I’m in the midst of retirement party preparations… I literally have a legal pad of lists that I’m clutching at all times. This event is a beast of the first order. Seriously. I’ve never hosted something of this magnitude. So you know the 40 people I made my father cut off the original monstrosity of a guest list? Well, he verbally invited them anyway. Plus some. There are now approximately 145 (or more?) people invited to my (smallish) house in three days. He actually referred to the party this evening on the phone as “open invitation.”

Freaking out. Not kidding.

I feel like I’m shooting in the dark with the preparations — do I cook for 60? for 80? for 100? I literally have no idea how many people are coming. I have a fear of running out of food… to me, that looms as the ultimate party-hosting failure. But how the hell am I supposed to know how much food to buy when I don’t even know how many people have been INVITED?!?

And my father has reached a new level. He is insane. I’ve taken to calling him Retiredzilla. I honestly feel like I’m handling him like you would a crazy wedding-magazine-gorged bride…. careful to not hurt his feelings, pretending to listen to his suggestions while trying to figure out a nice way to shut him down. I don’t know why I’m trying so hard to make him happy. This is me. This is me striving to make my father happy. This is me perpetually failing.

This past Sunday, he came over to the house. This is the most my dad & I have talked in months… we’ve gone from exchanging voice mails every 2-3 weeks to him calling me AT LEAST once a day. He situated himself on the sofa & pulled out a notebook & his checkbook. He wrote me check for $200 (for which I was very grateful), then proceeded to tell me that he had increased the guest list by 50 or so people (for which I was not very grateful). He then informed me that he had some suggestions & ideas, & then began flipping through his scribble-filled notebook. The conversation went something like this:

So I was thinkin’ maybe we should have a karaoke machine. And how ’bout a guest book? You know, so people can write down their email addresses & you can send the pictures to ’em. You ARE gonna have somebody takin’ pictures, right? And how ’bout a doorprize?… to, you know, keep everybody interested. I was thinkin’ that we could maybe have a guitar just propped up somewhere, just in case somebody wanted to sing. And durin’ my speech, I want to give out awards… you know, funny awards. Here, lemme read some of ’em to you… [reads awkward little blurb]… whatchoo think? You think that’s funny? I was thinkin’ I could maybe talk for 20 or 30 minutes. Could we rent a port-a-john? I’ve really been thinkin’ about this PA system, & I know you don’t think we need one, but I think we might. And we gonna have a lot of sweet tea, right? Because all my friends, they like sweet tea. I’ve got some cards that I want you to read from some people who can’t come… whatchoo think? And don’t worry, I’m gonna talk about your mama, but I’m gonna keep it light-hearted.


And you know the most twisted thing of all? He said that he appreciated “everything I’m doing” tonight on the phone, & it almost seemed worth it. I thought I was done with this “little girl trying to make her daddy happy” thing…

Good god almighty, please let me get through Saturday.