Treasure hunting / by Susie Lubell


**somehow this didn't post last Sunday. Posting now even though it is horribly out of date.

Today was the last day in a string of unending commitments that started at the end of August with the first day of kindergarten and just has NOT. LET. UP. The parent participation school, while incredible in many ways, feels like a day job. The amount of emails alone is enough to make me cry uncle. Every week there's something. Meetings, rocket day, potlucks, walk-a-thon, sign ups, parent education training, class pictures, conferences, observation. Not to mention the fact that starting week after next I am actually working there two hours a week. Teaching math, no less. Which would send my Algebra teacher Mr. Oster into hysterics.

So that coupled with five Jewish holidays, one of which is eight days long and involves inviting people to eat outside in your tabernacle and obviously cooking for them, plus the birthdays and last weeks big show, I am just WRECKED. GRIZZLED. KNACKERED. Pull me out of the toaster, BURNT.

And today was the final event - my son's birthday party. We couldn't celebrate last weekend because of the show so it was today instead. He decided to invite only kids from his new school which I thought was a bold choice. Twelve kids including a few younger sibs. We had it in our home.

Here is where I stop to mention that I would LOVE to spend $300 and have it at some kitschy bouncy house place where up to twenty kids run around like maniacs and then have cake. I would love that. Then I don't have to plan, call, clean, strategize, and run seventy-two errands.  We've been to a lot of these parties and my kids love them. But every time we go, I feel dirty. And they're all the time hosing you down with hand sanitizer which only exacerbates my feeling. I mean my son goes hog wild every time at these parties but it's not for us. I still reserve the right to have one of these parties if ever necessary. Just saying.

So my husband came up with the idea of a treasure hunt, which we were unable to plan until the day before out of shear laziness. But given this fact I would say it was still totally awesome. It even rained but that didn't scare our intrepid treasure hunters. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive we read my favorite book from the mid-seventies Sloth's Birthday Party. It's about a really messy sloth whose friends celebrate his birthday and it rains during the story so it seemed very apropos. Following the story the rain abated and we split into two teams. The reds and the blues. And then we sent everyone to stations around the neighborhood including our neighbors Juan and Irene, our compost bin, two different park locations and inside our murphy bed. I had my mom, Grandma Seuss, write the clues the night before and we made sure the order for each team was different. Each clue had a puzzle piece inside and once each team had been to each station they came back home to build the puzzle with all ten pieces which turned out to be a map! After much scrutiny and a little parental guidance the kids found "buried" treasure in the crawl space behind our house. A piñata! Hooray! We hung it up outside and bashed the crap out it, collected candy and headed inside for pizza and cake and the customary lifting of the birthday boy in the decorated chair, once for each year and one for next year. I think we even topped the year we got him a cell phone cake. Especially since the whiskers on his lion cake were made of tootsie roll.

And with that I prepare myself to take leave of this suburban life for a few days of relaxation and inspiration on the North Shore of Lake Superior with seven celebrated women. More when I return...


Birthday Lift

Lion cake