29 June 2008

Under the Big Top

So (rubs her tired eyes again) we had a birthday carnival to celebrate the Emster's 6th birthday this past weekend. And while it sprinkled a tiny bit and was overcast much of the day, we have to call his event a Raging Success. Last year we swore we'd have a smallish birthday celebration in '08, but over the past few months of hearing Emi gush on and on about fun festivals and the circus, we decided to have our own carnival. No big whup, right? It was a lot of fun in many surprising ways. Like, for instance, the popularity of the dunk tank and the ease with which the dads were quick to shed their clothes (and don the tie) to help out with the party fun.

While the invitations were easy - we made up quick flyers in Publisher and sent them out electronically - prepping the yard(s) was hell on earth. Between the ice storm a few months ago and the wind storms in more recent weeks, we had a lot of downed branches (mostly neighbors') to burn or put out for collection. We also had a fence to repair/replace. Halfway through the repair option, we decided to replace the privacy fence (that divides our backyards) with a decorative black iron fence that will match the courtyard fencing in the front yard (future project). We took this option because it really opens up both back yards and our dogs don't jump (unless it's onto the couch).

Because of the recent rainy season here, it took some time for us to get the pool chemistry back in order and also to remove the weeds growing in between the flagstones which comprise most of our patio. After many days of manually pulling weeds, we decided to go with an option I've coveted for many years -a propane-fired weed burner, specifically the Weed Burning Torch Kit with Hose & Striker - we got ours at the Home Depot and I'm surprised that they sell these things along with the fuel to the general public! And we found out in the process of weed elimination that Scott is a pyromaniac! But man does this thing work!!! Instead of being a schmo and pulling and using chemicals (hate), now we just burn-burn-burn and then rinse! Et voila! I was talking to my neighbor the first 2 times Scott ignited the flame (thrower) and found that it sounds exactly like a hot air balloon when ignited. Kinda scary, but also, AWESOME! So we terminated enough weeds, erected the new fence, mowed the lawns, yada, yada, yada....

Friday night was when the fun work started. We tried to get the dunk tank into the back yard where all of the other festivities were to be held, but it was just a tad too wide, so we set it up in the alley. The first element of excitement that party attendees would see. We also filled a couple hundred water balloons (note: by "we" I mean "Scott") and we also made up "goodie" bags which were really just Popcorn boxes filled with Flarp, silly putty, a little bit o' candy and unpopped popcorn for later (note: by "we" here I meant "Scott and Emi").

I wanted to serve carny food, but I didn't want to go overboard with junk food, so we had a buffet of hotdogs, popcorn, chips, queso, fruit and veggie trays, honey baked beans and tomato feta salad. [I like to feed the adults too!]

The carnival was a huge success! The dunk tank was well utilized, more so than the bounce house; and the water balloon fight lasted 1/1000 the time it took to fill up the balloons (approximately 37 seconds). It was possibly the most fun weekend we've had at the house since we moved in....

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