March 29, 2000 Another New Beginning
Wednesday March 22, 2000 11:16:45 pm

Isaiah's first birthday party was last Saturday (March 25th). His birthday was really on the 22nd, but Wednesday nights aren't conducive to big parties at our house.

We had been working off an on getting the house cleaned up and everything ready most of the week. We had stayed up till something like 1:30 while Ruth did a marvelous job, with slight technical assistance from me, on the cake.

Despite having stayed up late, I had to get up early to get a haircut. At my barber shop a Saturday morning haircut can take 2 hours if you don't get there early. Fortunately, I got there early enough to be back home around 10:15 even after going by the library to renew a book.

We still had a lot to do before 3:30 when the guests would arrive. There were dishes, mopping, and general straightening still to be done in addition to the lawn needing to be mowed for the first time this year.

Ruth wanted to do it, so I let her. Our yard is small enough that it took her about 15 minutes to do the whole thing. After I got the mower going, that is. After last year's last use, the mower had just been stuck in the garage to await this year's service. Luckily, there was still gas in the tank, so starting shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong. The tired old mower was reluctant to wake up this season.

I primed it and pulled a few times, and primed and pulled again. I removed the air filter and pulled a few times, then replaced the filter and primed and pulled again. "Hey, come on," I thought "This is getting silly..." I primed it and pulled few more times with no results. Then I had the brainstorm that produced success- I got the can of starting fluid I keep in the scout and gave the old mower a shot down the carburetor and that was all she wrote for the mower's extended hibernation. It doesn't take much of that stuff to get the attention of an internal combustion engine that has any chance of starting. I drug the mower around front and 15 minutes later the yard looked 100% better

Up to this point I have forgotten to mention that this weekend TVLand was featuring "The Andy Griffith Show" all day Saturday and Sunday as its Fandemonium Weekend. To Ruth's annoyance, I had the tv locked on this black and white nugget of gold for as long as I could get away with it. As she was mowing, Barney and Andy were dealing with a bigshot lady magazine journalist who came speeding through Mayberry and didn't feel she should have to pay the fine...

Then we both went back to work on the house. Ruth focussed on the kitchen and I dealt with final tidying everywhere else until about 2:30 when my Mom and Aunt Mary showed up an hour early due to misreading their invitations. I told them, "Too bad, no one is welcome until 3:30". Actually, I didn't say it quite that way, but they got the message and went shopping for an hour.

Meanwhile I started a fire on the grill while Ruth mopped the kitchen floor. When the fire was ready, it was just about time to put on the meat.

Just as folks started to arrive (on time) the chicken was getting done and I started on the hamburgers and hot dogs as corn heated in the microwave. I would flip some hamburgers, come in and stir the corn, and take some pictures of Isaiah playing with loved ones in the living room floor over and over again for about 20 minutes till dinner was done.

We truly had a full house that day. Ruth, Isaiah, and I were present, of course. In addition to us, Ruth's Mom, Dad, brother, and Aunt Ruth were there. So were my Mom and Aunt Mary. About half way through dinner, my sister, Robin, and her fiancé, Mike, arrived.

After dinner we all congregated in the living room that was dominated by a huge pile of loot for Isaiah. We (I, mostly) were opening packages for about 40 minutes straight. Isaiah, as would be expected of a one-year-old was frequently more interested in the boxes than the gifts, but he sure did have a grand time. One of his favorite presents was the one Grandma Joanne (my Mom) got him. It is a locomotive engine sized for him to ride on. The "delightful" feature, however, was the button, that when pushed, made train sounds and cried out "All Aboard!". Isaiah really got a kick out of pushing that button, but the train was quickly declared a toy to be kept at Grandma's house.

Isaiah had been having so much fun all day, that by the time all the gifts were opened, he was almost too tired to eat any cake. Ruth had made some cupcakes in addition to the cake seen above and one of these was equipped with a candle for Isaiah (with my help) to blow out. When the candle was removed and the unwrappered cupcake was presented to him, Isaiah just stared at it, not sure what to do with it. I cut it up into small pieces for him, but he was getting tired. With his head leaning sleepily to the left, he reached out and grabbed a fistfull of cupcake- and just sat there with a tired grin on his face. He perked up a little when I put some of his cake in his mouth for him, but he never really got excited enough about the cake to make the typical first birthday party mess out of it. He ate few bites and rested a while as we watched him.

Then I cut the cake Ruth had stayed up so late decorating. Not being a professional cake cutter, I kind of butchered it. I was especially sorry for gratuitously de-nosing the giraffes, but everyone enjoyed the cake anyway.

As the party slowly drew to a close, Ruth and I were both far past ready for everyone to just leave. We were bushed and the day was catching up to us. As the guests departed, though, another resident of the house was finding new energy. Yes, as Ruth and I were winding down, Isaiah was winding up. By the time we were finally alone again, Isaiah was scrambling around squawking and babbling.

It didn't take long, however, after a bottle and a storybook were employed to return his energy level to that of a half hour previous and soon he was asleep. None too soon, for us, either. We quickly joined him in slumberland after a wonderful first birthday party.

The 2nd birthday is easier on the parents than the 1st, right?   Right?

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