The Party’s Over…

Journal excerpt dated 12/10/2006:

Sunday evening — our holiday party went off last night without a hitch… almost… Yep. You guessed it: Daphne. I’ll let you just conjure up your own scenarios for a while, before I go any further.
Okay. Ready? Chris and I were on top of things like you can’t imagine. The entire day was timed out and rehearsed. Food delivery. Check. Liquor delivery. Check. Party rentals. Check. Tom Crosser arrival from Chicago. Check. Audrey and Dan arrival from New York. Check. Flowers picked up and arranged throughout the house. Check. And I must say they were pretty spectacular. Chris loves pulling the arrangements together, and has a great eye for pulling various flora types together — this time he used a mixture of evergreens, white lilies, holly berries, red Gerber daisies, and assorted greens in various-sized arrangements throughout the house. Beautiful. So amazing what flowers can do for ambience. But back to the list… Dog and bird fed. Check. Dog taken out. Check. Caterers arrival and walk-through of food prep and bar set-up. Coat rack, hangars and coat-check tickets set up. Check. Chris, Alan, and Tom dressed, ready, and back out into the kitchen/living area to start lighting candles. Check. Perfect. 7:15 PM. Audrey and Dan come from the hotel at 7:30 PM. Other guests start arriving at 8 PM.
“Naomi (she and her husband Philip were the the caterers for the evening), can we cover the dip for the crudite? It really smells strong.”
“No problem.”
“Thanks.”
Then I grab Daphne to take her out one more time, while Chris and Tom drop some ice off in the neighbor’s across the hall who have graciously allowed us to use their freezer space while they are traveling for the weekend. I come back up and say: “Okay, lights up. Daphne’s butt was wet when I got her downstairs.” For those of you unaccustomed to what that may entail, it usually means that there is a puddle waiting for us somewhere in the house that will need cleaning up, because she has beaten me to the punch. So, all hands are on deck and we’re scouring the house for the evidence. No luck. Nothing there. Whew! In the clear.
“Naomi, that brie is really strong, isn’t it?”
“I think it’s fine, don’t you?”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right. Just a heavier cheese than usual.”
Then I look down and see some tell-tale marks on the floor that should not be there after the thorough cleaning we’ve given the place.
“Nobody move!”
“What?!?”
“Nobody move. Daphne pooped and someone is tracking it all over the kitchen and dining room!”
Are you laughing, yet? Good! Because we sure weren’t! Miserable. Here we are — completely showered, dressed, guests practically in the elevator, and we have a “defecation alert!” So, I’m in the kitchen scouring the oriental runner closely, knowing that that has been a chosen spot for Daphne before, knowing that the color scheme hides many flaws, and also knowing that Daphne has probably been under Naomi’s feet the entire time, hoping for some food to drop! Score! Poor Naomi has stepped in it and it has coated both her shoes and been tracked all over the rug without her even knowing… Chris also discovers that his brand new dress shoes are also contaminated, so the rest of us drop and do a sole-check quickly before contaminating the rest of the floor space. We grab Naomi’s shoes — and to her credit she doesn’t miss a beat and continues to work in stocking feet like that’s the way it’s supposed to be — and Chris takes her shoes to the utility tub and starts scrubbing and scouring. I’m on my hands and knees scrubbing the carpets. Tom is on his hands and knees wiping up footsteps off the hardwood floors. And Naomi and Philip keep working like this is the most normal pre-party action they’ve ever seen.
At 7:28 PM, Chris hands Naomi her shoes and finds an open window to cool off in front of — and breathe some less tainted air. God love him for washing Naomi’s shoes. I seriously could not have done it. I finish Fabreezing every inch of living space. And Naomi puts her shoes back on when the door buzzes that Audrey and Dan have arrived!!! Looking back? Serious comedy. In the moment? The dog was going down! We did get a good laugh with Philip and Naomi, as they acknowledged, that yes, this would be the first time they had ever stepped in dog poop while preparing food for a holiday party. At least we gave them a memorable evening! And they were great, too. So helpful, and Chris and I were able to enjoy the party — and many of our work associates, both senior and junior — as a result.
And the rest of the evening was really a great time. It’s always hard playing host to a lot of people who only have you or your spouse or the both of you in common. But we just kept each other in sight, and nodded or waved when we needed to make an introduction. Chris and I spent the evening introducing each other to people who knew us from stories at work, but have never really met in person. And we also enjoyed introducing our friends/associates to one another. It was a large gathering, but still felt just intimate enough not to be overwhelming, which was our goal. One of the great things about having it catered was that none of the guests congregated in the kitchen — which is the norm at any party — but actually congregated around the dining table and in the living room. As the kitchen area was being utilized by Naomi and Philip, guests had to actually mingle around the food stations, and, as a result, it all got eaten! No leftovers, except for some of the cheese platters that we ate tonight for dinner. Love that! We were worried about the right amount of food, and in the end, we did all right. We mixed it up with food from the catering company and food from Costco. Worked out great! We probably had around 50 – 60 people throughout the evening, and it was really fun. Feels good to have it over with, but we definitely had a good time doing it.
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