“Coulda been the Bailey's. Mighta been the wine. Coulda been the 3 or 4 chip bags. I dunno but look at the mess I'm in! My fort is in a shambles. The clamp fell on my head. Me oh me oh my! Wasn't that a party!”
This parody of the Irish Rover’s famous song was sung by my daughter early this morning – right off the top of her head, after four hours sleep and slightly hung over from helping me polish off a bottle of Baileys during our St. Patrick’s Day Sleep Over last night.
My guests arrived at about eight o’clock and, the feasting began almost immediately. We needed something to wash down with the celebratory spirits that we did start imbibing immediately. There were chips and tacos and dips and chocolate and cheese fingers… We never did get to the pizza or the shrimp, but that’s okay because now we’re just that much better prepared for Geek Night this week.
|Who's that wee leprechaun? And|
where is her gold? (It's in her heart, of course!
To add to the festive ambiance, we also had sufficient amounts of St. Patrick’s Day swag to ensure that everyone could – and would – have no trouble with the Wearin’ o’ the Green. Hats and feather boas and hair doodads and matching shamrock lounge pants were dispensed and donned. And then the games began!
We started with several hilarious rounds of Taboo, a word game that, like Password, has one member of a team trying to get the other member of the team to say a specific word without saying any of the ‘taboo’ words that would make it obvious. Not any kind of easy as it sounds! The game was close, but once the spirits began to take real effect we moved on to a battle royal between The Jalapeno Bolognas and the Irish Didlos (yes, that’s Didlos, not the other word that you’re thinking of! But don’t ask me what it means or how it came about) in a game of Backwords.
|Bizz and Miake, festively greened!|
|Liz all decked out for St. Patrick's Day|
Backwords is an iPhone app game that involves each team recording a series of words or phrases in a variety of categories. Taking turns, each team listens to the recording backwards, then attempts to re-record what they hear before playing that backwards to try to figure out what the original recording was. A timer forces you to act quickly and listen carefully. But it doesn’t always help. If a team chooses to take a hint, their points are halved. That is if they even get points. Two minutes goes by fast when you are laughing too hard to hear, let alone record what you hear before time runs out.
It was getting close to midnight when we finally deemed it time to start constructing the blanket fort. The last time I built a blanket fort was for my grandchildren on the occasion of my granddaughter’s first birthday three years ago. Before that, the last time was several decades ago and I have to say that half a bottle of Baileys on top of a distinct lack of practice is not conducive to sound blanket fort construction at all. Furniture got moved, blankets got spread out; we even commandeered the cat tree for support! The weak spot, where the blankets met in the middle was of great concern to us all. Safety pins were suggested, but I had a better idea. Clamps! We could use wood clamps to secure the blankets to the backs of the wing chairs. I thought it was brilliant. My daughter/mechanical engineering student found the notion dubious, but was just tipsy enough to retrieve the clamps anyway. The result was a cozy little hideout in the middle of the living room.
|Building our blanket fort|
Once inside, we realized that if the cats decided to walk across the fort, we were all doomed. Their weight on the blankets could be enough to tip the wing chairs over on top of us. Some of us worried that the clamps would not hold and could fall on us. I was just drunk enough not to care. (Yep! I was indeed on the losing Irish Didlos team. In case you were wondering.)
|I still maintain that wood clamps have|
a place in blanket fort construction and design.
|Oliver hanging out with us in|
the blanket fort
No one could think of any ghost stories to share, so we gossiped, made shadow puppets and continued to laugh into the wee hours of the night. Oliver and Willow were fascinated with the fort and joined us under the blankets. Only once did one of them attempt to walk across the roof, but, discovering that there wasn’t much supporting him, quickly and dramatically leapt off, leaving the roof sagging, but intact. When we finally crawled into our sleeping bags and settled down for a nap, the fort was still holding up. Good Enough Construction may just have come through for us once again.
|Willow nestled in with us (and plotted|
to bring down the fort after we were all asleep.)
At about 3:30 I woke up and discovered two things: 1) my friend, who had elected to sleep on the couch/bunk was no longer there (though her snoring told me she wasn’t too far away); and 2) there was a gaping hole in the roof of the fort where the blankets had separated. Since I was awake anyway, I crawled out of the fort and made my way to the bathroom for a pee. While I was doing that, I discovered a third thing: sleeping on the floor was not popular with my bones. I reasoned, as only a person who has consumed a fair bit of alcohol and has only had an hour or so of sleep can, that I could spend the rest of the night in my comfy bed, get up before everyone else, crawl back into the fort and pretend that I had been there all night. Yes! It was a plan.
|On my way into the blanket fort|
And, as plans so often do, this one went awry. A couple of hours later, Oliver and Willow decided that it was playtime and the fort was the play thing. They managed to do just what my daughter had predicted and tipped one of the wing chairs over on her. The clamp did come loose and fell on her as well. So, she abandoned what was left of the fort and repositioned herself on the couch, which had been earlier abandoned by my friend. There’s no way that she could not have noticed that I was not there.
Graciously no one gave me a hard time about it.
By 7:30 the coffee was brewing as heartily as the hangovers. (Actually, they were fairly mild – the hangovers, not the coffee. That was delicious!) If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that Baileys is probably not the best choice of spirits to indulge oneself in to the point of tipsy that I achieved. I still maintain that wood clamps have a place in blanket fort construction and safety pins do not. I now plan on investing in a package of clothes pins, however. A recent childhood flashback reminded me how useful they are when building blanket forts, for unlike safety pins that can rip blankets, clothes pins hold firmly, but do let go without damaging anything. I plan on testing this theory out over Easter while my niece is staying with me. (I hope she likes blanket forts.)
This brought us to breakfast. Green pancakes with fresh fruit and whipping cream, turkey bacon and scrambled eggs! So yummy. Following that we set our minds to completing a crafting project that I cannot reveal in this blog so as not to spoil the forthcoming surprise that is in store for other friends and co-workers.
I learned some time ago how important play and laughter really are. The birth of my grandson reminded me how easy it is to become so wrapped up in obligation and life’s grown-up foibles that fun becomes just a distant memory, a thing lost like childhood to the passing of time. Not so! Play and laughter are just as important now, no matter how old you are, as they are in childhood. Be silly. Dress up. The child never really goes away and loves to come out for some innocent fun as often as it can. It may require a foamy or an air mattress now that its bones are not as forgiving as they once were, but believe me when I tell you: a blanket fort is as wondrous at 50 as it is at 5!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May your blessings outnumber your troubles and happiness surround you all of your days.