Fortunately this year I can thank Rampant Commercial Consumerism (in the guise of a car advert that ran simultaneously on television and newsprint) for providing me with some fairly glitzy vehicle wrapping paper. They slipped a whole sheet of the stuff inside the newspaper right before Christmas. It's actually quite nice wrap, too.
This year marks a new direction in the Birthday Cake Department. Since I am Chief Designer I get a lot of weird orders. Some suggestion I nix right off the bat (LEGO men that stand, anything over 18", too much black icing) and some I have to guide in slightly less sugary directions, but for the most part the kids can choose any kind of cake they want. I've made cakes that look like ferries, cakes that look like LEGO bricks, cakes with trains on them, and even cakes that look like Totoro, Oms (Miyazaki's Nausicaa) or hamburgers.
This year my instructions were to make a tall cake. A very tall cake. A cake at least two feet high. Which, if you are a careful reader, you will have noted is a direct contravening of the rules (no cake over 18"). That rule is there for a reason. Actually, three reasons:
1) the inside pieces totally lose out when it comes to icing.
2) the Chief Designer doesn't like to do dowels or supports on cakes. A cake over 12" high will require dowels or supports.
3) I don't have a knife that will cut a 24" cake. And I'm not sure I want to have one.
This year, instead of a 24" cake, I convinced the birthday boy to go for a DIY sundae, because it would combine brownies, ice cream, marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate, butterscotch, and strawberry sauces, and lots of candy in one go. I even took him to the bulk store and let him pick the candy. Well, perhaps pick is not the operative word...let's just say that I guided his hand fairly firmly past the Lindt Christmas truffles and towards the M&Ms and gummies. I'm what I like to call Cheaply Benevolent.
Happily, it all worked out. Right now the birthday boy and his pals are - there's no other word for it - gorging themselves on their creations. There's lots of laughter, choking, dribbles, spills, crunching, and jostling - a perfect mix if you're a teen-age boy.
How does it feel to be fifteen? I don't remember, but I liked the answer one of his friends had:
"I don't know! How does it feel to be 40?" (much laughter ensues)
Such a wit.