21-- Er Who!
Saturday was a busy day. I don't remember many days not being so, but last Saturday was a bit more hectic than normal.
We were invited to a 21st birthday party, nothing unusual you might say in that! Well, when it involves my hubby's side of the family things aren't usually that straight forward.
My husband's father is, let's just say a little careful with cash, in that he doesn't spend a penny unless it's life or death and if you think I'm exaggerating, read on!
Apart from my lapse in keeping an eye on the calendar -- I almost missed the party altogether! I didn't even have a gift for the poor girl. Note at this point how everything is left for me to arrange! By Friday, I was panicking. I wondered for some minutes why a circle had been drawn around the 24th -- Then like a light bulb had been switched on -- Oh no! it's Chrissy's birthday bash.
Friday was like rush hour at the sales. One shop then another. What do you buy someone you've never met, let alone never had any contact with? My husband's family just pop up out of the blue and announce "I'm your cousin" and it's almost always when there is a reason like birthdays, marriages or the inevitable!
The last one was a marriage and that one we messed up in catastrophic style -- going to the wrong one altogether. Was this going to be any different? Well if I had anything to do with it, it certainly would.
I thought I had everything in order when I telephoned my hubby's father to arrange the travel. I had the name, date, time and venue all noted and even a present to boot. I asked his father what he'd got in the way of a gift and he just muttered -- Money! .... Wow! I thought he must be feeling rather generous or it's going to be such a pitiful amount that I swear I'd just walk out of the place when opened if the card contained less than a tenner (Ten Pounds Sterling).
I'd managed to buy a rather nice silver charm bracelet with a little key, horseshoe and number 21 dangling from the chain. I hoped she'd like it as it was all I could think of, but I had this horrible feeling of dread. What if she was weird, so many kids these day's are! I mean Goth-- what on earth is that all about? Black hair, brown painted or purple painted lips -- white face. Ugh! Who's want to meet them in a dark alley. Nope! It wasn't that? Something else! Anyway, too late it was bought and like it or not she was having it!
We began our journey by first picking up his father. He climbed into the car, bumped his head, much to the amusement of my daughter and then fiddled endlessly with the seatbelt which he never quite managed and at one point I noticed it almost choking him. What came next had me wishing it had. "Did you get a present" he asked rather curiously. "I got a bracelet". He frowned a little and then said. "Have you put my name on it too?" My husband, who was driving scowled and then raised his eyebrows and asked his father if he'd got a gift! He answered like we already knew. "No"
"Have you got a card?" my hubby said rather irritably --- "No" was the answer.
I fiddled around in my bag for a pen, luckily I hadn't sealed the envelope and I scratched his name just below ours. The gift tag was just large enough to squeeze on his name and with that we were silent for much of the ride.
We arrived at this very busy pub, with nowhere to park but a small space. My hubby squeezed the car into it and then we walked into what seemed like bedlam.
The music was so loud and there wasn't a single face I knew. "Have you got the prezzie?" my hubby asked. And with that I placed the small box in his hand. My hubby walked over to a small group of girls and asked who was Chrissy. They all looked blankly at us. " Do you mean Chris" one asked. "Yeah" said my hubby.
"He's over there". What! I said --"He!" It was definitely a male and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "Just give him some money" I said holding my hand out for the bracelet. My hubby shook his head and said. "He's havin it"
My daughter and I took a trip to the bathroom. She was laughing so much that tears were streaming down her face.
By the time we came out into the room, my hubby was seated. His father was nowhere to be seen. " Where is your dad?" I asked looking around. "Oh! he cadged a drink off me and went" So not only did he not pay for a gift, a card or transport -- he didn't pay for a drink either and for the rest of a very awkward evening, sat with someone else.
"Why didn't you know that Chrissy was a bloke?" I asked -- "Surely you must have known". My husband shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know half of my family and my dad never said it was a lad". I give up! throwing my arms in the air.
The rest of the night dragged on with deafening music and us a solitary family in the corner. His father did come back -- at the end. We went home rather quietly feeling well and truly had!
I vowed this was the last time I go to a family party, unless it's my side. Goodness knows what will happen at a funeral -- I'm not even going there!