Party averted–time for bed

GRIN # 130

When my sister asked me to spend the night at her house one weekend night while she was away, I thought it was a great idea. I would keep an eye on her 16-year-old daughter and help with the three dogs, which I’ll call pack-o-dogs.

So, why does this sound like a great idea? That’s what my husband Jerry wanted to know when I suggested the whole family go over there for a sleepover. My sister’s house has a theater room, and I could just envision us kicked back in those state-of-the art chairs sipping drinks and tossing back fistfuls of popcorn.

I will say that we enjoyed the theater room. But then it was time for bed, and my niece came home and set the pack-o-dogs to barking, all three of which were in the room Tyler and I were sharing. If you tried to lock them out (and I did, believe me) they bumped and scratched at the door until you let them in.

I digress. Turns out my niece wanted to have a few friends in downstairs. I frowned. “Are you sure this would be okay with your mom?” I asked her. “Totally,” I was assured. So I agreed and went to the task of settling down Tyler, with the dogs moaning and growling at each other, much to his delight. Finally, he fell asleep.

Soon after, there was a knock on the bedroom door, which sent pack-o-dogs barking again. How did anyone sleep in this house? “Aunt Chrissy,” my niece began, “we’re really hungry and none of us have eaten. We’re thinking of going to The Loop.” I groaned. If she did that, the dogs would be barking when she came home. I was on the verge of saying no, but my niece had news: “Well, there’s about thirty people at the end of the driveway and if we leave they’ll leave.”

“What?” I sat up in bed, whispering so I wouldn’t wake Tyler. “There are thirty people in the driveway? Are you kidding me?” I looked down at my nightgown and thought of waking up Jerry who hours ago had wisely barricaded himself in the guest bedroom.

So this was my real job as houseguest, to avert the unwanted house party. I really didn’t want to go out there and wave my arms around and try to disperse teenagers. The last time I’d done that, my Christmas reindeer ended up in compromising positions on my front lawn. Besides, The Loop was just down the street. I made my niece promise she would be back in one hour.

Back upstairs, I tried with all my might to shove one big dog to the floor.  She lifted her head and gave me the hairy eyeball, then re-situated herself. Sighing, I wedged my legs around her and tried to get as comfortable as one can on a third of a mattress. Then I waited. My charge was still missing. It occurred to me then that this is what all the parents of older children are always talking about. This is what I have to look forward to in ten years with Tyler. No rest for the weary, at least not until the teens are in bed. Teens may not wake up early, but they stay up late and so do you.

At 12:15, I went downstairs. Peering through the windows, I could see my niece standing at the end of the driveway talking with a few girls. When would she come inside? I eyed the light switch and reached up to flip it on and off. It was tempting. It’s what my mother always used to do to me. But I didn’t want to be my mother. My legs ached, and I wanted a bed that was not dog-infested, but still I did not flip the switch.

My big head in the window was probably more than enough embarrassment because soon my niece came in and the pack-o-dogs symphony started again.  They gave an encore presentation at about 3:30 in the morning, which woke up Tyler, and a play session ensued, leaving me nearly hysterical with fatigue.

The next day I l fielded Jerry’s “I told you so” look with grace and even offered an apology. It turns out, his bed had had no sheets. But mine had lots of dogs and a kid, so I think we’re even. Needless to say, we checked out early.


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