Because it wasn’t exciting enough to go to the movies on Friday afternoon, followed by a gala here at the house, followed by a sleepover Friday night, followed by some serious time spent down at the pond welcoming Spring (via the time-honored tradition of capturing minnows, splashing through streams, talking to the geese, and attempting to build your own dam), yesterday I took Chickadee to a fancy tea party.
We drank iced tea from goblets and ate all manner of fancy finger foods, and I know they were fancy because each delicious morsel was tinier than the next, and everyone knows that fancy food is miniature. The only BIG thing in the whole place was a gigantic mold of pimento cheese loaf—this is Georgia, after all—but despite my sincere wish to bury my face in it, even that had to be scooped off in little bits and put on our plates to go with little crackers.
The tea party was a charity event, and we’d been invited to go with a friend and her daughter. It was a windy day and the four of us were surprised to discover that the event was, in fact, being held outside. Well, no matter. We’d simply sit down and… oh, honey, it’s okay, I’ll get you another napkin! No, don’t put your drink down, it’ll… oh, that’s alright. We can get some more. Yes, I know your hair is blowing in your face. Yes, I know MY hair is starting to look like Tina Turner’s. Sure, I’ll just sit on your hat so it doesn’t blow away anymore. Here, just eat some more scones and try not to whine too loudly.
Both girls got chocolate on their fancy dresses in the space of about ten minutes, and while my friend told her daughter that it was no big deal, don’t worry, I had to bite off my tongue when it happened with Chickadee. See, the other little girl is only five, and accidents happen. Chickadee is ten and was fooling around and sticking her fingers in what was supposed to be dipping chocolate for strawberries. I managed to get out between my clenched teeth that I would try to wash it out at home.
The sun would hide behind a cloud and the wind would billow up and we’d all start shivering—we were dressed in our spring party finery, after all—and then the sun would reappear and the wind would die down a little and the girls would start whining that they were too hot. That was about as much fun as it sounds.
At one point my darling ray of sunshine, paragon of manners that she is, dipped her hand into her glass of tea and pulled out an ice cube. She then proceeded to rub it all over her face. I didn’t witness this, but was talking to someone and then turned back to behold my beloved offspring sitting there with a drippy face, looking like she’d just stuck her her into the punch bowl.
I’m not going to say the 5-year-old was BETTER behaved, necessarily, but let’s just say it was VERY CLOSE.
Anyway, there we sat, nibbling our fancy snacks and trying not to blow away, and in addition to the traditional tea party activities (drinking tea! eating tiny food! trying not to be blown off the lawn!) there was also a silent auction going on. We’d walked around to check out the offerings when we got there, and once we were done eating and chatting we decided to walk around again and see if there was anything we needed to bid on.
Now, I’m of the mindset that a silent auction—where local businesses have donated goods—is a great place to scoop up a DEAL, and you know that I’m all about the deal. Sadly, many of the misguided women present at this event seemed to believe that since it was for CHARITY, blah blah blah BLAH, it’s a good place to drive the price up and twice as much as you would, otherwise. THE NERVE.
This meant that I needed to STRATEGIZE. There were several items I would’ve happily bid upon if it wasn’t already clear that they were going to go for entirely too much money. I crossed those items off my list of possibilities immediately. Then there were several items you couldn’t have paid me to TAKE, so those were crossed off as well. What remained were a number of things I believed I MIGHT be able to obtain for a decent price, and would like to have, and so Chickadee and I set about making slow, lazy circles around the auction area to keep our eye on those items.
About half an hour before the auction closed, we bid on a couple of things. One of them was a “fiesta basket” consisting of a gift certificate to one of our favorite Mexican places, some fancy hot sauce, a couple of t-shirts, and a big bottle of Cuervo Gold. I added the price of the gift certificate to what I thought the tequila cost and bid that amount.
“Wow, Mama, you bid a LOT for that basket!” Chickadee whispered. “You must really like tacos!”
“Yes, I am a huge fan of tacos, as you know,” I told her, while petting the tequila and dreaming of margaritas. This is called setting a good example for your children. (Kids, don’t do tacos! Erm, wait.)
We continued looping around and at a table containing various services I noticed that ONE prize pack had a lot less information than the others. As a result (I suspected), the bidding was much lower. Surely, I reasoned, this prize would be just as good/expensive/whatever as the others… but perhaps because the presentation isn’t quite as good, people are reluctant to bid.
I wrote down a bid on the sheet, and whispered to Chickadee, “This would be a great anniversary gift for Otto if we win this one.” She nodded.
We continued looping around. We checked my friend’s progress on her bidding for a year’s supply of dog food. (Don’t laugh, this was a VERY HOT ITEM.) We went back to sit down, but Chickadee decided she wanted to keep an eye on “our items,” so she went back over to hover around and see if anyone else bid.
The organizers rang a little bell and announced that bidding would close in ten minutes.
I walked over to join Chickadee. She stage-whispered to me that we’d been outbid on both items.
“You have to bid again, Mama!” she had a gleam in her eye and I could see that she’d been bit hard by the competitive spirit.
I checked the Mexican basket. Too rich for my blood. I checked our other item. Hmmmm. I could still go up. I bid again. Chickadee bounced with glee.
We continued to stand there, you know, all casual-like, just looking around… and someone else walked up and bid on OUR ITEM. The nerve.
Chickadee tugged at me, “Bid again! Mom! Hurry up, it’s almost over!” I checked the price. Hmmmmm.
“Okay,” I finally relented. “ONE more bid. But this is it.” We bid again. And we stood there. And someone came along and topped our bid.
“MOOOOOOOOOM!!” Chickadee was frantic. “You have to bid again! Just a little bit more! I’ll give you some of the money out of my bank! You HAVE TO! You need it for your anniversary! For Otto! MOM!”
“Sweetie, the auction’s just about over. And really, we don’t need to spend the money.”
“Yes you DOOOOOO!” She was near tears, which was ridiculous, anyway, but that little voice in my head whispered, “it’s for CHARITY,” and then another $10 seemed a silly thing to quibble over.
“Fine, ONE MORE BID,” I agreed.
“I’ll write it!” she chirped, and she walked around to the front of the table and began writing down my name and bid. She wrote swiftly, then once the basic information was down her pace slowed. On our phone number, she suddenly seemed unable to write more than about a number every five seconds.
“What are you doing?” I asked her.
She giggled. “Nooooothiiiiiiiiiing…” she replied, continuing her sloooooowwww transcription.
Do you know what a 10-year-old girl in a pink party dress writing a bid down is, at a silent auction? She is a COMPETITION DEFLECTOR. What human in their right mind is going to walk up and tell a kid to hurry up, get off the sheet, they want to make a bid? Several people wandered our way while I paid a lot of attention to a neighboring item and none whatsoever to the little girl developing writer’s cramp. No one asked her to move, and so no one was able to make another bid. We won.
(Now before someone gets all huffy with me, her entire protracted bidding process might have taken a minute or two. This was right at the end of the auction. And I assume that someone who was TRULY DYING to outbid us would’ve said so.)
Chickadee was elated and I thanked her for her questionable but ultimately successful methods. And we came home with… something I can’t tell you about because IT’S A SURPRISE.
Oh, I came home with something else, too. A RAGING SUNBURN. Because I am a moron. And because I haven’t yet figured out that I live in Georgia.
By the time we got back to the house I realized that my shoulders were sizzling, and so during my afternoon of various chores I went ahead and, while putting fresh sheets on our bed, took off the heavy comforter and put on our summer bedspread. We’d been meaning to put the lighter cover on for about a week, now, and I figured ESPECIALLY with my skin all crispy I’d want a lighter cover.
Then last night we left the bedroom window cracked, as we do, and the temperature dipped waaaaaay down, and as a result I spent the entire night huddled against Otto under the bedspread, freezing to death, yet wincing any time my hot skin came into contact with anything. It was… not the most refreshing night’s sleep I’ve ever had.
Thank goodness I had the thrill of victory to bolster my spirits. That and a warmer set of pajamas could’ve made for a perfect evening….