On hosting a birthday party 17 hours after arriving home from a week at the in-laws (800 miles by car each direction, featuring some snow on the way there and much snow on the way back):
Upon arrival home there is unusual motivation to vacuum, wipe cat vomit off the floor, put clothes and Xtide gifts in sensible places and get the laundry into the wash. The house feels righted to order more quickly than usual. It's also nice to see people and have bits of adult conversation (peppered between running around trying to get the smalls drinks, food and entertainment). Winton's birthday, for the first time, is not subsumed by our annual Christmas migration.
The feeling of the room swimming under you, you are that tired. The cats being pissed off, far too literally. The fact that no matter how well prepared I think I am, and even if the main food items need only fall out of the freezer and onto a baking tray, there's always far more to do than I reckon on. And the kids: being tired, squablous, bickersnitty, and, in Clara's case, prone to nose-bleeds, they took up a lot more of the morning than I had been planning on. The prep was, for the last 60 minutes, a swift sprint around the house with dirty glasses and frizzling hair.
One of Winton's gifts was a playdough dentistry set. Make fillings fun? Whose idea was that? Adult scorn aside, the children are downstairs mixing the white, red (tongue) and silver (amalgam) playdoughs irretrievably and with great contentment.
Oberlin is nice, by the way. If you need to stop in Ohio sometime, stop there. Even under snow and ice it is a college town with good dining options. Also, its hotel (The Oberlin Inn) has apparently let some of its rooms to the college as piano practice rooms. It was nice to wrestle with the over-stuffed car in the hotel's icy parking lot to the accompaniment of snatches of Rachmaninoff. . . . and whiffs of weed.