Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to NOT host a teenage Graduation Party------OR Why to stay Mormon

Yeah, this was a really stupid idea. Yeah.....I tried to tell everyone this in my one listened.

The good one died, only very, very minor damage (cigarette burn) everyone had fun......and......there will never be another one here again!

Setting The Scene
We used to be Mormon right......leave out the second 'm' and your getting close to our brain-power on all things related to teenagers, parties, alcohol and......danger! I remember the Book of Mormon having something about alcohol and the Lamanites being taken advantage of by the Nephites free booze ways....but nothing specifically dealing with teenagers of either the Nephites or the Lamenites.

Our son was graduating, alright his friends were, he was technically going back for that special thing known as 'the extra lap' to help improve his grades, recover from major knee surgery and generally, as many kids seem to need.....take more time to grow up.

He is a great kid, no drugs, no major police kind of issues, generally respectful towards adults (alright not always towards us) and he had never asked for a big party before.

He was smart.......he asked his mom......not me :)

I did not think this was a good idea from the start I live with an butt kicking super hero hottie....I seldom win these discussions. Yep....she really is a super hero.......wanta see? She is the one on the right. son, then 17 (now 18) thought he had it all under control in June 2011. He had it all planned! He would invite, maybe 50 people and things would not get out of hand....he promised! Every time I asked him about it...he was like 'dad, I am not stupid....don't worry....its all good! I am going to have body guards at the end of the driveway to make sure that no one uninvited shows up, I am letting my friends setup tents so that no one is encouraged to drink and drive......STOP BOTHERING ME ABOUT IT FOR PETE SAKES!!!!


Oh yeah....I almost forgot one tiny detail....the only day my son could have the party,  and really have it count was grad day itself. So the idea was...all his friends (50 tops right!) would show up after the actual grad, some in buses, some in their own cars etc. etc.

One minor problem, his graduation party was scheduled for Wednesday evening but.........he had (already delayed) major knee surgery on the Tuesday morning before the party or.....36 hours before!!!

You wonder why I thought this was a bad idea???????

He is a super hero too....just ask him "Mom and Dad....come big deal....I will be fine....I am a tough know me....I will be fine for the party".

Again I was against this idea....but....again......(look at picture above). the summer of 2010 at a finals soccer game, he hard torn both his left and right meniscus and completely torn his ACL at the same time. For those not knowledgeable about knee surgery....for a 17 year old teenager....this a pretty damned serious surgery.

Now, I also had numerous knee surgeries in my day.....being type A and all....and I went to work in a wheel chair the very next day. I did not last long as I realized at a big local Home Show that no one is going to talk to the salesman in the wheel-chair....but I still worked on my feet demonstrating through 4 months of casting due to an Achilles tear so.....I really did not have firm ground to stand on when it came to telling my son how stupid an idea it was to plan a party the day after his own surgery.

He is a tough kid.......he had been through lots of dings and bruises and always handled them pretty well, there was the soccer cleat to the face requiring nose surgery (he never let the ball in the net though!). There was the huge speaker to the face when he was smaller running around and around our older homes octagon like main floor. There was the other normal minor things that happen to kids....heck his friends laughed at him as the kid in grade school who ate motor oil and steel wool (hmmm I am now better understanding why its taking him five years to complete high school).

Before his major knee surgery, sports was everything to this kid, and it was a lot of fun being a parent to his athletic achievements throughout his life. Soccer and volleyball (volleyball was his dads sport in high school too so it was pretty cool attending all of his games) were his main sports of choice.....well....second or third choice. Since we purposely never taught our kids to skate.....there we no early morning trips to the arena. He loves hockey though.....ever the ultimate Toronto Maple Leafs fan.........he knows all the stats.....every single one. He knows everything there is to know about hockey, past, present and future......but alas.....his parents never taught him to skate! Bad Canadians!

The Party

Back to the one day after major knee surgery......Ben in crutches, in massive pain, on major drugs....knee still bleeding everywhere......we prepare for a big, crazy teenager party like we have never had before.

We are thoughtful about things, we talk to our friends the West who have two older teenage boys, they say.....'run for the hills....don't ever have that party'. I look at my super hero wife.......I get the 'dont you dare say a word look' and I...............decide to rent a port-o-let or Johnny-on-the-spot. This it turns out, was one of the few good decisions we made. I even rigged a light up inside of it, just in case the party went a bit........later then planned (oh do I feel stupid typing this now).

The night approaches, cars are showing up throughout the day with kids who drop off or drop off and setup tents on our large country property. Some even drop off cars? I began to scratch my head and ask what this is all about but......I really, really have no idea at all.

I did go and speak to my neighbour who is next door just to let him know our plans so that if it gets rowdy he will complain to us and not the cops. He was really cool about it all, said he had his boys go through all of this (now grown) and all I can remember him saying that stuck in my head was this

"Yep.....did it once...........only once....would NEVER DO IT AGAIN!". Hmmm I bad could it be? I wonder what he means by that?

Darkness approaches..........there are tents everywhere, with no-one in them, cars lined up on our lawn with no one around.....this was kind of strange I thought.....but oh well. I turn on the backyard lights in our finished and fenced pool area. The outdoor entertainment area we dreamed about was finally coming together after years of work, planning and tens of thousands of dollars in money that Gabi had invested of her own. We now had an amazing tropical paradise with a massive 20x40 in ground pool, a hot tub, a large outdoor kitchen with all the features you would see in the nice backyard magazines.....even a recent waterfall had been installed at one end of the pool.

But.....I thought......they wont have too much bad can it be? We have had more then fifty people here in our backyard when we were Mormons. Heck I think we had one summer barbecue with the church folk where there were at least 100 people and we never even had an outdoor toilet. That was a big issue as...well.....some of those nice church ladies.......obviously needed a bit more fibre in their diets.

Ten o'clock...still no one here yet? Hmmm like, how late do these parties start? Maybe nobody will show up, maybe we have over planned, and it was going to just be like the other parties we had here for our 14 year old daughter where maybe 20 kids showed up.

We had tables setup outside the fenced area for snacks and goodies to go on.....we had put away some things we were worried could get damaged, we had prepared for a big party where kids might be drinking......I was a bit worried at one point with the whole Facebook, social media world that maybe there might be more then fifty kids show up, but now.....10:15pm......those worries began to fade. All seemed well until........


Now...they showed up, dropped almost 80 people off...then left.....just left? I had no idea what was going on but was like....oh well, way more people then planned but....we can handle it.......right?

We had made a deal with Ben that if more the 70 people showed up, his 'bouncer friends' would send the rest away.

I went and talked with my son....he was barely mumbling, in pain, on drugs.....he had no idea about his friends who were supposed to be bouncers.....he did not remember saying that at all, heck....he likely barely remembered his own name.

As the cars kept coming and kept dropping kids, now already drunk from the school grad party off we saw kids all over our property carrying alcohol. I saw teenage girls carrying the hard stuff, the vodka, the whiskey........I saw....cases....and cases of beer.....I saw people stashing stuff in tents.....I saw things already...that began to scare me. Kids were everywhere I was guessing more than 150 now....and the cars....kept coming.

I saw people getting into cars and trying to leave...............this is about midnight or so now......and then.....I began to panic.......I realized that this party....was quickly getting out of control.

I saw my wife and 14 year old daughter breaking up a fight between two boys who actually seemed happy and drunk and were just....going to have a good old fight....just for fun!

I was quickly seeing my home....get out of control and my fears about an out of control party.......being made ten times worse then I ever could have imagined.

Luckily no one was swimming in the pool, but people were smoking on my wife's very expensive patio furniture.

I quickly told everyone no alcohol in the pool area and began to kindly enforce it....but that was difficult and people were beginning to get drunk and no one listens to some buddies parent at this point.

I take a quick look at my wife who I can see is finally, finally admitting that maybe....just maybe....this was a bad idea.

At this very moment a teenage girl who was obviously having a fight with her boyfriend, ran out of her tent to the street in nothing but her bra and panties.

OMG This is insane!

I was almost ready to go back to church...............NOT!

The Rescue Plan

I went into talk with Ben who is either in a drug induced world kind of freaking out...realizing that there is nothing he can do and that his home is being turned into a massive, crazy, alcohol mess.

Gabi and I have a quick chat.......get past the 'who's right and who's wrong' and have to we call the cops on our own party which is getting completely out of control we agree with Norm.....that its finally time to measures?

We quickly work together and formulate a plan.

Gabi will get every ones keys, label them, hold on to them. Norm will block the two sides of the driveway with cars so that no more can come into the property. They can park  outside but cannot come in. This also means that no one can leave without first passing a breathalyzer test, yep.....when we started drinking, not really knowing much about this stuff, I wanted to know......what I could I bought a fairly high quality tester.

Unless you were well below .05, you were not going to be given your keys and allowed to drive.

That was also easier said then done, as some kids tried to refuse giving us there keys, not trusting or knowing us, and others tried to get keys from us without taking a breathalyser.  Some got upset because they were supposed to be home by a certain time and we were not letting them leave because of drinking.

One kid who refused to give us his keys...gets stuck on the front of the lawn trying to drive through the ditch as cars were blocking the exit.

One parent showed up in a big truck.......just parking in the middle of the road, yelling at me as to why I did not allow her.....drunk son to drive home in his own car that was....contained? I said.....well.....what does it matter what I said to some idiot like that. She took her son in her truck and left the car to be picked up the next day.
By this time it was now about 3:00 am. Gabi was thinking it was time to try to start the process of winding down the party. Her friend Anna had showed up to help, who was more experienced with these type of parties then we were and those two, along with my tough assed smart daughter Alanna (14) were going around and trying to convince people to give them their booze to either be emptied or held until the next day when they went home.

This process was not going very well. For every bottle they removed....four more were appearing.

I was running out of steam and patience......I was trying to keep things from getting damaged, both humans and property. By four thirty I was done, Gabi was determined not to simply end the party, how do you do that at this point? But to simply let them, drink and party themselves out.

I went to 4:30 a.m. and hoped that my wife (her friend had left) could handle the party on her own at this point.

Well, when I woke up at 9:00 am they party had slowed quite a bit, some were still drinking when she was not looking, but she had worked the entire night, cleaning up bottles and messes and other gross teenager related type of things.

I went and started scooping a huge massive blog of barf out of the swimming pool. Ben was asleep somewhere.

The worst was over........the final cleanup and send off was to soon begin.

The sun was shining, no major damage had been done to the property or any ones person as far as we knew (only one cigarette burn in my wife's high end patio furniture).

No one drove home drunk, everyone seemed safe, bags of bottles and garbage. At the biggest point we counted well over...........

200+ drunk teenagers
My wife says now.......'yeah but it made for a great story to tell'

That's why I am telling it.

I have to agree with my neighbour, even my wife agree's



  1. This is why younger siblings, like Jake, will never be allowed to have the same kind of fun that an older sibling had. Parents seem to learn stuff. How's that Happen???

  2. Not that i would ever ever have this kind of party, but thanks for the warning! Learn to say NO. My kids think i'm a mean mom and i have the witch photo to prove it!

  3. What i noticed was that you never said that anyone's parents called you to see what was going to go on at this party, or even if you were going to be there. I hope i'm wrong, but these kids sure have permissive parents.

  4. My parents are still very mormon, and being that we are in the US where letting kids drink alcohol is illegal, there is no way this party would have ever happened... That said, my parents got a lot more lenient as they got older.

    With me (oldest), I wasn't allowed to go to sleepovers or parties of any kind. I didn't have friends over to my house at all. Even in high school, I had to come straight home after school and rarely went out.

    My younger brother ditched school and he and his friends hung out with my mom. They did have small (like 20-ish kids) parties at their house.

    Live and learn. :)
    Love you Norm!

  5. Wow, you ex-Mormons love to create these blogs. I guess what they say is true, you can leave the church, but you can't leave it alone.

  6. Weston thanks for your comment. There is some truth in it. It seems however to be more of 'the LDS church can’t leave us alone'.

    Family involed in a faith which promotes not communicating with those 'apostates' who dont agree with you. Distrupting families and adding great pain to our lives.

    Sending missionaries and members around to 'save our souls'.

    Promoting a culture of intolerance in regards to 'non-believers'

    I have moved on, much happier, more joy in our family, more success in career, then ever while I was a member. But I still miss the many kind, big hearted freinds that I had while in.......the NON-JUDGEMENTAL ones...that is :)

    Best of luck in your journey to truth. NT

  7. Hey, these tips are simply amazing on how to host a perfect teenage graduation party. You really have done a fantastic job. Looking forward to more posts like this. My daughter will graduate soon so I will also host a surprise bash for her at domestic LA venue. Your tips will be highly useful for me.