So…there’s this big birthday party at my house, see…first big event here since Christmas, see…significant birthday, see. Oy, oy, oy…such a party!So, the party is to be utilizing the park-like backyard and the covered porch and the custom deck and the flagstone patio and the flood-lit arbor (I told the local photographer, Ronda Brady, that the place was “wedding ready”) that had been just waiting for an appropriate occasion. But, of course, the inside of the house has got to get at least “a lick and a promise” to come up to snuff in case use of ”the facilities” came to be necessary–doesn’t it always? Now I clean my house once a year, whether it needs it or not, but this was going to require extraordinary measures! Things moved, things were dusted, surfaces were shined (Some, of course, refused to do this), curtains went up, cobweb came down, spiders were displaced. The vacuum roared and the cats disappeared. The litter boxes in the basement even got an update.And, of course, the lawn had to be mowed and the new plants had to be watered so they didn’t look like some pitiful horticultural refugees and the weeds had to be–insofar as possible–banished and the hungry caterpillars who’d taken up tented residence in the crabapple tree had to be evicted. Every plant with buds on was encouraged to flower by 7:00 on Friday. Hop to it, little chlorophyllites! No twiddling of green thumbs here! I was still poking little, orphan, clearance-sale annuals into their beds at 4:30. ‘S truth!Food? Yeah, maybe a bite or two…the usual food groups…beef, pork, chicken…potato salad, pasta salad… on real plates…desserts. Ah, desserts….The chocolate fountain became a chocolate pond but was still pretty popular, since there were plenty of items–fruit kabobs, angel food cake, pretzels–no fingers, please!–to dip. Beverages–adult and juvenile( Doesn’t hurt to have a guest who’s a wine importer)–had their own serving stations and ice chests The birthday cake was a three-tiered extravaganza with a forest of candles ranged around atop the lower level(twenty-four inches across). It required the services of two–count ‘em, two!–“Maidens of the Flame” wielding mechanical torches to get these all going before the first ones lit melted to puddles or the neighbors called the fire department to put out the conflagration. The noise pollution people were speeding toward the gathering when the singing of “Happy Birthday” ended.The attendees were a mixed bag (Not you, Sis)–an up-scale bag such as Tiffany’s, no doubt: Family, friends, neighbors, undercover agents for the FDA, business associates, a nine-month-old, two French bulldogs, heck, may be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were that couple sitting in the back by the serviceberry tree. Surely their invitation made it to London in time! It was an intimate gathering of something over a hundred and twenty-five. Nearest and dearest, don’t you know! Only the immediate world.Conversations were pretty mixed too. One local light has taken up rowing crew on the Cuyahoga River–how cool is that! One intrepid couple came in from Michigan…presumably, they did NOT discuss football with any of the locals–they were undamaged when they left. Youth was served by representation of the under-thirty set (and the nine-month-old) and my mom, perking along at ninety-one, held her own. Two party-goers were going to head off next month to see my favorite county fair( Lorain) in Wellington…something to do with cows. Geez, I couldn’t listen in on everything…but I gave it the old school try.Now, of course, it’s clean-up time. I don’t do clean-up well, as anyone who’s been in my house during “down time” might notice. I tried to talk the Tooth Fairy into this gig, whisking away the unwanted, but there’s been an outbreak of emergent incisors to deal with so that’s out. Actually, the tables are mostly folded up, the chairs are mostly stacked, the chafing dishes are mostly clean and ready to go off to their regular storage places–not here, thank goodness–the tablecloths are washed, the re-cyclables are bagged and ready–glass, aluminum, cardboard–the cats are recovering. Man, they were out of sight for most of that evening. Only one of them is truly anti-social but it was a case of “too many, too much” for about a week there and they all decided to “lie doggo”, so to speak instead of complicating the festivities. Had one of them decided to investigate the serving table, things could have gotten ugly…literally! The enormous, full trash bags are in the garage, waiting for the next pick-up( Local critters did some sampling on the lawn before the recovery began but they haven’t been able to open the garage door. The space smells like potato salad. Could be worse)And you know what? IT WASN’T EVEN MY BIRTHDAY!.