The Disaster of the Pizza Party

The ongoing farce that is my life continues unabated 🙂

A week ago, on Sunday night, I happened to call up Andrew (my brother for those coming in late) . I’d been browsing through one of the mysterious discount book sales that spontaneously appear like mushrooms after rain in any CBD storefront left vacant for more than a few hours, and had seen a large “Bold and the Beautiful 10th Anniversary” hardback going out cheap. As his love of the show is legendary I decided it would be a nice thing to do to alert him to it’s presence. It turned out he already had it, but he grabbed hold of the opportunity to inform me that the housewarming party he’d been planning even since I moved into Rebecca’s flat was scheduled for the coming Friday, and he thought he’d better double check that this was OK.

He also informed me that it was a “make your own pizza party”, which is the kind of idea that would never occur to me in a million years. This of course required the procurement of various pizza ingredients, a long list of which was soon forthcoming. The fact that several of the prospective attendees were vegetarians only made this list longer and more complicated, and all in all it was just as well I was getting paid on Monday.

So leaving Andrew to organise the social aspects, my first task was to get the place pick and span. Given that I’d spent most of my weekend playing Caesar III instead of following my usual cleaning regimen, this presented a bit of a problem. The floors certainly needed doing, and the kitchen surfaces, and the bathroom and toilet needed a good scrub. The washing up was starting to pile as well, and if I was to have anything to wear several loads of washing needed to be done, not to mention the need for clean bed sheets lest the party atmosphere lend itself to one getting lucky1.

If I’d have taken a day off work I could have got it all done in one go, and had plenty of time for my usual cleaning related prevarication, procrastination and general wandering about moodily looking through books in a desperate attempt to avoid having to do any actual work. Unfortunately Bevan, being inconsiderately non-psychic2, had decided to take two weeks of leave, meaning that the GTP staff was just down to Dale and myself (much as I like the idea of Dale trying to program CGI and JSP, it wouldn’t be the most sensible thing to do if I expect a job to come back to). So it was clean in the evenings or not clean at all (given that my evenings are pretty much taken up with cooking and watching TV, this was rather inconvenient to say the least).

The week dragged on. My original plan called for me to get the shopping done on Thursday, and spend Friday evening cleaning, however on Wednesday I realised that this wouldn’t leave me much time to watch Daria. So I rescheduled. I’d go in an hour early both days, then leave two hours early on Friday and get my shopping done. This seemed like a very good idea on Wednesday night, as it meant that I could just slump in front of the TV instead of having to do any work, having bought myself a good few hours worth of sweeping time during Stargate and ER. By Thursday night however it wasn’t looking anywhere near such a good idea, especially since it was Dr Greene’s last episode at the hospital, and you can hardly expect to get any decent cleaning done with that sort of thing going on. In the end I stayed up until about 11:00, which given that I had to get up at 5:00 the next morning to get into work nice and early (and fit in a bit of extra cleaning before I left) possibly wasn’t the most sensible thing to do.

Sure enough, Friday morning found my body more than reluctant to get out of bed. A long, hot, shower helped, particularly when the hot water ran out and it turned into a freezing cold shower. But the effects were only temporary, and by the time 3:00pm rolled around, and I should have been bouncing out of my chair to go and get the party shopping done, I was more falling out of chair, and literally struggling to keep my eyes open. So I did the only sensible thing. I went to the deli across the road and bought a Red Bull.

I had never had a Red Bull before, and my observations on the substance are as follows.

Observation One: It tastes awful. Truly truly horrible. It’s like red creaming soda mixed with battery acid. In fact, to judge by the taste it’s called Red Bull because bull urine is a major ingredient3. I once underwent a medical procedure where they then hang you upside down and x-ray your stomach. Red Bull tastes worse than the foaming mix of acids and bases they make you gulp down beforehand.

Observation Two: Red Bull does actually perk you up. Mainly because if you let your attention waver for even a second after drinking a can you’ll hurl.

Observation Three: There’s a warning on Red Bull saying you shouldn’t drink more than five cans a day because it could damage your health. Personally I think this is unnecessary. Anyone who could manage to force down more than five cans a day is obviously some kind of alien, and hence above the petty health requirements of the human species.

To be fair though it did actually, if not exactly “revitalise” my mind and body, wake me up and keep me going until about 10:00pm4. Even if the immediate short term effect was to make me all jittery, paranoid and irritable. Something that the other shoppers at Foodland seemed to notice, judging by the way they cleared the aisles as soon as I rounded the corner twitching and grinning maniacally behind my shopping trolley of death.

To complicate matters, Rebecca and Dom were coming down from Kalgoorlie that evening (the main reason for the dating of the party) and needed somewhere to sleep. To wit they were bringing along an IKEA trundle bed, which would have to be assembled that very night, lest they have to sleep on the floor. In addition, I had possession of the only pass keys into the building, meaning that I’d have to be home before they got there. So I was doing some serious clock watching while shopping, a fact that only served to make me even more manic.

I eventually got all the shopping done, and staggered home loaded down with jars of olives and artichoke hearts, just in time to meet Dom and Rebecca in the car park with their gigantic mattress and flat pack boxes full of Finnish pine on a borrowed trailer. The draconian house rules of the complex require that furniture only be moved about on weekdays, between nine and five, and that the caretaker be advised 24 hours in advance, so as it was by now 5:30 on a Friday evening and the caretaker was completely unadvised vis a vis our bed moving plans, this presented a rather major problem. After some debate we decided the best thing to do was to rush the stuff in and up the stairs in a series of commando style raids, doing our best to avoid the security cameras and Resident’s Council members5. This plan was entirely successful, several oblivious residents helping us out by opening doors and suchlike, obviously under the impression that to be flaunting the rules so openly we must have special dispensation (it’s amazing what you can get away with under a totalitarian regime just by doing it 🙂

The actual erection of the bed presented another problem, as the spare bedroom was full of cardboard moving boxes and improvised washing lines (there are communal washing lines out back, but I don’t trust the Council Members not to steal my jeans). The problem was solved by quickly shoving all of this junk into the master bedroom, thereby ruining the effect of sophisticated elegance I’d been working on all week (the fact that Andrew had insisted Rebecca bring streamers and these were now draped all over the living room had already killed any such effect stone dead, but still). But, by the time Dom got back from returning the trailer we were all set for a good, old fashioned Amish6 bed raising.

It was about now that things started to come unstuck. Soon after we started puzzling our way through the mind boggling Scandinavian jigsaw of the flat packs, Andrew called to say that he was running late. And also that neither Lyndah, Katie or Emma would be coming, as they were all deathly ill with a variety of interesting illnesses. So it was just going to be him and Travis. This was rather annoying since by now I’d got used to the idea of the party and was actually looking forwards to catching up with everyone. Not to mention the fact that I’d blown $80.00 on various foodstuffs that I’d never eat in a million years7.

We continued building the bed. It proved to have all the usual IKEA flaws including several bolts being two short, most of the parts looking (but not being) exactly the same unless you examined them from exactly the right angle, and only one allen key included for a job clearly indicated in the manual as requiring two people. However it went pretty well – we only needed to take it apart and start again once and only had to leave out two non-essential bolts8.

Just as we were getting the end frames aligned Andrew turned up, bearing the news that Travis had been hit with a traffic fine for running a stop sign and was in such a foul mood that he wasn’t able to be sociable. So, from a planned attendance of eight, we were now down to four.

Dom and I continued with the bed, while Andrew and Rebecca relocated to the kitchen to get to work on the pizza. This went fairly well, until Andrew managed to take a chunk out of his finger with the brand new chopping knife I’d purchased at Foodland9 (I presumed that with eight people making pizzas I’d need some extra cutlery). This resulted in large quantities of blood being splashed around, and much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Hasty application of band-aids and aluminium sulfate eventually managed to halt the bleeding10, although Rebecca took over the main cooking duties to avoid us all getting much more iron in our pizza that strictly necessary.

By now we were putting the guard rails on the bed, and were coming to the rather uncomfortable conclusion that once the mattress was in place, there wasn’t going to be a lot of space between it and the ceiling. There was even some concern that getting the mattress in in the first place might prove a problem. Sure enough, when the time came we had to take the lightbulb out of the ceiling socket to avoid having it snapped off. Even then the mattress still got caught on the fitting and had to be violently prodded free. It finally fell into place, leaving an estimated maximum sleeping clearance of around two feet, not including pillows and blankets.

This was, let’s face it, rather funny. For those of us not having to sleep in the thing that is 🙂

So with that little debacle out of the way, it was time to chow down on the pizza and garlic bread. This part of the evening turned out fairly well, even if the artichoke hearts were not exactly the success some thought they might be. After that we just hung around talking, like you do, until we got fed up and decided to go to bed.

So, not too bad overall.

Plans to reschedule are complicated by the fact that Rebecca (who’s studying at Curtin for the next week or so, and hence staying here) started her course yesterday, and will require the evenings henceforth to be nice and quiet, management books on “synergy” and “coopertition” requiring a fair bit of concentration, lest one collapses into sleep over yet another case study of some fictional American fish market. All in all the best solution is probably to hold the house warming somewhere else, although this does sort of defeat the point 🙂

OK, I’m all written out now. Bye 🙂

1: This is of course a joke. What, me lucky? 🙂

2: Or highly psychic and even more inconsiderate.

3: They say it’s “taurine”, but that’s almost certainly just an industry code word forcattle urine.

4: When I crashed like the Hindenburg

5: Happily most of the council members have taken advantage of their positions to get lodging on the upper floors, and only descend to plebian ground level when strictly necessary.

6: Not that Amish bed raisings generally include pizza, cask wine and dixie-drumsticks in a biscuit.

7: Artichoke hearts, parsley in a tube, olives, etc.

8: We hope

9: I managed to do exactly the same thing yesterday while washing up. The knife is obviously a menace, and has been locked up in the maximum security cutlery draw under the sink pending further review.

10: And cask wine the wailing and tooth gnashing.

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