Martha Stewart doesn't Live Here
Now that I've become a professional slacker, I've taken up "entertaining." I recently planned a dinner for for our friends Steve and Larry, Jim and Pat. It was like directing a production of Noises Off! When it was all over, I wrote up a journal of how it all went... 

10 a.m. 

I have guests for dinner. I have typing to deliver to the homeless shelter. I get in the car and it's dead. I call AAA. Tom comes. He won't help me because Walt gave me his card instead of my own, and I'm not Walter. I convince Tom that we've really been married 33 years and I'm really an OK guy. He jump starts the car. He leaves. I back out the drive way. The car dies. In the middle of the street. With a bus coming. I manage to push it out of the way (but can't turn the wheel because of power steering, you know). 

I come inside and call AAA again. Gordon, the psychologist I work for, calls. Needs report typed IMMEDIATELY. Tom and his truck return. Jump starts me again. I head in the direction of the service station. He follows. I get to station, only the station I went to hasnít been there for 4 years (I donít get out much). I get back in traffic to go across the street to another station. Car dies again. Tom attaches battery so I can get to station. Mechanics tell me battery is fine and they will keep car to do assessment. They give me a $60 estimate of costs. 

I still have no food for dinner. 

I still have to type report. 

I walk home. 

The dogs have strewn garbage all over the house--very first time EVER they have done this. 

I r not a happy camper. 

Oh yes--and Toby hasn't stopped barking all morning. Now that he is able to walk better, he can get closer to me to bark. 

4 p.m. 

The report got typed. It was twice as long as usual (8 pages) and the tape quality was so bad that I could only type it using the hand-held recorder cradled in my shoulder like a telephone. 

The car got fixed (and they only charged me $10). I've had my day's constitutional, since I walked to and from the mechanic's (time I didn't have). I got shopping done--good Lord, I spent $105 on this dinner! Not all fancy food. Stuff like--I needed a new bathmat for the guest bathroom, new candles to match the tablecloth I bought yesterday, etc., etc. I gotta stop watching Christopher Lowell. 

Got the dessert made and in the refrigerator. The bathroom is done. A load of dishes is washing. Nothing left to do (with 2 hours to go) but finally get a shower (I fell asleep and slept in my clothes last night and never got "changed"). I was feeling like I was starting to get a handle on things and starting to breathe when Paul called. He needed to talk about his upcoming show and needed to use me as a sounding board. For 30 minutes. 

So now I'm pressed for time again. But you know what? The very best thing that happened around here was getting David's dog. The dog isn't really polite enough to be allowed out when there is company around, so we installed a pet gate to keep the dogs in the back part of the house. Well, I discovered at my dinner the other night that not only does it keep the dogs in, but it also keeps the guests out. Therefore, I'm not going to have a coronary about how the back part of the house looks. Whatever is done now, is done. It needs lots of work but....who cares? Dinner will be great. 

Now to hit the showers..... 

4:30 

So I decided to make life a little easier, use a feather duster I bought in a fit of nesting some time ago. I took it from the kitchen into the living room and dusted the two "good" pictures (which I know one of the guests really likes). It seemed to acquire a strange look. I discovered it had bits of feather attached to it. Then I discovered the damn duster is MOLTING, ferkrissake and I left a trail of feathers from room to room. I have tossed the feather duster and I think I'll just roll around on the floor. It's much more efficient. 

(Oh yeah; I seem to have lost the broom so can't sweep it up) 

5:15 

So I took my shower. Brought all the clean clothes upstairs. And I got dressed. Nice pink flowered skirt and pink shirt. 

Argh! The table is orange and black! It's one thing for the GUESTS to clash, but the hostess should not deliberately sit in pink at an orange table. I changed into something yellow. Iíve really gotta stop watching Christopher Lowell. 

11 p.m. 

Well, dinner is over. It was a wonderful evening. After I finally got dressed, I got the chicken started. Got the broth boiling for the couscous. Walt arrived home, without the nibbles I had e-mailed him to ask him to pick up. Steve and Larry arrived without the wine they said they were going to bring. First thing they did was to let the dogs out because they loved dogs and have obstreperous dogs in their own house. There went my neat cover-up of the back of the house! Put the couscous in the pot, turned off the flame so it could sit and "fluff," Pat and Jim arrived. They brought wine. Walt started pouring wine. I was in visiting with the guests. I hear Walt clanking pots around--he's letting the steam out of the couscous. I go into the kitchen to complain. He says "did you smell something burning?" Apparently in my haste, instead of turning the flame OFF under the couscous, I turned it UP! We rescued it in time, thank goodness. Only 1/3 of it was burned. 

The rest of the evening was mostly uneventful (i.e., disaster-free), except for when Steve spilled red wine on the new tablecloth. Wonderful time at dinner and we spent a lot of time discussing the power of words as applied to hate crimes through the years. I finally let the dogs in, since things had calmed down. Benjy rewarded me by peeing on the wall. Benjy was whipped and locked back up again. Benjy emptied the garbage and is cowering under the table now because he knows better than to try to cozy up to me. 

They left around 10:30 and I've blown out the candles. Now my counter, table, and sink are piled high with dirty dishes and pots and pans and Walt has just announced that he's sleepy and is going to bed. Sigh. 

Oh....and nobody went into the bathroom, so nobody saw the new rug or the cutesy little Halloween towelettes.

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revised 2/20/00
Bev Sykes