by Lindsay Gallagher on 08/17/2011

I make a to-do lists.  Some on paper, some in the Notes app on my iPhone, some in my head. (Least affective by far!)

This past Saturday, I threw a party for Ronan’s 11th birthday.

“I want the game bus again,” he’d said when I asked a month earlier.  While I don’t think playing Xbox on a camper is the most evolved activity, it certainly is easy for me.  Mad Dog Games pulls up, the boys file into the party-camper and two hours later I serve them all pizza and cake.


Walk dogs√

Clean back yard√

Cake, drinks and chips√

“Shit,” I said when I saw 2 cars parked next to my driveway.  I forgot that Mad Dog requires 60 feet for his vehicle.  It wasn’t on my list.

“Ronan, see that car?  Call me when it moves.”

While I was on my way to get balloons – Martina was with the kids – Ronan called.

“The car left.”

“Go out and skateboard in the spot.  Don’t let anyone park.”

Parking for Mad Dog√


When I got home, I had less than a half hour till the party.

Order pizza√


Lock up dogs√

I was just in time for Mad Dog who was just in time for the first guests.  The boys loaded into the truck, except for those playing RockBand on the exterior screens.  They came  inside for pizza and drinks when they were hungry enough to tear themselves away.

One stumbled up into my back yard, bent over and puked.

“Whoa.  Are you okay?”  He kept puking.  “Oh, dear.  Goodness.”   Even more.  “Oh sweetie.”

Clean up vomit√

Don’t puke while cleaning up vomit√

“I’m sorry,” the boy said.

“It’s okay.  Are you okay?”

“My tummy hurts.”

Call sick kid’s dad√

“How are we doing on time?” I asked Mad Dog.  The boys — and a toddler passerby — were jamming to “Our Lips Are Sealed,” by the Go-Gos.  One of them glanced at me when I joined in. “How do you know that song?” I asked.

“I don’t.”

Pay Mad Dog√

Serve cake√

Open presents√

Make list for thankyou notes√

Hand out party favors√

“Can I stay longer?” one boy asked.

“Sorry, I can’t do it.”  It’s not on the list and I’m on a roll.

“Can Ronan come to my house?”  Not on the list.  There is something else on the list, what was it??  “He’s going to a ball game.”

Meanwhile, I was still trying to make sure no one left empty handed, thanking the guests for coming, and saying my goodbyes.

Ronan’s party√

The birthday boy was flying his new remote chopper, so I took a breather in front of the tv. The Blindside was on, so I sat on the sofa and wept.

“Can I play with that?” Tess whined at Ronan.


“That’s not fair.”

“You can have my remote car,” Ronan said.

“It has no batteries.” Her whine was louder now, interfering with my moment of HBO zen.

“Mom, I need batteries,” Tess said.

I looked at my watch.  I had to make a bean salad as a potluck contribution for a party that night.  Because Go To Party was also on my to-do list – it was the finish line.  The batteries would get Tess off my back for at least a few minutes.

“I’ll go,” I said, grabbing my bag.

“Can you get me some candy?” Tess asked.


“Can you make me a guacamole face mask?”

I left, pretending not to hear.

Once I had unscrewed the screws, which were stripped, and changed the batteries, Tess was driving the remote car and I was back on task.  I turned up my iPod and chopped.  I strained the beans and toasted the cumin.  This is pleasant, I thought, why don’t I do this more?

“Mommy.” Ronan waved an iTunes gift card in my face.  “How do I use this on my phone?”

“I don’t know,” I said, measuring olive oil.

“Can you help me?  I want to buy an app.”

I Googled it.

“Oh, you have time to help him, but you can’t make me a face mask?”  Tess chirped in my ear.

“I have to redeem the card on my computer,” I said, once again ignoring Tess’s request.

Enter Password, the computer ordered.

The password you have entered is incorrect.

The password you entered does not match your apple ID.

Forgot your password?  Click here.

OMG!!!!  None of this is on my list.  Not the fucking batteries, not fucking iTunes.  I was on:  Grind Cumin.  I was on:  Whisk.

“Are you crying, mommy?” Tess asked.

It took at least 30 minutes to redeem Ronan’s cards and in the process I changed all of my passwords so now none of my software works.  But I didn’t know that then and I didn’t care.  I was on:  Fold in tomatoes.

Chipotle Bean Salad√

The sitter was only an hour away.

Ronan picked up for game√

“That’s not fair,” Tess said.

“But you get the cute sitter all to yourself.”

“I have an idea – you can make me a spa day.”


“Yeah, why not?”

“It’s 6:30, Tess.  I’m making your dinner and then I’m leaving.”

“Don’t we have cucumbers?”


“Or guacamole?”


“But I want a spa.”

This is where I contemplated pouring myself a drink.  I mean, it was past six p.m., I was cooking, just a little nip to take the edge off.  But I hadn’t reached it on my list.

“Sister, I got nothing left,” I said.  “I got you a friend, I got you a party favor, I got you the batteries.  There’s no more.  I’m out.  That’s it.  I don’t got no sunset spa-day.”  But I then I felt guilty, so I convinced her that a bath would do, then scrounged around for some “fancy” hotel bath gels and body creams.

“I smell like an orange,” Tess said.

I pretty much left the new sitter to fend for herself:  “Dinner’s here, tvs there, key works in both doors.”

It must have been written all over my face because as soon as I arrived at the party the lovely hostess showed me the bar.


About Lindsay Jamieson

Author of Beautiful Girl, mother of 2, wife of cinematographer, former dancer, snowboarder -- recovered bulimic.
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