As the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.* We’ve all had it happen; an event you’ve been planning and anticipating, through no fault of your own, just goes horribly, horribly wrong.
This past weekend it was my birthday. We have been planning what I affectionately dubbed “SaraB’s Birthdaypalooza” since January. People were flying in from out of town, we were going to get tattoos, there was even going to be a bouncy castle. Like I said, we had plans. Mr.B and his crew were going to set up the party while my friends and I got tattooed, we would all meet up at the house and party till the cows came home. Simple enough, right?
The first inkling of trouble was when we found out that half of my in-town friends, the ones I really wanted to meet my out of town friends, were themselves going to be out of town that weekend. It was sad, but not a huge deal. Then we we found out that half of Mr.B’s set-up crew were unavailable that day. This was a bit more of a blow, but we were still undeterred. Birthdaypalooza WAS going to happen.
The day dawned bright and beautiful, everything seemed on track, hopes were high. I went to the hotel to pick up the tattoo crew and head down to the shop. We had been talking and e-mailing with the people there so we had appointments, they had an idea of what we wanted to do, and in some cases the actual artwork had been e-mailed to the artist beforehand. The shop has a good reputation in town, so we were surprised to get there and find that they were almost entirely unprepared for us. Our appointments were all with the same artist, which we did not realize when we were making them. We only had a five hour window of time, and three tattoos in five hours meant that he was going to have to work fast if we were going to make it to the party on time. We talked out what we were going to do and he told us to come back in an hour so he could get ready. We all went and had a very nice lunch, but when we got back to the shop nothing was ready. We sat around for another hour and saw very little progress. At this point, it was obvious that we could not all get our tattoos and still make the party. Since I was the only one who lived here, and could come back another day, I was the logical choice to drop out of the queue. It was a pretty big disappointment, but I did it.
I decided to drown my sorrows by going to the local knitting shop to look for some new fancy yarn. I got mightily lost trying to find the shop, and I managed to get there one minute after they closed. No fancy yarn for me. I got lost again on the way back to the tattoo shop. When I got there, there was still no progress on our tattoos. At this point, I made eye contact with one of my friends and we both just said “Today sucks!”
Downhearted, we came up with a plan that would get some people tattooed without me actually missing my own birthday party. I would take two ladies back to the hotel, so one of them could get her car, they would go back to wait on the tattoo-ees and I could caravan with everyone else back to my house for the party.
On the way back to the hotel, Mr.B called and I got the story of his day.
The day that had dawned bright and clear was also hot. I think the heat index was 104â„‰. Mr.B had to change clothes half a dozen times because of the sweat-factor. The two helpers he had were the two people with the least experience setting up an outdoor party. He kept forgetting to hydrate. He had called to tell me not to hurry because the downpour had left ten inches of standing water in our driveway and they had just had to throw all the lights and sound equipment into the garage.
As he’s telling me about this massive rainstorm, I’m driving through Atlanta looking at a vast expanse of cloudless blue sky. I realize that it is, almost literally, only raining on my house. Right before my party. The one that has been in the works since January.
There comes a point, when things are going wrong, that you realize the situation is officially a debacle. This was that point. I now had three choices; I could stress out for the rest of the night trying to get things back on track, I could throw a screaming tantrum (which briefly crossed my mind), or I could let go and ride the wave of absurdity to see where it would take me. I chose option #3 and just started to laugh. I was no longer lost in Atlanta, my air conditioning was going at full blast, and I had no more worries. By the time we tripped a circuit breaker, leaving me stuck half in/half out of a deflated bouncy castle, I was having a blast yelling “Go on without me! Save yourselves! Somebody take a picture of this!” It probably helped that the margarita machine we had rented worked perfectly and we had a plethora of yummy frozen beverages.
In the end, my friends and I ate, drank and made merry. I believe the party was a success and fun was had by all. The fact is, when you get a group of awesome people together, it doesn’t matter if everything is perfect. You will find a way to have a good time and, if nothing else, you will have some fantastic stories to tell later on. All you have to do is ride that wave, and possibly drink a margarita.
*The actual quote from Robbie Burns is “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men aft gang agley” which I really wish I could say properly. If I could, I would find a way to work it into conversation daily.