Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Fave: Buy the Pinata

Here's a bit of advice that I guarantee will save your health, marriage, and sanity.

Buy the pinata.

Just buy the pinata.

I can tell by the flummoxed look on your face that you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Let me explain. Then you too will know to just buy the pinata.

It started out innocently enough. I thought Lana would enjoy whacking a candy-filled pinata at her third birthday party. She seemed to really like the pinatas we'd see at the grocery store and liked them even more when she got to take part in the destruction of a small one at a cousin's party. She understands these orbs (or whatever shape, really) hold endless supplies of candy and small toys. I was all for the idea too, and then I saw the price tag of a grocery store pinata.


WHAT! $25 for shaped tissue paper?! Shaped tissue paper that will be destroyed, no less. 

I immediately axed the idea of buying one and confidently decided I'd make our own. After all, how hard could it be? How much time would it really take? Surely anyone can make a safe and effective pinata, right? I should have stopped thinking right there, let Lana pick out whatever brightly-colored pinata she wanted, put it in my cart and bought it immediately.

Nope, instead I went to our local dollar store, bought a few extra-large balloons and headed home to cover one in layer upon layer of wet paste-covered strips of newspaper. I figured a few layers ought to cover it up fine that night, and then the next night I'd quickly cover it in lady-bug colored tissue paper, give it some legs and antennae, fill it with candy and call it good.

Ha! I have never been more wrong.

I got two layers of newspaper on that night, but not before making a huge mess in the dining room with wet glue and paper strips. The layers did not dry as quickly as I'd hoped and the next morning the orb was still damp. The next night the paper had dried, but not really firmed up enough to make anyone believe it would still keep its shape when the balloon popped. So it got another layer, this one messier than the first two. It was then that I realized this whole pinata thing may be out of my league, and I asked myself, why didn't you just buy the pinata?

That would not be the only time the thought entered my head.

I thought the same thing when Dan brought home some industrial-strength spray adhesive that would dry quickly and allow lots of newspaper to be put on at once. It worked well, but the chemical smell was overpowering and I wondered that toxic fumes we were going to expose innocent children to.

When the shell was finally done, we decided to spray paint it instead of covering it with tissue paper because I couldn't find red and black tissue paper. (Granted, I only checked the dollar store.) The top and back were painted in a thick coat of super-glossy bright red spray paint. I was impressed. The red looked pretty dang awesome. It still stunk to high heaven, but a t least now it was starting to be pretty.

The next night, Dan sprayed the rest of our ladybug black. In theory, this was a good idea. In practice, the matte finish of the black was rejected by the high-gloss of the red, and where the two colors met, they fought. Black layer after black layer these two colors in their different finishes were in a constant quarrel. The end result was a dried crackle-layer. Why oh why didn't I just buy the pinata?

By that point, we were committed and the children were going to be whacking a crackled ladybug. We hoped the chemical smell would continue to dissipate and we'd be fume-free by party time. Dan cut the ladybug open and nearly passed out because of the fumes. (Ok, I may be exaggerating here. Dan will never admit to ever almost passing out, but it did really stink. A lot.) We dumped int the candy anyway.

Party time! Yay! It's a beautiful day - perfect pinata weather. All the children get ample cracks at the flying ladybug, but that big gal isn't budging. No one can get it to break open and we're all getting a bit restless. Finally cousin Allison hits it hard enough to break it off the rope, but it doesn't split open, even when it hits the ground. Dan has to pick it up and rip it apart. This kids are so excited to finally get their candy.

This should be our happy ending, right? 


Remember that chemical smell? Oh yeah, it's still there. It's kind of every where. Sadly, it's even in some of the candy. Quickly all the dads taste some samples of candy (that's sure chivalrous of them) and determine what is safe and what is not.  All the candy that is sealed in individual wrappers is fine, but the candy that was just wrapped and not sealed is not okay. So, some of the kids had to forfeit much of their stash to the trash can. Again, buy the pinata.

Let's recap, shall we:

Approximately 7 hours of work.
Week-long mess in the dining room.
A spot of glue on the table that STILL won't come off.
1 can of industrial-strength spray adhesive.
Endless aggravation and frustration.
Potentially poisoning small children.
Throwing out chemical candy.

What's the lesson? (As if you don't already know.)


Yup, just do it.

Shut up and BUY THE PINATA.

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