March 28, 2012

The Pressure and Planning of the FIRST Birthday Party

            My daughter’s Big 01 Birthday is coming up here in the next couple of months, and there are certain things which are expected in our community when it comes to first birthdays.  So, naturally, The Wife and I have started to make plans. 

            A few years back, The Wife went to the first birthday for the son of a college friend.  A private room at a restaurant had been rented out, the event was catered, and the guest list touched just over three digits. 

            This is not the sort of first birthday The Wife and I are intending to throw. 

            But still, things are expected.

            We chose to use our spacious 600-sq.-ft. apartment as a rain location, and opted to hold the festivities in Central Park.  In such a beatific locale, our get together would almost undoubtedly please the ghosts of the Park’s brilliant designers, Olmsted and that other guy. 

            Seemingly endless permit forms had to be filled out for any “event” in the park, but The Wife of the R.P. is rather adept at that sort of thing, so the Recent Paterfamilias focused his energies upon other activities.  Like napping.

            So…what to eat?  The desert was obvious (cupcakes), but what about the main course?  Pizza?  Transport (on foot) would be a problem, plus pizza has a tendency to go cold in five or six seconds.  Burgers from Shake Shack?  Far too iffy, given the very sophisticated palates of those who would be in attendance. 

            Then…The Wife came up with a brilliant solution.  Bagels.  Easy to transport.  Won’t go cold.  Will seem appropriate (on Sunday, for brunch, with assorted cream cheeses) for a first birthday party. 

            Excellent!  The Wife of the R.P. comes through once again! 
            Now…where to put said bagels? 

            So, the Recent Paterfamilias conducted a serious Internet search for the perfect portable table. 

(Now, it should be noted here that the Central Park “authorities”—despots that they are—are very particular about the use of tables, chairs, and whatnot on their property, so the R.P. is perfectly prepared to, in, say, eight weeks or so, pen a scathing column on how some park personnel shut down his baby’s first birthday party because he had a single table and two measly stools set out, even though the elaborate park permit application for this event had been filled out completely and almost entirely honestly). 

As it turns out, there are better options out there for portable tables than a folding card table or a picnic table on wheels.  They’re mistakenly called “roll-top tables” (they don’t actually roll, they fold up on themselves, accordion-style), and they can be found at any hunting/fishing/outdoorsy-like retailer. 

            Ok.  Great.  Table problem solved. 


            We (The Wife and I) wanted two stools.  Not chairs (we weren’t tailgating the Harvard/Yale game; we weren’t set up outside Daytona International Speedway on Sunday morning; we weren’t meth-addicts in our rumpus room), we wanted small portable stools.  Naturally, a plethora were available, but there was one that really spoke to me.  Maybe it was the attractive leather cradle seat.  Maybe it was the finely turned hardwood legs.  Maybe it was the stainless steel feet which were advertised to hold up against sundry terrains.  But, for whatever reason, that little leather stool from the Orvis company really stood out.  I wanted it, I needed it, I had to have it (two of them, actually), but then The Wife pointed out that we weren’t booking a private room, we weren’t having a catered event, and we weren’t on an unlimited budget for a Goddamn first birthday party.  So I went ahead and ordered these little compact fabric stools from Cabela’s instead. 

            (All things considered, having since sat upon both of my Cabela’s stools, they’re actually quite comfortable.  But I’m still interested to see if I get ticketed for them and my Cabela’s “roll-top” table by the Central Park Turf Brigade.  And, as should be expected, I already have my snarky little rebuttal prepared:  “Really?  You’re going to shut down a one-year-old’s birthday party?  Do you really want to be that person?”  Naturally, this is the sort of clever comeback that the fans of the Recent Paterfamilias have come to expect.)
Photo borrowed from a cute blog called: One Little Minute


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