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We’re having a joint birthday party for my daughters today with my family and my wife’s family. Everybody is either sitting outside or hanging out in the kitchen, but since I helped clean up for the party I need to sit with my feet up to decrease pressure on my stomach. Neither of those locations meet those needs, and nobody was interested in sitting with me, so I said screw it and went up to my bed.

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We did the birthday party thing last night. Instead of doing the traditional party at this family entertainment place where you get to do 2 20-minute activities, eat cake, and then get kicked out ASAP, we did a weekday package where it was unlimited play for 3 hours per kid. It meant we spent very little time on cake and pizza, and just let the kids, aged 7-8, go have fun, and some parents participated as well (I did the high ropes course with all the girls, my husband played laser tag and arcade games with the kids). One of the moms was super uptight and wanted to know when we were opening presents and generally interrogated me, all while wearing her school ID badge all night because she's apparently a substitute teacher at my kid's school. Her poor daughter is very sweet but basically afraid of everything, which is not surprising given how her mom was smothering her and over-protective. I'm glad my kid is friends with her, but hopefully if she gets an invite next year (she was at last year's much larger party with the whole class), dad comes instead. Otherwise everyone socialized pretty well, which is surprising for a kids birthday party. We kept it to 8 kids, I think we will stick with that from now on.

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Isn't this why booze was invented?

This only works if you drink. For those of us who don't, it's all polite smiles, rotating through our list of stock interjection responses to everyone else's small talk, and lots of screaming on the inside till we're allowed to leave. If there're snacks, those help give us something else to focus on, but they're not a proper defense shield.

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And even for those who do drink, alcohol isn't always an option. I personally have a rule that I only drink when I want to, never when I need to. I don't want it to be a crutch. Although with my medical issues, alcohol might be on the no-no list forever,

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