… a record 123 days over 20 degrees and then all of a sudden the sky closes in and the winds lift and the rains are here and as certain as I am that it would be a disaster to continue with our plans to have Tyson’s first birthday at the super-dooper local park I know that Reservoir Mum has had her heart set on it as the venue for over a month and because I am aware that the disappointment could possibly kill her – or at least make her temporarily grumpy – I am finding it very difficult to broach the subject. I can already see the muscles tensing hard in her forearms and even though I know she has accepted the truth – that the outdoor party dream is over – I can tell by the way that she’s slapping the poor mince meat into fist-sized hamburgers that someone else is required to officially give in. Surveying my surroundings I have no choice but to accept that that person is me – Archie is flat-out refusing to do it and Lewis can’t say venue properly – and so I take another fifteen minutes boiling sausages, and packing BBQ utensils and listening to great thinking songs and with the help of Billy Idol’s Hot In The City I drift a little and allow myself to do a mental walk-through.
‘Reservoir Mum,’ I imagine myself saying, with a steely resolve, “I think we should change the party venue, without delay, to a place where the air is dry and warm and the thunderous sky is hidden behind an appropriately placed roof and where there is less chance of baby limbs being lost to snap-freeze.’
As her eyes slice the air in front of her with beams of pure intensity it occurs to me that saying ‘without delay’ may have been just a bit much, a little CEO, a little lemon juice on the paper-cut but before I can backtrack by saying, ‘well, we don’t have to do it right now,’ her shoulders broaden and her legs lengthen and a thick hide of fur grows and overwhelms her skin and she’s suddenly fifty feet tall and roaring into the air as she carries me up The Rialto Tower and even though the planes and helicopters are flying around her head to protect me I know that I am doomed because all I can do is scream out ‘You must seek an alternative venue!’ and lament the fragility of my summer dress and my milky white skin and here I go – my tiny head to her open mouth – but just before she chomps down on me like I’m a ripe, bloody, human banana the CD player shuffles randomly and I hear Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Archie tugs on my leg and Lewis asks me to do The Robot and of course I comply.
Having played the most likely scenario over in my head I am considering that all my options are closed until I see the slight smile on Reservoir Mum’s face as I move from the traditional ‘Robot Dance’ into the livelier, more advanced ‘Arrested Robot’ and suddenly an easier, safer path to a different venue is revealed to me.I break into ‘The Running Man’ – a personal favorite – and I dance backwards and then forwards and then backwards around the kitchen counter until I am close enough to Reservoir Mum for her to smell my LINX deodorant but not so close that I kick her in the guts with my enthusiastic gyrations and I say, ‘Seems wet outside? You know… chilly?’
‘Yeah,’ she says, as she puts the finishing touches on the Tyson-O-Saurus cake. ‘Just called Mum and we’re having the party at her house. Better start texting.’
I pull her close and hug her and look directly into her eyes as I whisper, excitedly, ‘An alternative venue?’ and even though she just stares at me and feigns a bemused expression I can only smile at the bubble of joy that erupts inside me because once again I have interpreted a potential domestic disaster correctly and corralled the various players in a subtle and yet powerful way and led all concerned to the most peaceful and practical end. In short, I am some sort of fricken genius.