A Luau To Remember: Party-Planning Tips For Parents

A Luau To Remember: Party-Planning Tips For Parents

If planning your child’s birthday party leaves you too exhausted to even say the word balloon, try this: Throw a backyard summer luau-with some help from the Web.

With parents increasingly strapped for time and feeling pressured to come up with unusual themes that all the other kids haven’t used before, sites like PartyCity.com can be a lifesaver. That may be especially true in the summer months when-try as you might to think of exciting outdoor activities to take advantage of the warm weather-all you really want to do when you get home is soak in a cool bath for hours.

Luaus definitely aren’t the only idea you’ll find. With its focus on providing innovative party themes and fun activities for kids ages 2 to 10, Party City also offers such tips as:

• Offer plenty of options to keep kids entertained. Fun activities for small and large groups include limbo, badminton, Wiffle ball, or even catch with Velcro Stik-Ums. Squirt guns are always a big hit, and a giant Sprinkler Ball is sure to make a splash.

• It’s easy to forget about the summer heat when you’re having fun. But it can take its toll, so keep kids hydrated with plenty of water in fun and colorful sports bottles, silly sippy cups or even summery plastic cups with crazy straws and drink umbrellas.

• In the warm weather, it’s hard to keep food and drinks cold. Invest in fun summer coolers that can be left out at the party area. This will reduce indoor traffic and still keep the goodies on ice.

As for those luaus, consider setting up kiddie pools and sandboxes in the backyard for some beach atmosphere, and serving tropical fruit smoothies with mini paper parasols to keep things cool.

For activities, let guests make their own Hawaiian shirts out of plain white tee shirts and fabric paint-and don’t forget to greet guests with a lei, a traditional island welcome. (You can find inexpensive plastic leis at party stores.)

The Web site is updated constantly to provide timely ideas.

The Margaritaville Birthday Theme Party

The Margaritaville Birthday Theme Party

For pirates of all ages, shapes, and sizes there is little better than a Jimmy Buffett themed birthday party for fun and play. Much more than good music Jimmy Buffett has created a lifestyle all his own through his music and with the enthusiastic support of his fans. His music isn’t limited to one genre and doesn’t appeal to one specific culture, instead the appeal is nearly limitless, which makes this a great theme for a birthday party that is open to an audience of all ages though a firm favorite for celebrating the big 4-0 as the result of “A Pirate Looks at 40.”

To pull off an excellent Margaritaville party blenders and ice are a must. The next thing you need to worry about is food. Some great food ideas for a Margaritaville themed party would be boiled shrimp, build your own cheeseburgers’ (in paradise of course), complimentary finger foods and fixings, and a little bit of sponge cake and/or fruitcake probably wouldn’t hurt things at all. They would definitely work wonders to the Jimmy Buffett approved theme of the party. If you are in serious need of inspiration for menu ideas check out the menu at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Café.

If you are in the right climate and the weather is cooperative a patio or backyard party is definitely the way to go. Decorate with tikki lights, shark fins, flowers, coconuts, and any other tropical themes that capture your attention and imagination. Be sure to put grass skirts on the tables you set up with the fabulous foods, and place a nice tikki bar for serving the required margaritas. You can also choose to serve non-alcoholic margaritas to the little ones if there will be children in attendance and have them available for adults that are driving or do not wish to partake. Have fun with the food and keep it appropriate for a tropical or Jimmy Buffett theme.

Music is a must for this particular birthday party theme. You simply can’t recreate Margaritaville without the sounds of the town blaring out across your speakers. You do not need to limit the music of the evening to Jimmy Buffett though he should play a prominent role in the entertainment for the evening. Other great sounds that will compliment the theme of the evening include the Beach Boys, Bob Marley, and Bobby McFerrin. Of course use your imagination and go with your taste. My personal preference would be a showcase of all things Jimmy Buffett for the evening but that doesn’t work for everyone.

Be sure to take measures to insure that everyone makes it home safely if you are serving alcohol and work to make sure that everyone has a fun and memorable evening in Margaritaville. You might want to include contests such as the loudest “Hawaiian shirt” for extra fun or the most memorable flip-flops. Remember the goal is to have fun and make sure that everyone attending has fun also. If you have the equipment Jimmy Buffet karaoke is a must and video recordings for future black mail and a recording of the revelry are also highly recommended. All in all, Margaritaville is a place that many of us dream of going to escape the every day. Wouldn’t it be a great theme for a birthday party that makes that day a little more special than the rest for everyone invited and not just the one celebrating?

The next time you are lost for a great theme to add to your birthday party theme inventory, consider the benefit to one and all of adding an evening under the stars and on the sand to your plans. Margaritaville is the perfect setting for a truly festive celebration no matter how old the pirate in your life may be. Just remember to keep the saltshaker in sight at all times and the party should go off without a hitch.

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Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party for Teens

Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party for Teens

Teens are often the most difficult among us to impress. Too old for many of the theme party ideas that often appeal to younger children and not quite old enough to appreciate some of the more entertaining adult party themes there seem to be very few options available for awesome teen birthday parties that will go down in record books. If you are looking for something a little new and different to do this year, try an Amazing Race sort of scavenger hunt for your teen’s birthday. Be sure to have interesting prizes and a gift for the birthday boy or girl to give in the name of the winners.

This is a party that needs to be planned ahead of time as permission may need to be given by parents for some of the more exciting scavenged items. It’s also a good idea to discuss this with other parents as they may have a few great suggestions for items that must be obtained in search of the holy birthday party Amazing Race grail. Keep the prizes simple and fun and keep the goals for each leg of the race challenging enough to be entertaining but something that can be accomplished without risking life and limb. Make sure that there is a little more to the challenge than having to go from one house or store to the next and buy, beg, or borrow items. Make some of the items things that must be carefully considered and well planned on behalf of the winning team. This makes the entire process more fun for everyone and a birthday party theme that will be remembered.

The most important thing to remember when planning a party such as this is to keep safety a first priority. If possible it is probably best to divide into teams and have one adult per team (even if the teens are old enough to drive) you definitely want to make sure that the parents of every teen involved is aware of what will be going on and that you have contact information for everyone. This can be a lot of fun, especially if you get the parents of your child to participate by issuing challenges of their own, or becoming a “pit stop” for the process. It’s a great way for the parents to be involved and a lot of fun for them as well.

Finish the event with pizza, cake, and video footage (that you planned ahead of time) of the festivities from one location to the next. It should make for an excellent night to remember not only for your teen but all the other teens involved in your Amazing Race birthday party. This sort of party is a little more costly then some others may be (unless you plan very carefully). You also might want to include a couple of crafty activities in the Amazing Race or as part of the scavenger hunt in order to prolong some of the events and hand out disposable cameras to each team in order to “capture” some memories and create a scrapbook of the Amazing Race. If you have a scanner and printer you can make a scrapbook for each guests to take home.

The most important thing about a party of this sort is that you use your imagination to keep things safe and entertaining for all involved. The Amazing Race/scavenger hunt party has the potential to be a special memory for your teen and his or her friends for years to come. Go with the flow and remember that it’s about fun. If something goes wrong for some reason just pick up and move on to the next event rather than getting bogged down in the details. One word of caution, plan to have plenty of food on hand regardless. A gaggle of hungry teens can go through plenty of food and pop in an amazingly short space of time.

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Classic Movie Birthday Party Theme

Classic Movie Birthday Party Theme

If you are like most adults in the world you search far and wide for a somewhat unique theme for the next great birthday bash. If you are at a bit of a loss this year, how about going with a classic movie theme. You can either choose one movie or let guests come dressed as favorite characters from individual movies and have a hodgepodge collection of music and DVDs available to set the theme for the party. You can also elect to have movie posters from the movie (if going with a specific movie theme) or a variety of great classics if going with the flow and letting everyone become their favorite classic movie characters. If you want to get really creative you can assign characters to guests and make an adventure of having guests try to guess the character and the movie.

The sky is the limit when planning a classic movie birthday party. If you are considering going with one specific movie however, please feel free to select from some of the excellent themes and ideas below.

1) The Godfather. I can’t think of a more appropriate birthday party for a good many of the men I know. It’s a great classic movie and the guys will have a great time going over their favorite Godfather lines all night. Have some great Italian music, Italian food, and plan for a night of fun. Don’t forget to have the movie on hand so that arguments over infamous lines and old scores can be settled.
2) Casablanca. This is great theme for a birthday party for the one you love or a romantic celebration such as Valentine’s Day or an anniversary. Have white table clothes, the soundtrack from the movie, an elegant dinner, and dress in clothes appropriate for the era. This is a classic movie and will definitely be a night and a party to remember.
3) Star Wars has finally attained status as a true classic and while it may be more modern than what many have in mind for those of the thirty something generation it is a great movie to incorporate and will make for a ton of fun that really is out of this world. Again the soundtrack and the DVD make lovely companions to a party of this theme and you can argue over favorite lines and make wagers accordingly. Wage war with blasters and light sabers and dress as your favorite characters or assign characters to various guests.
4) Favorite Movie Villains. This is another great theme for a classic movie party that doesn’t get used nearly often enough. I think we all have one villain that we can identify as a favorite rather it was one that scared us into spilling our pop or one that we can identify with to some extent it is great fun to celebrate life by exploring that little touch of darkness within. It also tells a lot about the people you call friends.
5) Old Westerns. For those who are looking for the perfect excuse to start a campfire and sing campy old trail riding music, there is little like a wild western movie theme to make those dreams a reality. You could even complete the evening with cowboy karaoke and s’mores. Just make sure you have plenty of your favorite westerns on hand in case you forget the lyrics.

Classic movies provide an excellent source of inspiration for all manner of wonderful ideas for themed birthday parties. You could even go with a John Wayne theme, World War II theme, Steve McQueen, or Clint Eastwood birthday party theme. Let your imagination run wild and have a great time making the plans and choosing the decorations for your perfect classic movie birthday party ideas. You never know when you’ll end up striking gold and creating the perfect night for the special someone you know and love.

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Unique Wedding Favors Everyone Can Appreciate

Unique Wedding Favors Everyone Can Appreciate

Include a touch of gratitude in your wedding plans with unique wedding favors. Whether at the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception, wedding favors can add a nice touch to the celebration. And best of all, these keepsakes show your appreciation to those who are closest to you. The old adage “It’s the thought that counts” couldn’t be truer. Whether selecting gifts for the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, or for anyone you wish to honor, it’s the thought that counts: Not the expense. There are ideal wedding favors to meet every budget big and small.

The bride can select from a variety of wedding favors that her ladies will cherish for years to come. In fact, shopping for the bridal party can be a lot of fun by capturing their personalities. From compact mirrors and antique jewelry boxes to pink leather hip flasks, or a silver plated tea set for the flower girl, there truly is something for everyone. The idea here is to personalize the gift with each recipient in mind.

Keep the groom involved. There are several traditional favorites as well as from some new and unique ones. Traditional wedding favorites include monogrammed hip flasks and barware, cuff links to match their tuxedos, and sterling silver knives and cigar accessories. Some unique ideas that might capture their particular personality include deluxe poker sets and personalized baseball bats and engraved luggage tags. The ring bearer might like the grown-up gifts, but he might also appreciate the silver plated planes, trains, and motorcycle piggy banks designed just for kids.

For parents, grandparents, the host and anyone else you’d like to recognize at the rehearsal dinner, any keepsake is appropriate. The main focus should be on personalizing the keepsake in two ways. First, engrave the recipient’s monogram or wedding date onto the gift. Second, select gifts that match the recipient’s personality.

First, there is a wedding rehearsal where the presiding officer instructs the wedding party on wedding-day etiquette. After the rehearsal, usually held in the evening on a weekday, everyone gathers at a restaurant, a home, or anywhere they’d like to meet for the rehearsal dinner. The bride and groom’s wedding party, close family, out-of-town-guests, and friends all attend. This is the perfect time to hand out gifts.

It’s customary for all the ladies in the bridal party to receive a gift. It’s also an opportunity for the bride to give them luxury items and trinkets. The bride needs to set the matron-of-honor apart by giving her a unique wedding favor. The bridesmaids traditionally receive identical gifts. And the flower girl, often needing a little encouragement herself, should get something especially chosen just for her.

The groom thanks his party in a similar way. The best man deserves something extra for all his hard work. The groomsmen can receive identical gifts, but this is not mandatory. And the ring bearer, less mature in years from the rest of the men, might like something chosen just for him.

The bride and groom may wish to extend their gratitude to the host of the rehearsal dinner and other close family members. The rehearsal dinner is ideal time to do so. And there are several unique wedding favors that will serve this purpose well.

Wedding favors at the reception can carry a particular theme throughout the party. If your reception will take place around the holidays, decorated wine bags or place settings can be a stunning visual. A heart theme around Valentine’s Day might be animated with red, pink, and white candles, hearts, and flowers.

Beach themes can add a lot of fun to the party. With picture frames that look like wooden beach chairs or with sailboat candles at each place setting, the vibrant colors of a beach theme can really liven up the reception in a memorable way.

Wedding themes help focus the planning process. And with the vast array of unique wedding favors available, the couple can reflect their own personality in the theme and favors they choose.

CAKE DECORATING THEMES

CAKE DECORATING THEMES

Everyone seems to enjoy cakes that are baked at home, it is a wonderful surprise on special occasions. When you are the one bringing the cake, you probably will want the cake decoration to stand out, and look a bit more professional than those you make for your family at home. I have put together a few ideas you may want to try.

Cake Decorating Themes

* Fun and activity: These cakes are full of color and whimsical design. The use of different shapes, Balloons, circles, stars, clouds, and other interesting designs will help to make your cake decorating the talk of the party. With the use of animal crackers, you could make a zoo or farm cake. Your imagination can take you anywhere.

* Say it With Flowers: The use of floral patterns in soft shades, are perfect for cake decorating. The addition of a few green leaves make this type of cake decoration an excellent choice for any special occasion. Flowers are great on wedding cakes, birthday cakes, mothers day cakes, and for other happy celebrations.

* A Little Romance: Romantic cake decorating is perfect for sweethearts day, valentines day, a birthday for a husband or wife, or a wedding anniversary. You can make any color frosting, including the favorite of the person or people you are baking the cake for. You can add hearts, cupids, or anything that will remind the guests what the celebration is about. Use your imagination and make it a little jazzy without going overboard. Just a bit of glitter or candies that sparkle should do the trick.

* “What’s Up Doc”? : Younger children (and some that are over 90) love cartoon characters as much as they love cake. This is why it is a great idea to combine both when decorating a cake for the birthday of someone who loves these whimsical critters. You can either draw them in icing and color them in, or use molds and fondant to make the characters. After they are made, they can be colored before they are placed on the cake. So invite Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Taz, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Garfield, Donald Duck, or any of the many cartoon characters that have stolen our hearts and funny bones, and are doing the same to our children, to the party.

There are some supplies that are essential when you are thinking about cake decorating, these are:

* A professional icing smoother or thin metal spatula. This tool will help you to cover your decorated cake with an even layer of icing, and to make the frosting very smooth so that it can be decorated. This will make the cake look as if a pro did it.

* The use of decoration Molds is a very easy way to make figures and objects to use in cake decorating. You will probably want to start with the basic shapes like circles, squares, or triangles, until you are sure of how to perfect the process. You can move from that to flowers, numbers, and characters. Some molds also have text so you can add a message.

* Icing bags are an absolute essential if you want to do any type of cake decorating. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to use it as you would an ink pen, except it is held with both hands. One hand is used to apply steady pressure on the upper part of the bag, while the other guides the tip to make the decorations.

* The use of frosting flowers that are already made for you is a less time consuming way to add beauty to your cake decorating.

* Edible glitter and colorful sprinkles are a great way to spruce up your cake decorating design. These small additions could be just the thing to give your cake that finishing touch.

* Edible color sprays are quite easy to use, especially when you are using a template. It can be the difference between a cake decoration that is blah, to one that has everyone complimenting you on your artistic ability.

* You can also print out edible photographs of the graduate, that fish that almost got away, or a wedding photo of the bride and groom, the way they looked when they were married to place on their 50th anniversary cake. The paper these edible images are printed on is also edible, so you can place the whole thing on the cake.

* A cake stand will make your creation stand out, especially a glass stand.

Birthstone Lists

Birthstone Lists

There are few gifts as interesting as birth stone gems. The best way to shop for these items begins with a list of birthstone colors. There are many resources available for this information and the list can be used in a number of different ways. This is true if there is a special birthday party in the works.

People love to use themes for birthday celebrations. Whether it is a child’s first birthday or a milestone “over-the-hill” event, a general theme is ideal. Why not opt for something very different rather than the usual trends that have been used and over-used over the past party celebrations.

A list of birthstone colors can be the inspirational vehicle for kid’s birthday party ideas. All you need is the color of the birth stone and you are well on your way to creating an unusual theme that revolves around a precious gem. Well, two precious gems; the birthstone and the guest of honor.

Once you have chosen the right color from the list of birthstone colors, you have the means to start preparing for a colorful bash that is truly unique. Begin with shopping around for an item that has the actual gemstone. These items are vast and there are a few options to consider.

For example, a simple piece of jewelry is ideal for most birth stone presentations. However, very young children and gentlemen might not want to add this kind of item to their collection of things. Why not look for innovative items that have birthstones in them? These include everything from keepsake boxes to money clips.

Once you have the central gift for your birthday party theme, you can use the list of birthstone colors to find decorating inspiration. These items include everything from tablecloths, to streamers to paper plates. The great thing is that you can incorporate just about any color into your theme.

Even the cake can be gem inspired. In fact, you can opt for a bakery to make a stellar creation that has a gemstone theme. You can also take the time to create a cake of your own with the particular gemstone in mind. Of course, if you have a January or July birthstone in the works you might want to use the red hues sparingly, especially when it comes to the cake.

Creating a unique birthday celebration just takes some imagination and some focused planning. A list of birthstone colors is a great place to start for creating a gem of a party.

Steps To Organizing A First Birthday

Steps To Organizing A First Birthday

It is hard to believe that a year has gone by. It seems as if it was only yesterday that you were bringing your baby home. But, you are now on a mission to give your little man or your sweet princess a very special first birthday party. At this age, children love things like color and noise. Remember that this birthday party is not one they will remember but one you will. With that here are some steps to consider.

• First pick the date, time and location. Determine about how many people (adults versus kids) will be there and an appropriate location for the party. At home is fine, outside is great. Larger venues work for lots of guests. Don’t pick nap time or right before as your baby is not going to be the star of the party for the right reasons here.

• Select invitations. Choose a theme that you enjoy too. Again, it’s more about what you like here.

• Send invitations out at least three weeks in advance, four if possible. Make sure to make a checklist so that you can count those that are coming and call on those that haven’t let you know.

• Décor! Here is where you can do a lot of fun things with color, themes and decorations. Balloons (Make sure no one chokes!) paper plates, tablecloths and banners work well.

• Games. If you will have other children there, include some fun games. If not, consider a collage of pictures to entertain your guests with.

• Foods should be easy to prepare, handle and eat. For just a few guests a full scale meal would be okay. Don’t forget the cake.

• Pictures. One of the best things to do now is to take lots of pictures during your party. Plan to do this so that you have ample opportunity to share and for scrapbooking.

To make your child’s first birthday memorable, consider hiring a professional planner to do the work for you!

Laser Tag Birthday Party

Laser Tag Birthday Party

As far as birthday bashes go, laser tag arenas are taking the birthday industry by storm. Gone are the days when only little boys are interested this is a game that anyone, no matter how big or small can have a great time exploring and makes for an interesting and entertaining birthday party idea. If you have a laser tag arena in your neck of the woods it is very well worth checking out as the perfect location for your next birthday party event.

The great thing about most laser tag arenas is that you do not have to sacrifice the idea of a themed birthday party or gathering in order to incorporate the laser tag action into the party. There are plenty of themed parties that work wonderfully right alongside the action packed time that can be spent enjoying life on the laser tag floor.

Now there are plenty of themes you can bring to the laser tag table with you but my personal favorite is that of a spy mission or secret agent. Most arenas will be happy to play along to your party needs if you are booking with them and let them know far enough ahead of time to make the proper preparations (provided they are reasonable and age appropriate of course). Check and see if they may have a few ‘secret agent missions, that they can incorporate into the festivities and make the decorations, cakes, and plates fit with the secret agent theme. You could also have everyone dressed in black from head to foot to pull off the theme even better.

Army men are still fascinating to boys of all ages. Whether the birthday boy in your live is 10 or 25 chances are quite good that he would not turn his bag on the idea of a camouflage birthday cake or dressing in his favorite camo for a rousing game of laser tag. It is quite easy at the moment to find all manner of camouflage plates, napkins, and party favors that will accommodate the army greens and be an excellent addition to the party (I wonder if you hide the cake on camo plates if the calories will still count?).

Kim Possible is all the rage on Disney these days and proves that girls can be spies too. If you have a girl that is interested in laser tag there is really no reason whatsoever that she should not have her birthday celebration at your local laser tag center. Girls definitely like to play with these toys too and might just prove to be superior in battle when all is said and done.

If you are interested in a theme that is out of this world for your laser tag festivities there is no reason not to pursue a space aged them with your laser tag maneuverings. A birthday party is supposed to be fun and you can pretty much do what you want in a venue such as this without the mess and after party clean up. Have fun and choose a theme that the birthday boy or girl will enjoy and appreciate.

When it comes to a laser tag birthday party you need to book early and make sure you have all the information you need when booking in order to insure that you will have the space you need when you want it. Check with policies on cake and/or other outside food as it may vary from one arena to the next. Be sure to check out food offerings there, as many will have a fairly decent selection of snacks for your partiers if that is your preference. The most important thing is that everyone involved has a great time. Sit back and enjoy the party while your guys and girls fight it out in the arena. Of course, if you are really brave you can venture into the fray. You might find a hidden talent and a happy birthday boy or girl.

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All You Ever Needed To Know About Birthday Decorating

All You Ever Needed To Know About Birthday Decorating

Whether the party is for a kid or for an adult one thing is certain, all birthdays are special! And planning a birthday party is harder than it sounds. It’s more than just making a guest list and buying the birthday boy or girl a present. It’s about making the day special as it should be, and memorable, and birthdays are the perfect time to show a person how much they mean. With all of those things in mind the next time you walk into a birthday party and see the lights, balloons, streamers or if you notice that the napkins match the plates, remember that someone spent a lot of time and money to get even the smallest detail right so that a loved one can have a great birthday celebration. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the one having to throw a birthday bash! So here’s everything you need to know about birthdays parties and decorating.

You know who your friends are and you know that family members will show up for the big day, so now you have an idea of how many people will be at this shindig. You call a caterer or visit the grocery store and get the things that you would like (and other too) to serve at the party. So within, give or take, two days you have gotten the easy parts done. Now it’s time to delve into the real trouble-maker behind any birthday party; decorating.

Now you may not think decorating is much of a big deal, after all they are just a bunch of streamers and balloons right? Wrong, every individual ornament or piece of decoration used usually contributes to the overall theme of a birthday party. And yes birthday parties, even ones for adults, have themes. And the theme you choose for the birthday party will help you determine what kind of decorations you will need, what style of decorations will compliment the area in which you are having the party and the color or combination of colors that the decorations should be.

At this point you should think about getting the most anticipated item of any birthday party and possibly the only decoration that a party cannot survive without, and that is the birthday cake. The cake can be as elaborate as you can afford or as modest, but what is most important is that the cake not only matches the other decorations and general theme of the party, but the cake should also reflect something of the birthday boy or girl.

Once a theme is chosen and you know the decorations you want to use, the next task is putting the decorations up in the most appropriate and flattering place. This may take a while and several opinions before the right spot is found for a particular set of decorations. But the work and decorating are not over just yet, because whatever food or candy you are offering your guests has to be conveniently available, as well as plates, cups and napkins. Remember, when serving anything edible always be sure to use clean dishes, and use dishes and serving trays that will make the food or snacks on them seem delectable.

Other negligible factors will depend solely on the age of the birthday person and the likes/dislikes of the same are dress code, alcohol, music (DJ or home stereo) and of course, the time the party is scheduled to start and its subsequent end. Above all, the ultimate goal is to ensure that the birthday person is having a great time and your guests are treated well. So birthday parties, though they often run smoothly and easily, are much more complicated than you might think, and the only reason birthday parties seem so easy to pull off on the surface is because someone is doing a lot of work below deck.