I Survived the Graduation Party!

My daughter’s graduation open house was last night. (In our area of the Tundra, kids who graduate in May tend to spread out their parties all through the summer. This ensures that every weekend there will be somewhere to go and something to celebrate.)

At first, Ms. MiniD did not want to have a graduation party. (I didn’t want to either, just in case she didn’t graduate, but that’s another story.) Later on, she relented.

At first, she didn’t want to help with the planning. “What kind of food do you want?” I would ask.


“You have to have food.”


“Sure you do.”


Since she declined my offer to input, I came up with a menu of items that I thought would be nice and easy. When you’re my age, it’s all about nice and easy. My son and his girlfriend were supposed to pick up the party trays at our local gourmet market, thus making my involvement minimal.

About three weeks ago, my daughter decided she was going to plan her dessert. She wanted a chocolate fondue fountain. I had already ordered a cake. It was a cake that I chose, because she hadn’t given me specific directions. I was pretty firm. “I’m not buying a fondue fountain,” I said.

“You don’t have to. Matty (her current boy du jour) has one. You just have to buy chocolate.”

OK, so I bought the chocolate, the strawberries, the Rice Krispy treats (I would have made them myself, but this party was all about nice and easy, remember?), the marshmallows and bananas. I cut them up. The fountain was a smashing success, as witnessed by the huge pool of chocolate I found this morning on my kitchen floor.

Last week, she decided she needed a tent. The “old” people would be inside, and her friends would be outside. They needed shelter, since this has been a summer of many rain storms.

It’s hard to get a tent on short notice. I dialed around, and finally found someone who would deliver, set up and take down. It was expensive. My husband, the Thrifty Dude known as Mr. D, had congestive heart failure when he learned of the total cost for tent, tables, chairs, tablecloths and lights. I revived him by putting him in charge of beverages.

This was a huge mistake. I’m the type of person who likes for people to come over. I’m casual about it. I don’t fret over the way my house looks or if my food will be edible. I know my house is okay and my food (should I decide to cook) is always top-notch. A dinner at my house is close to a fine restaurant experience. Mr. D, on the other hand, is a big pre-party worry wart. He has to have crib notes on all the guests’ names. He makes sure the house is spotless. Yesterday morning before work, he was out in the front yard pulling weeds. “The party’s at night. No one is going to see those, and even if they do, they’ll be trampled by daybreak,” I said. He just harrumphed and kept going.

Beverage Boy went off the deep end with his assigned task. Mr. D asked around to various guests as to what they liked to drink. As a result, he bought cases of beer and bottles of wine and tons of hard liquor that we don’t even drink. He also loaded up on pop, Red Bull, water and juice. If I had handled the beverages, I would have bought a few different kinds of drinks and left it at that. If you wanted something else, there’s a liquor store down the street.

Last night, while the party was winding down, he was downing shots of tequila with some of our employees. My Japanese cousin, who had flown here just for the weekend, and I cleaned up the kitchen. The fridge is full of leftovers. We have more beer, pop, wine and hard liquor than we will consume in three years. I know this because three years ago when my son graduated, we had a similar party. I pulled the last of the Michelob Lite (YUCK!) from that party from the hall closet yesterday.

Not much was destroyed. Nothing broken. No kids imbibed alcohol improperly during the course of the festivities.

I would say that the party was a smashing success.