I did this panel over the weekend, while manning my author’s table at Farpoint. I bought one of the Canson comic strip drawing pads and used it for this week’s episode. The Canson pads are expensive – at least twice what I pay for the Strathmore pads I’ve been using – and they only have 14 sheets, not 100+. However, the advantage of using the Canson comic strip pad is that each page comes pre-lined and measured, so I don’t have to draft out my panels, I can just start drawing. Also, the paper is Bristol board, not cheap sketch book paper. I love cartooning on Bristol board. It’s smooth and very sturdy. But most important, the Canson pad is small enough to be portable, yet large enough to make drawing easy. And since this week’s and last week’s panels turned out so well using this paper, I think I’ll be willing to suck up the expense and buy more Canson pads.
Now onto today’s topic of discussion. I’ve been wanting to draw this particular strip for a long time. I had the idea back in April of last year, and held onto it until now, just a few days before Princess’ birthday. Turns out this week’s strip is very appropriate for two reasons.
First, I suck at children’s parties. Really. I hate the bloody things. Not because I don’t want my kids to have fun; I do want them to have fun. But I recall the days when a children’s party was simply a matter of inviting a few kids over, serving cake and ice cream, opening a few presents, letting the little monsters run amok for a bit, and then sending everyone home after an hour or so. That’s what it was like when I was a kid. Now that I have kids of my own, the rules have changed.
These days, no children’s party is considered a success unless it’s a ginormous affair with a giant inflatable moon bounce in the backyard, catering by Chic-Fil-A, and a visit from Spiderman. I’ve been to children’s parties where there were approximately 30 kids there, ranging from 6 months to 12 years of age. There are usually a lot of adults there, nearly two for every child, invited to attend along with the kids. There’s cake, soda, and lots of chicken nuggets for the kids, with beer and barbeque and fancy appetizers for the adults. And then there’s the mountain of presents coming out the wazoo, with lots of screaming and fighting occurring as the birthday child opens them. It’s madness, I tell ya, and not the kind I can get into. And every year the parties get worse as each set of parents tries to outdo the last. I don’t like paying an arm and a leg for a kid’s party. I don’t like forking over mega-bucks to feed a pack of adults I don’t really know. And I don’t like having to clean my house just to watch it get trashed again by screaming hordes of kids (and the alternative of renting a venue for the party leaves me cold too; those places are damned expensive and usually not worth the money). Thus I suck at hosting kids’ of parties because honestly, I hate them.
For the last few years I’ve allowed myself to be suckered into the whole big bash trend, but not this year, which leads us to the second reason why the above cartoon is apropos. I killed Princess’ birthday party this year. Killed it flat out dead. You see, Princess got grounded at the beginning of the month for not doing her schoolwork, and I told her that if she didn’t get the problem straightened out by the time I needed to start planning her party, there would be no party. You can guess what happened. It takes time, more than I have to spare these days, to reserve a venue, write up the guest list, send out the invites, arrange for food (do we make everything or waste a bundle on kids’ catering?), hire a clown or magician or other character, etc. I told Princess that if she wasn’t going to take the time to do her school work when she’s supposed to, then I didn’t have time to prepare for a party. And that’s true because I’m spending more time that I can count supervising her completing the unfinished school work at home.
So no party. Instead, I somehow managed to schedule eye appointments for Princess and I on her birthday, AND I managed to schedule the entire family for dental appointments on my birthday a few days later.
Do I know how to party, or what?
Happy birthday Princess! Even though you didn’t get that big party you wanted, you know I love you.