Compare/contrast: Thursday night versus Friday night . . . Thursday night I met some friends for half price beers at Charlie Browns and the furniture was out so we sat outside and watched people walk by on the street and though some of the conversation scared the shit out of me (I recently hurt my knee and when two guys traded war stories about knee surgery and double Achilles ruptures, it made me really nervous . . . maybe because I've just turned forty and I'm wondering how long I have left with the soccer and the basketball) it was generally a relaxing evening . . . Friday night, Alex had a birthday party from six to eight PM (who schedules a kid's birthday party on Friday night? and my kids go to bed at 7:30 sharp!) and Catherine had a graduate class so I had to take him and we forgot the present, and Alex had a bit of an accident in his pants when we were at the softball game but didn't tell me until we got to the "Jumping Jungle" and before all the jumping began he gave his friend Trevor a bloody lip with an air hockey paddle and during the jumping and sliding the music was loud enough to rattle my fillings and during cake I had to chastise Alex for licking lemonade off the table (though a mom told me I should never discipline a boy at a birthday party, but that's ridiculous, you shouldn't be licking a table, even if you're six and when I tried to make some small talk and told her how my kids were generally uncivilized at the dinner table she suggested that we "mix it up" and eat on the floor or wear a funny hat . . . seriously, that's what she told me) and then we drove home and Alex fell dead asleep in the car but I had to wake him and give him a shower because he was disgusting from his accident and jumping jungle sweat and that is the last night party he is going to until he learns to drive (and once he learns to drive, he's going to drive ME to and from night parties).

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