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When we started this blog, I had a vision (albeit somewhat blurred) and goal to share all aspects of life as an entertaining couple. The good, the bad and the ugly would all share equal space. But, I’ll be honest. It’s often more fun, and less ego-deflating, to just share the good and sweep the bad/ugly under the rug (sometimes literally).
Which brings me to today’s post. Where I will share the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good. Once a year, a group of friends from high school gets together for one afternoon to celebrate the holidays and decades of friendship. Hosting duties, or privileges (depending on your perspective) rotate, and this year it was my turn to do the honors.
Our house, with its compact size, is perfect in just about every way. If it has any shortcomings, it’s that it isn’t really set up for entertaining large groups of people, at least if the entertaining requires the guests to sit down and eat. So, as the RSVP’s came in (and eventually reached 11 people), I had to get creative. The solution was to let our living room double as a dining room for a day.
We (and by “we” I mean “Jon”) temporarily relocated our living room furniture into the garage. In its place we set up two folding tables. I rented chairs (a very affordable way to solve the seating problem, by the way). And then we hung paper snowflakes to serve as a makeshift chandelier. I was very pleased with how it all came together and will definitely go this route again when our guest list exceeds our 6-person table.
I set the table the day before. I got all of the grocery shopping done. I made the quiche crusts. I put together the favors that would be at each place setting. And my ice mold was ready to go. By the looks of things, I was ready.
The Bad. Because this group lives a couple hours apart, there is a bit of a drive required for many (or most) of us. So, our get-togethers are midday affairs. Which means brunch or lunch. I had decided that I would make quiche and scones, and then serve fruit salad and some store-bought pastries. Even with what seemed like a fairly simple menu, I completely underestimated my ability to get it all together by noon. Especially after I overslept (by about an hour) and the first group arrived about 30 minutes early.
So, there I was, scrambling to get everything ready. I was so happy that I had followed my own rule of allotting some personal time to get myself ready and I was at least showered and dressed when the first guests arrived. Thankfully, Jon was helping. A lot. But he was preoccupied with getting the music started. And dealing with the smoke alarm.
The Ugly. I’m still not sure what caused it, but while baking the quiches, the oven filled up with smoke. Which I didn’t realize until I opened the oven door to check on the quiches. The smoke came billowing out, and within minutes the smoke alarm was screeching. Which was moments before the first guests knocked on the door. We welcomed our first guests into a smoke-filled kitchen to the background noise of a deafening, insistent alarm. Jon was trying to get the alarm stopped while I was busy opening doors and windows trying to get the smoke out.
I was afraid to open the oven door again, so I just turned off the heat. That temporarily solved the smoke problem but caused the quiches to get overdone.
When I opened the oven door a second time, to save my quiches, more smoke spilled into the kitchen. Just as the other guests arrived. We repeated the scene now with a kitchen full of guests, Jon trying to get the dang alarm shut off again and me practically screaming as I offered juice and Prosceco to my friends. If I hadn’t been such a huge mess of nerves, I would’ve thought all of this was quite amusing.
Back to the Good. From the chaos came one of my fondest memories of the day. As the alarm howled and the smoke drifted, reunited friends casually stood around, drinking mimosas and chatting, seemingly oblivious to the frenzied bedlam that raged around them. At that moment, I was grateful for this room full of women and our enduring friendships.
And, now, a couple of weeks later, I find the whole thing very funny. As they say, no good stories come from boring moments.