I’m lying on the couch in a state of paralysing inertia. I’m trying to work out how I will survive the week ahead and I have that feeling of dread that I may not be able to pull it all off.
Tomorrow Alfie has his final drama lesson of the term. Parents are invited to come and not only watch but also participate. Is there anyone out there who enjoys audience participation?
But attending drama class is the least of my worries. It’s Arabella’s 18th birthday this week and so I have to organise some presents. She did ask me to order her a Victoria’s Secret bikini but I’ve only just remembered and now it’s too late to have it delivered here on time.
There’s also the Valedictory Dinner. The dress code is ‘formal’. She’s reneged on our deal to wear the Sass and Bide formal dress. Typical. The dress has been lent to a friend who will parade it instead. So we’ve bought another dress but now she tells me she doesn’t have shoes and that she needs a spray tan and where exactly is she getting her hair and make-up done.
I’ve managed to find a place that will do both hair and make-up at 4.30pm on the day. We haven’t been there before but it’s the only place left in Sydney that can do it. Arabella wasn’t so sure. She said, ‘I want smokey eyes. Will they do smokey eyes?’
‘I don’t know. I didn’t ask what she has in her kit. Just tell her what you want when we get there’.
‘What about you, mum? Are you booked in?’
It was nice of her to give me a fleeting thought. ‘No, I’ll be doing my own’.
‘What are you wearing?’
Hanging in my wardrobe for almost a year with the swing tickets still attached is a Kate Spade dress that I was given. Cruelly given in fact because it is a Size 2. As beautiful as the dress is I haven’t been able to wear it because I’m not as tiny as Kate Moss. Last week I took it to an alterations business. I put the dress on and the women talked in Mandarin and gave the dress a few tugs here and there and then put in a few pins and apparently I can pick it up tomorrow. I understand they can’t stretch it to my size but it may be slightly less uncomfortable with a few darts taken out. So just like the princesses, I too will be wearing a dress two sizes too small.
After her birthday and the Valedictory Dinner there’s the Graduation Ceremony. That’s Friday morning. I also have an appointment in the city that day that despite its importance will have to be cancelled because, after the Graduation it will be ‘all hands on deck’ helping Arabella get ready for the formal.
Yes, you read that correctly. We can’t quite close the chapter on formals because as luck would have it, there’s another one. Arabella had a brief interlude at another high school. It was an all-girls school but not a princess school as in the girls don’t think it’s necessary to have a spray tan and get their teeth whitened before the formal; they just get the spray tan.
A few weeks ago Arabella was notified that past students were most welcome to attend the formal. ‘Why?’ I screamed. But Arabella was on an absolute high and already planning her outfit.
‘But mum,’ she said, ‘Did you know I’m not allowed to take someone? Past students can’t take a partner.’ And I said three ‘Hallelujahs’ and five, ‘Praise the Lords’ because that’s a saving of $120.00.
At 4.30pm on Friday there’s pre-formal drinks and Carl and I have been invited as well. After the drinks the girls are being driven to the venue then the hosts of the pres have invited Carl and I and the other parents to stay on for dinner. It’s all being catered for and there’s rumours the champagne will be actual champagne, as in French, so I absolutely have to be there.
On the Saturday night I’m hosting a dinner party. I booked it in months ago before I knew what sort of a week I might be having. I might have said I will cook them confit duck and I’m hoping that perhaps I didn’t because it’s just that we have Arabella’s 18th birthday party at 10am the next morning.
She wanted a big party; one of those parties that’s at a hired venue and for every 50 guests you need almost as many bouncers and security guards but over the past few months we’ve been slowly able to pare back her ideas so it’s now a Champagne Breakfast for her 25 BFFs. All girls, no boys and no bouncers.
She would like a rainbow cake. I’ve never made one before. I’m doing all the catering and the setting up and I’m not sure how I might achieve this given I have confit duck to prepare the night before that and pres with a catered dinner and real champagne the night before that and the feat of squeezing into a Size 2 dress the night before that.
And I’m going to be out a lot. Does anyone want to babysit Alfie?
And the day after the week is over, it’s the start of the school holidays.