Guest who’s coming to dinner

They’re my friends, for pity’s sake, not the 60 Minutes Team. A modest service for six. Why should an event promising an evening of food, fun and frivolity involve an insanity clause?

When planning a dinner party, I invariably begin working myself into a state of emotional spontaneous combustion during the preceding week, resulting in a countdown to panic. Here’s how it works.

First, I spend days preparing food, cleaning behind furniture that hasn’t been moved in years, reorganizing drawers and closets, touch-up painting, as though trying to impress a new housekeeper with how little I need her. Never mind the fact that no guest will be analyzing the state of my laundry room. It must be organized!

Following the home-wide nit picking, Soirée Day arrives with the inevitable husband snit-picking. Luv just isn’t moving quickly enough for me. He’s slower than ketchup through a straw, albeit speedier than a glacier.

I leave a mere three, okay maybe four tops, tiny chores for him to do, such as vacuuming the entire house, rewiring a lamp, grocery shopping for last minute items, cleaning the patio and when does he dig in? Let’s see, what’s the group’s ETA? 7:00 p.m.? Ah, then, a 6:15 p.m. knuckle down seems more than generous. Luv does not do drugs. He has no need for counterfeit stimulation. His highs follow the adrenaline rush visited upon him from such adventures as:

1.nearly missing a connecting flight from Nice, France to Heathrow Airport. After the marathon cross-terminal sprint, throwing tips at anyone who could speak English and/or point, and my near coronary, Luv’s comment? “Wow, that was fun.”

2.repeatedly almost running out of gas on the freeway, miles from exits (did I say “almost?”).

3.exiting the house as guests are entering, arms laden with smelly trash, inviting them to “Make yourselves at home, be right with ya.”

Not I. Here’s my vision: Table set, food on extra-low simmer, all chores completed an hour early, sipping champagne and lolling on my settee while browsing a glossy periodical.

“Take a pill,” or “Get some counseling,” are Luv’s admonitions when my breathing becomes shallow and my OCD’s running full tilt. “I’ll give you some counseling. How about a pill for “GET A MOVE ON?,” I shriek.

Here’s another of his bright ideas. “Have a couple of glasses of wine and calm down.” If I drank a couple of glasses of wine, I wouldn’t be calm, I’d be calmatose.

Paradoxically, when a Parisian friend unexpectedly appeared on our doorstep for an overnight stay, no reservations were needed. We hugged him, dragged him in, invited him to take a respite on the divan while feverishly running through the house with a spray bottle, spritzing surfaces, then handed him a stack of clean linen and a glass of wine. Total outlay of time:В 10 minutes. VoilГ . We were three happy campers.

Ahh, at long last it’s 6:58 p.m. Turn on the music, light the candles. We kiss and apologize, calmly, smilingly answer the bell, guests none the wiser.


Deborah Rebolloso is a native Chicagoan, currently residing in Southern California with LUV, Snuggle Lee Butts, and Kali Ko (husband, cat, and cat, respectively). A.k.a. Deb Reb, and ever resourceful, she shrewdly decided to cash in on her “sassitude” and write humor and satire. She can be reached at  Or you can visit her site at

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