TheyвЂ™re my friends, for pityвЂ™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. HereвЂ™s how it works.
First, I spend days preparing food, cleaning behind furniture that hasnвЂ™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, SoirГ©e Day arrives with the inevitable husband snit-picking. Luv just isnвЂ™t moving quickly enough for me. HeвЂ™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? LetвЂ™s see, whatвЂ™s the groupвЂ™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, LuvвЂ™s comment? вЂњWow, that was fun.вЂќ
2.repeatedly almost running out of gas on the freeway, miles from exits (did I say вЂњalmost?вЂќ).
3.exiting the house as guests are entering, arms laden with smelly trash, inviting them to вЂњMake yourselves at home, be right with ya.вЂќ
Not I. HereвЂ™s my vision:В 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.
вЂњTake a pill,вЂќ or вЂњGet some counseling,вЂќ are LuvвЂ™s admonitions when my breathing becomes shallow and my OCDвЂ™s running full tilt. вЂњIвЂ™ll give you some counseling. How about a pill for вЂњGET A MOVE ON?,вЂќ I shriek.
HereвЂ™s another of his bright ideas. вЂњHave a couple of glasses of wine and calm down.вЂќ If I drank a couple of glasses of wine, I wouldnвЂ™t be calm, IвЂ™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 itвЂ™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.
DISCLAIMER:В NO HUSBANDS WERE HARMED IN THEВ MAKING OF THIS COLUMN.
Deborah Rebolloso is a native Chicagoan, currently residing in Southern California with LUV, Snuggle Lee Butts, and Kali Ko (husband, cat, and cat, respectively).В A.k.a. Deb Reb, and ever resourceful, she shrewdly decided to cash in on her вЂњsassitudeвЂќ and write humor and satire.В She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgВ В Or you can visit her site at http://www.DebRebollosoHumorMe.com