Water Wars, Part 2

64 Arts

Have you ever been part of an epic water balloon fight?

Growing up we lived with my grandmother (and at other times lived right across the field from them, or so I’m told–I was a little too young to remember that part) before moving to Florida when I was 6. The house was built for them, their retirement house, Maw-Maw’s dream house.

It had the massive double doors that let into an entryway with a formal sitting room to the left and a beautiful staircase to the left leading to the second floor Maw Maw never wanted but Paw Paw found this staircase at a hotel that was being torn down and, basically, brought it home. I think that’s kinda cool.

The point of that little digression was to point out that we had the major front entrance that no one ever used. Except Mom when she’d go out the mow the lawn. We always used the door off the driveway, through the breezeway that led into the breakfast nook.

But outside the real front doors was this massive yard, studded with very tall trees dripping with moss, pretty much the perfect look for a southern home. It was there we had our war.

Mom doesn’t remember this. She swears that Maw Maw must not have known about this, either, because there’s no way she would have allowed it. But I know I didn’t hallucinate it–I remember it vividly and I never hurt myself in my imaginary lives, so, yes, this happened.

It was all the cousins (they’re older than me) and various others. There were hundreds of water balloons pre-filled and stored in coolers around the yard. One, in particular, was on a tree stump sorta in the middle of things. I remember this because I was going for a refill and the lid clunked me on top of the head–see? If I hurt myself it really happened.

Now, I don’t remember why we were doing it. I remember having long sleeves and long pants on, so maybe it was chilly outside? I don’t remember if there was a goal or teams or what. It was probably just a free-for-all.

The thing was, though, it happened. And it was fun.


Some tips for launching your own epic water balloon armada:

  • Choose your balloons based on their use: games you could use a thicker balloon to make it last longer, but if splash value is high on your list, go for the thinner balloons made for this purpose.
  • Fill a BUNCH of balloons ahead of time. I think the cooler idea was inspired (not to mention might keep them nice and chilly–extra nice on a really hot day. Mesh bags, laundry baskets and wagons also make good containers for transport.
  • Consider asking everyone to wear white or light-colored clothes (that they don’t mind ruining) and tinting the water in the balloons with food dye–it’s like a paintball fight without the guns!
  • Be careful not to overfill your balloons or they’ll pop even before you touch them!
  • Have a game at the end of the day’s activities to collect all the little bits and pieces of busted balloons with a prize for the person who collects the most. You could count the pieces or use a digital scale to weigh them out to save time. Prizes could be anything from a package of new balloons, a special beach towel–embroidered or appliqued with the date of the event?–or a paper-mache balloon trophy!

Water Wars, Part 1

64 Arts

Mom never liked guns.

I suspect that the cap gun I had around age 5 was courtesy of my father (and that year’s trip to Disney World and time spent in Frontierland). When my brothers came along and being the supreme ruler of our humble roost, Mom didn’t buy the boys toy guns or allow friends to gift them, either. Not that this stopped them from constructing massive machine gun-like structures out of lock blocks.

The exception was water pistols, but only the ones that looked nothing like actual guns: neon colors, space or sci-fi looks or the big reservoirs on the top that signified “this is not a real weapon.” At least not to anything that wasn’t my hairstyle.

It seemed like the bigger my brothers got, the bigger the guns got, until one year they each had one of those super-soakers with the backpacks that held even MORE water and were easily refilled by submerging in the neighborhood pool.

These may have gone missing for periods of time. I’m just saying.

And then, in high school, some friends of mine thought the appropriate response to my long-distance boyfriend and I sitting out in our hotel hallway and talking (since boys weren’t allowed in the girls’ hotel rooms and vice versa and, yes, ALL we were doing was talking, sheesh!) was to “cool us off” via a spare water gun someone had brought. This prompted a bit of a feud for the weekend but things did settle down and my birthday that year featured a gift of 4 mini water guns all labeled with little in-jokes between us.

I came across one of those guns when cleaning out my office, recently, and wondered if I was the only one of the 4 of us to remember.

the 12th Art: Water-Spewing Games

64 Arts

And it’s at this point I give the esteemed list-maker a sidelong glance as if to say ‘the hell?!’

That knee-jerk reaction aside, let’s think about this for a moment.

  • Water… water is good, it’s nice and cool and when we’re in the middle of a hot summer it prevents drought, cools our bodies and quenches our thirst. I’m good with water.
  • Games… games are fun, they provide entertainment value and can often get us moving. Movement is a good thing for our health. I’m good with games, too.
  • Spewing… Yeah, see, this is where you lose me. I mean, it has the word ‘ew’ right in there, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s icky; brings to mind spitting and other nasty habits. Nope, not good with spewing.

But don’t think I’m skipping out just yet!

Sure, the dictionary definitions of spew don’t really help (though the one about clay trimmings does put me in a more creative frame of mind), I’m going to take some of the less objectionable, roll them around in my head for a moment, and come up with projecting. Know what it reminds me of?

When you were a kid, did you ever play in the sprinklers on a hot day? Maybe you were a little better off and your family or neighbors had one of those toys that hooked up to the hose and sprayed water through little whipping tubes coming out of some alien-like head? Maybe your pleasures were simpler, just the spray of a hose, maybe during a car wash?

Drinking water straight from the hose. Letting in run a bit to get the sun-warmed stream out of the way of the cool, refreshing water from the pipes underground.

The smell of wet grass on a hot day–not dewy, not rainy, not fresh-cut, just green and clear and bright. The squeak of the blades under tiny, smooth, wet feet. The inevitable slips and slides (and the toy of the similar name). The shrieking at the sudden cold. The swimsuits that never completely dried all summer long.

A Superbowl Party for the Non-Fans


It’s no secret that I like to plan parties. (Sometimes the planning is even more fun than the execution, but only rarely.) Unfortunately, my imagination and notebooks sometimes contain more ideas than I can always accommodate on the calendar. Such is the case with this most recent party idea. Rather than hoard the idea for a year, I’ve decided to share it and hope that if someone uses this idea, they let me know how it goes!

The Commercial Bowl

Not everyone is a football fan but it seems a shame to waste a perfectly good opportunity to party. In order to make the most of the day, why not concentrate on the other fun to be had: the incredible (and sometimes deplorable) commercials that run in multi-million dollar spots throughout the show.

For this to work best, you obviously need a way to view the broadcast plus a DVR to watch and record live television simultaneously. Start the party an hour or so into the game, giving ample time for commercials to accumulate before you begin viewing them. It’s also not a bad idea to track down previous year’s commercials (some commercial collections are available on DVD or you can watch the cable networks for the best- and worst-of shows that air leading up to the big day) for some additional viewing.

Decorate the party room(s) with all sorts of branded items. Raid the party store for party supplies with major labels on them. This is also an excellent opportunity to put those empty boxes leftover from Christmas to work, with their logos readily apparent. Or you could take a page from an old Sabrina, The Teenage Witch episode and make up your own parodies of brand named items to emblazon the walls (I recall Popsi and Butterthumb with particular amusement). Think maximum product placement and then ratchet it up another notch or two.

Serve a variety of finger foods, just like any other Superbowl gathering. Chicken wings, sub sandwiches, chips and dip, etc. Feel free to spruce up each item, depending on your guest list, with your own twists on old favorites or make it easy on yourself and pick up deli platters with absolutely zero guilt.

Because watching commercials isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, make a game out of it by having guests vote on who they think will have the most ostentatious offering before-hand and then take votes on the winner after. Give guests personal whiteboards (purchased or easily created with special paint) and dry-erase markers to be the judges of each commercial. Add in some other games, like the Adverteasing Board Game to round out the fun. With the right group of people this party will be a lot of fun!