A modern rite of passage

Today’s tune is Guns N’ Roses Paradise City. This was the theme of the day for Mr. 12’s recent birthday celebrations. First, a note of explanation. It was not his actual birthday: that day is still in our future! This was the party for friends. School holidays are already well underway when the actual day rolls around and past experience has shown that if we wait until the day, lots of friends have already left town. 2nd explanatory note: this post will be heavy on words and light on pictures. Actually, there will be no pictures! * I’ll try to throw in some links to make it interesting though!

The day of the party actually started with a trip to the airport. The Engineer had been on a ship inspection and his flight was estimated to arrive at 0850. Actual arrival time 0855. We always arrive at the airport with a few minutes to spare and this time decided to visit Finland’s first Starbucks. Now for some reason, I was under the impression that they had opened on the passenger only side of security. Depending on how you look at it, I was mistaken. Ground level, terminal two, right near the taxi stand and bus stops. I am a little ambivalent about Starbucks. We did all get drinks to go and Mr. 12 got a huge chocolate chip cookie (obscenely huge in fact). So we’ve done our bit to support them. I certainly would not drive all the way to the airport just for one of their coffees.

The first thing The Engineer said when seat-belts had been fastened was that we should go to see the MiG.** It turns out that the long anticipated release of the latest Nokia had been on Friday and The Engineer was determined to upgrade immediately. (Side note: great phone, I’ve invested so much in my apple that changing would be difficult – have to say I am very tempted.)

All this time, the clock is ticking and I can feel my pre-party tensions rising and rising. I have learnt that you can not hurry The Engineer when there are technical issues to be explored. So, I devised a programme that would allow him to get his new sim-card and give me plenty of getting ready for party time!

Next stop was the supermarket. Usually this particular market is full of stuff and people. Today however, we walked into the middle of a renovation. The food shelves were squashed into narrow rows and all the fridges and freezers were borderline empty. It meant the menu changed a little, although the guest of honour was quite happy with the alternatives.

Just as we exited the supermarket we noticed a sales / service booth for our phone operator. So we decided that we’ll get the new card immediately. I think that constituted change of plan # 3 for the day, and it wasn’t even midday. (In the end, it made no difference, there were some issues and the new card didn’t start working until Monday morning.)

All this while Mr. 12 had been fielding questions from his guests. I don’t what had happened to the paper invites, because all of their questions would have been answered if they’d read the paper!

We arrived home with just enough time to do a quick tidy and start setting up the refreshments. Guest # 1 was actually sitting in our stairwell awaiting our return. An hour early! We promptly sent both boys to the ramps. They took off, and the mini tidy got started.

The guests arrived over the space of half an hour and I was reminded that these are not little boys anymore! They were all talking about merits of iOS5 versus windows for phones, and teasing one boy about his hacking accomplishments (I kid you not, he ‘cracked’ something on his phone and now it’s personalised). One guest was from Mr. 12’s swimming group and all the boys went out of their way to make him feel included.

The party was very relaxed: some warm up on the PS3®. One guest wanted to play some battle game (rated 16) that he had brought especially for the event. We declined the opportunity. It’s rated 16 for a reason and ‘our house, our rules’. They were very happy to continue with the car racing game and soon went into the ‘party’ mode. Eight rounds of mayhem! Crashing, driving fast, barrel rolling, and driving into incoming traffic to name a few! The game has quite good graphics and no pedestrians (which is good, no-one gets hurt!), plus the music isn’t too bad either.

There was a lot of zombie talk as well. I just don’t get the fascination with zombies or vampires for that matter. That’s my mum thing I think.

Then we headed outside. We did this last summer and just had to do it again for the party. Now, when I was a young girl, way back when in the time of dinosaurs and wall mounted telephones, playing with food was frowned upon. Fast forward 40 years and we’re doing it for entertainment. Although, I don’t recall either of these two things in my young girl diet. You’ll have to follow the link to understand my cryptic remarks here.

There was a mini Mölkky tournament while the food was heating. On the menu was hotdogs, onion rings and some interested cheese stick things, followed by ice-cream. No cake, as Mr. 12 decided a good many years ago that he doesn’t want a birthday cake at all. No candles and no singing.

The guests left in much the same way they arrived, groups here and there. The clean up was thankfully relatively easy and the rest of the afternoon was spent eating the left overs (not much was left!

Thank you for reading all the way to the end! Although I don’t think it’s my longest post, pictures probably would have helped …

* I don’t intend to post pictures of other people’s children, let alone my own son. That’s me. For the same reason, names are changed or abbreviated 🙂

** This store now has a great viewing platform on the top floor and a MiG jet parked there also.

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