Column | Don’t feed the pool party animals
When the school year draws to a close, parents begin looking forward to the slower pace of summer – with a less regimented schedule, relaxing family vacations, and a long list of menial household chores to inflict upon the children anytime they mention being bored.
But in the weeks before school ends and these leisurely activities commence, parents must survive an onslaught of recitals, awards programs, concerts, banquets and other occasions that require me to take a shower and put on long pants.
This year, since my wife and I were already physically and mentally shattered from running the end-of-school gauntlet, we thought we might as well finish ourselves off by hosting a pool party for my middle daughter’s ninth-grade class – mostly to justify paying thousands of dollars to have an enormous retention pond installed in our back yard a few years ago.
Before hosting a pool party for teenagers, it’s important to prepare the venue for the beating it’s about to endure. My primary responsibility in this process involved removing the countless yard cigars strategically deposited in high-traffic areas by our pets, though I strongly considered leaving them there during the party for my own entertainment.
Along with having an uncontaminated setting, we really wanted the kids to have a great time – and stay out of the house as much as possible. Since we have three daughters, and there would be male children present, we thought it apt to purchase several stereotypically dude-centric pool toys, mostly involving sports balls. Instead of engaging in some aquatic athletic competition, though, the boys spent most of their time untangling their extremities from the pool-volleyball net when they failed to clear it from the diving board. Then they took turns positioning themselves under the floating basketball goal to risk having their melons pegged by dunk shots. (At least I got my money’s worth. )
Anyone with teenagers knows that next to the drama of speculating on who might be Snapchatting someone’s boyfriend who just broke up with someone else’s best friend’s boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, their highest priority is food. And these teens were absolutely voracious, plowing through enough tacos to feed the entire U.S. Congress – when its members aren’t on CNN expressing outrage over the fact that Washington gridlock has rendered them about as productive as belly-button lint. I was hoping that there might be some leftovers, but when the salsa settled, there was hardly enough left to satisfy a paramecium on a diet.
A couple of times during the party, I just had to stare in awe at the sheer number of adolescents frolicking around in what was once pool water that had transformed into a viscous mixture of sunscreen, Axe body spray and mascara. I’ve always considered myself the kind of guy who might sit out on the porch threatening any young whipper-snapper who dared step foot on my lawn – including my own kids. And now my guest bathroom was being overrun with a throng of simmering hormones in bikinis and board shorts.
Speaking of the bathroom, after the party ended and the parents retrieved their children (apparently without most of their clothing), it looked like the aftermath of a flash clearance sale at Goodwill. There were socks, t-shirts, shorts, and various swimsuit segments strewn everywhere. If it weren’t for my wife’s honesty, I’m pretty sure I could have made enough money selling the lost and found items to buy another taco buffet.
As the day wound to a close and I stooped over to peel the last wet Band-Aid from the pool deck, my middle daughter put her hand on my shoulder and thanked me for throwing her and her friends such a great party. And it really was a lot of fun with a group of fantastic kids.
Best of all, we could now look forward to the lazy days of summer – full of sun, family fun and, most importantly, tacos.