brother. Halfway through my extended description (that you’ve just read) it struck me that he didn’t care how elaborate this mermaid party was. He agreed. And then I thought of you, MOPS. You’re brainwashing me.

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