Thursday, September 25, 2008

Baby Shower of Death Claims One Old Victim

Has it really been more than four stinking months? This means either I am a lazy slob or things have been absolutely crazy at the Old People’s Home.

Let’s go with that second thing.

Since I live in a house with three women (and a teenage boy on the weekends), then it goes without saying that things are a little nuts even in the best of times. Add a pregnant daughter, a wife who is starting a new job, a heart attack for my father-in-law and a rapidly diminishing stock of beer on hand, and you can imagine why I am wondering if Armageddon is just around the corner.

Today, let’s discuss the pregnancy. The good news is that mother and baby are both healthy, and there are only about five weeks until the due date. Now for the craziness. My daughter has been in the hospital three different times to calm early contractions. Until the most recent checkup, the baby was breech. And, what could have been the coup de grace to my sanity, the baby shower.

Ah, yes, the baby shower. It seems harmless enough, doesn’t it? Even the words that make up the phrase “baby shower” seem gentle and relaxing. After all, who doesn’t like a cuddly baby or a refreshing summer rain shower? When someone mentions a baby shower, don’t you immediately think of images of women in hats and gloves, with doilies and teapots nearby?

A baby shower is anything but harmless, especially if my wife is planning it. “But dear,” she will say, “It was very successful.” Yes, it was an incredibly successful event, but for someone of my personality, it was a torture so horrendous that the only people who should ever be subjected to it in the bowels of hell are Hitler, and players and fans of the San Francisco Giants.

One thing you should know about my curmudgeonly self is that I believe that no person should, under any circumstances, ever, ever, ever, ever spend money. This baby shower had to be spectacular. This baby shower had to be perfect. And it was. Unfortunately, we had to sell our house to pay for it. (On the positive side, we did receive some roomy cardboard boxes that will serve very well until the first winter rains.)

The baby shower also involved people. Despite the fact that my job requires me to interact with people intensely on a daily basis, I am not a people person. In fact, I would be perfectly happy if my wife and I were the only two people on earth. She could putter around Asia during the day while I tinkered in Africa. Then, we could meet back in South America in the evenings to watch baseball on the couch. I could go for that.

But at the baby shower, I actually had to talk to people and act like a congenial host. I think I did a pretty good job. Only once did I shove somebody’s face into the cake (which my daughter decorated, by the way). I may have even smiled a couple of times.

Thankfully, that’s all over and done. The new clothes and toys are put away. My daughter’s room is ready to receive the baby, and we’re all relaxing a little and waiting for the granddaughter to arrive. The next 18 years should be smooth as glass. Right?