There were teammates from the 3 different soccer teams that Karin has played on. Classmates and school friends from junior high and high school. Theater kids from the Pex group that Karin participated in last year (and is in again this year as both mentor, scriptwriter and actor). Co-workers from her last job, even.
Everyone dressed up, including Karin. She was a ninja pirate :) There were kids dressed as royalty, in suits, in wetsuits, in pizza deliveryman shirts. Everyone got into the swing of the theme.
But there's definitely a difference when it's a party. A real party, with all that entails. Because many of the guests were not yet 18, we didn't serve much in the way of drinks, but it didn't matter since the vast majority of the guests brought their own. And because the party didn't start until 8, we didn't feel obligated to serve dinner. So we provided chips, popcorn and candy from the party's start, and at about 10 p.m., we served ice cream (the kind with 3 flavors) with sprinkles and caramel sauce. However, by that time the party was rocking so much that people didn't realize the ice cream had been served and very little of it got eaten. We won't run out of ice cream any time soon, let's just say. At midnight, we served hotdogs with buns, and they were scarfed down, all 70 of them, in a matter of minutes. :D
Because the theme of the evening was "kid's party", we had a bouncy castle, a mini ping-pong table, games to play and a fishpond, which is a staple at Swedish children's parties. You hang a sheet or blanket about 2/3rds of the way up across a doorway and provide a fishing pole with a clip on it instead of a hook. When the child goes fishing, they get a prize, usually candy, but we always have some sort of silly things on hand as well, like dirty socks, and in this case, condoms. They got quite a laugh.
The thing was, I didn't expect MY reaction to the actual party proceedings. I was anticipating that most of the time, all the kids would be out in the tent, talking or dancing. Or on the porch, or in the bouncy castle. And they were (at one point, I realized that they were dancing and singing, at the top of their lungs, in the tent to Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline, which cracked me up), but it was COLD out, and kids kept coming in the house. And staying in the house. And being very loud and very drunk, in the house.
And I was really, really not OK with it. :(
It's my own fault for not really thinking about that aspect of it. I don't like parties all that much, at least not the drunken, young-person kind. I didn't like them when I WAS a young person and since I don't drink, I REALLY don't appreciate that part of it at all. Karin had made it rather clear that people needed to be responsible and behave and that there was to be no vomiting in the house or the yard, etc., and I think overall that was the case.
Part of the problem was that even though we were home, we were mostly in our bedroom for the first half of the evening. I got antsier and antsier hearing all the noise in the house and not seeing what was going on, and also realizing that I really hadn't party-proofed the house at all. URGH. So I kept popping out and making the rounds, just to keep an eye on things.
Karin and I had gone around and warned all the neighbors a few days before and we had stated that the music would be off by 12:30 or so. They all were very agreeable and told us not to worry about it. But turning the music off, or even down, turned out to be easier said than done. We had to tell Karin, more forcibly each time, several times, that time was up on the music. We had made the mistake of not specifying an end time for the party, and of course, the birthday girl herself didn't want the party to end. She got mad at me and I got mad at her. Every time we turned the music down, it got turned right back up and I finally made Anders go out at 1:30 and take away the iPad that was running Spotify. Of course, 15 minutes after that, some idiot hooked his phone up to the sound system so I ended up having to confiscate that, too. Ha.
I guess we thought that after hotdogs and the music going away, things would sort of naturally wind down, and eventually they sort of did, as people got picked up by parents, or left or biked home. But at 3 a.m. the house was STILL full and I was about at my limit. I was tired and crabby and really, really just wanted everyone to leave so I could go to bed. With no end in sight, I finally did. I changed, brushed my teeth, and went to bed.
And then I just laid there getting madder and madder. I could hear that there were still a lot of people in the house and they were all being very loud, laughing and yelling. Karin was trying to shush them with no luck, and at 3:30 I snapped. I got up again, got dressed, marched out and told a group of very loud guys that enough was enough: shut up, get out, go home!
Three of Karin's guy friends crashed at our house for the night and I got a bit of revenge on them the next morning, at least. There wasn't much party debris in the house, because both Anders and I had been cruising around cleaning up all during the course of the party*, but the floor of the house was a disaster: spilled drinks, crushed chips, candy wrappers, tracked-in dirt and grass EVERYWHERE. I woke them all up, including Karin, at 10 a.m. and made them vacuum and mop the entire house. All 182 square meters of it.
The tent is STILL up, but it's because we borrowed it from one of Anders' friends who is traveling for work for 4 weeks so there is no rush, and we still have to return the bouncy castle, which has taken all week to get folded up, thanks to continual rain and dampness. Karin got many compliments on how great the party was, how well thought out, what a great theme, so fun, and I'm glad that she and her friends had a good time, but I can honestly say, NEVER AGAIN. Her graduation party in June will be a real let-down, if she's expecting anything near the magnitude of her 18th birthday bash.
*Drunken teenagers are total PIGS.