Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sprinkle, anyone?

Easter week for my family was our last peaceful week. After that, we hit the ground running with weddings, showers, graduations, ballet recitals, T-ball, Little League, birthdays (my own included), mother's day, father's day and prom. With eleven kids in my family and thirty-something nieces and nephews and ten or so great-nieces and nephews there's always something to do.

This year we added a little something special, though. My mom's been saving for years to remodel her bathrooms. Several thousand dollars later, she finally has two wonderful new bathrooms.

And no money for new accessories and towels! LOL

At my niece Carissa's bridal shower we got to thinking that it would be a good idea to throw my mother a sprinkle for her bathrooms. Not as big or elaborate as a full-fledged 'shower' a sprinkle would have just enough invitees to get the new towels, toothbrush holders, fuzzy rugs and wall art to complete her new bathrooms.

A few days later (at my niece Lea's graduation party) we counted out how many people we had to invite (sisters, sisters-in-law and nieces), and how few things a person really needs for a bathroom and we realized we had more people than gifts.

So we did what any red-blooded American family would. We decided to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond together on Tuesday night. . .Oh, wait, Laura works on Tuesday nights, let's make it Wednesday. . .and buy all the things my mom would need and then split the cost.

We chose Johnstown, and, at niece Madeline's ballet recital, realized that we had to make that Altoona because Mary and Jessica would be working that day and they could meet us after work if we went to Altoona.

In group email on Monday morning, we realized we couldn't shop on empty stomachs. So a visit to Chilli's was planned for before we hit the stores.

At the last minute on Wednesday, two of my sisters couldn't come along but two of my nieces joined us (probably for the margaritas).

While we ate, we discussed who would bring what food for the sprinkle. (Please. You are not getting eighteen adult women together to give gifts without serving pie. Or cake. My youngest sister Tammy makes cakes that will make you weep and thank your maker.)

I was assigned wine. I cannot cook. So I daily thank God that there is a need for drinks and plastic silverware at parties. Otherwise, I'd have to hang my head in shame.

After some jumbo margaritas we trooped into the first store. As usually happens with normal women, we spent the time in the first store negotiating our tastes.
Unfortunately, even though we had a clear picture of what we wanted, the second store didn't have it.

Store number three was actually a bridal shop. My niece, Carissa, who was with us, is getting married and none of us has a dress. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right? Wrong. We flipped through racks, lamented weight gain, lamented being too old to wear some of the styles, tried on a few and left without any one of us having bought a dress.

Back on the trail for bathroom supplies, we hit two more stores before finally, finally finding some wonderful things that all seven us of agreed on without a hitch. (It really is possible to find things seven women will like. . .the items simply have to be absolutely gorgeous and well priced!)

In the parking lot we decided that the gifts should be wrapped. Oddly, the bathrooms that didn't need so many things actually needed an entire cart of things. Mirrors, extra toilet paper holders (not to be confused with the actual toilet paper roller by the commode), shower curtains, shower curtain hooks, fancy towels, every day towels, art work, fuzzy rugs, wicker baskets, towel racks, soap dishes, tooth brush holders, soap dispensers, waste baskets. . .and other things I'm sure I'm forgetting.

There was some definite wrapping to be done. So we decided to meet Saturday evening at my at my mother's after my sister Helen took Mom to church. We would drink wine (we certainly couldn't wrap gifts thirsty) and wrap the presents.

Saturday night, while my oldest sister Helen took our unsuspecting mom to church, Laura and Tammy straightened the kitchen while Kate and Carissa (two nieces) and I knelt on the living room floor and wrapped the gifts. Then niece Stephanie arrived with a friend and they joined the wrapping team. My sister Janette and her daughter Mandy arrived and they also wrapped. I looked up at one point and could have sworn I was in Santa's workshop.

The highlight of the wait for mom to return from church was when Tammy's S'mores cake caught on fire in the oven. After my brother Brian beat out the flames with a dishtowel, we pronounced it no worse for the wear, (who doesn't love a good charred marshmallow?) put it back in the oven to finish baking and later served it as if nothing had happened.

When my mother arrived home and saw all the cars in the driveway she thought someone had died and the whole family was there to support her. Imagine her surprise when she realized she was getting new toilet brushes and uber-fancy toilet paper holders.

While she opened her gifts, we ate pie and banana splits, drank wine and ate flambeed S'mores cake.

The next day at Gavin and Owen's birthday party at niece Jessica's house, we debriefed. Everything had been perfect. My mother loved the things we'd chosen. The apple pie was the best we'd had in a long time. White Zinfandel goes with anything.

That evening, I got home, finally put up my feet, seriously ready after the week we'd had to just get some rest, and my calendar fell off the coffee table. As I picked it up, I read. . .Helen's last day of school Monday -- set date for shopping for dress for Carissa's wedding, hair appointment on Tuesday with Laura, sister breakfast on Wednesday, surprise party for Dr. K on Saturday (bring a salad and a dessert).

Yep. It's summer. We've hit the ground running!

(Don't forget MAID IN MONTANA in stores now!)

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