Why do I torture myself?
Every holiday, I wait for someone to take some initiative and plan something. No one ever does.
Since no one invites me to anything, I then decide to take the initiative and plan something. I invite all of my inlaws. I invite my family. I sometimes invite friends, if I’m feeling particularly sociable.
I wait for people to reply. Since they have not invited me to anything, they must not have plans, right? I mean, we are family, even if only through marriages. And they wouldn’t just sit on their couches during a holiday, would they??
No one replies. Or, better yet, there are vague replies of “maybe”, “perhaps”, “we’re not sure what we’re doing yet”, etc. These replies are not given to me, but are instead made to my husband, usually via telephone at 1AM when he’s tired and I’m already asleep. If I’ve never mentioned it before, leaving a message with my husband is like writing it in invisible ink. If I don’t know to look for it, I will probably miss it.
Meanwhile, I pester my husband with queries about who is coming. Since I am not particularly close with my in-laws, whereas he talks with his brothers practically daily, it seems foolish for me to go out of my way to call and pester them about their intended attendance. I leave it to him. Maybe this is my fatal error. In any case, he reminds them. He asks them. He says they will let us know. I have to plan on at least some of these people coming, so I shop and begin cooking with absolutely NO IDEA how many mouths are going to actually need fed. The insanity has begun.
The day of the event, usually by happenstance, we talk to some of these lame-os people. The topic of my shindig comes up. (This is probably because I’m standing in the room, waving my arms at my husband and shouting things like, ARE THEY COMING? WE’RE EATING AT 5.) The people have generally made other plans at this point (to which I am not invited).
Meanwhile, I have spent two days cooking, with some frantic cleaning interspersed, and have run myself ragged trying to make the holiday a pleasant one. (Translation: feel sorry for me.)
I am now left with a refrigerator full of food that no one will eat.
An hour before the event, someone’s plans fall through. They are now coming. They are bringing XYZ with them. At least some of my food will get eaten now. This unfortunately means I must shower and put on my “I Am So Fricking Happy” face.
The people who have reluctantly agreed to come show up approximately two hours late. Everything is cold, of course.
I calculate the amount of time invested in this project:
- Hours cleaning: at least 3
- Hours cooking: approximately 9 or 10, since I have to try at least five new recipes and ditch at least three of them
- Hours crying: 1-2, depending on the magnanimity of the event
- Hours cleaning up afterwards: 2-4, depending on the magnanimity of the event
- Hours that pass before I forget I swore I would NEVER do this again: approximately 0.75
Today is a holiday. It is the Fourth of July, which is our country’s birthday. Everything has happened according to blueprint. Before 10AM this morning, my BIL and our friend, R, were vaguely supposed to be coming tonight. Last night, I pulled out 3 pounds of beef from the freezer and started thawing it to make burgers. R agreed to bring the hamburger buns.
At 10AM this morning, my husband talked to R and found out he and the BIL were going to go out of town for a party. Since they would eat the majority of the beef, it seemed silly to cook it all. I put it in the freezer for another day. I also planned some OTHER dish that didn’t require hamburger buns, since it was now too late for me to go out to the store and get any.
It is now 2:30 PM. My husband just called to say he and R were stopping at the store. They are getting hamburger buns. R and my BIL are now coming.
It would have been nice to know this information even an hour ago, at which point I would have NOT made the other dish and been able to go back to my original plan of hamburgers with very little trouble. I have already re-packaged and re-frozen all the meat that I had taken out of the freezer for this ordeal meal. I have already cooked something else. I have already spent at least a half-hour crying because I baked two cakes and made a potato gratin and fresh-squeezed lemonade, only to find out no one is coming to ooooh and aaaaahh over my lovely culinary efforts. And now even my crying was all for naught, since now these people ARE coming, and they WILL be here to ooooh and aaaahhh, but it still involved an inordinate amount of work and tears and flinging of dishrags and whatnot. Furthermore, it is now going on 3pm, and how on EARTH am I supposed to type all this snivelly drivel out and still manage to get the hamburgers thawed and the skewers skewered and the grill heated and the corn shucked and the plates out AND deal with my little girls who are bugging me about reading stories and making “peanut jelly and Aunt Linda Jam sandwiches”, which are equally important as any party menu? Hmmm???
I hope to post pictures of our Country’s Birthday Cake later, assuming, of course, my head does not explode.
(If it does, I’m sure it will be full of red, white and blue confetti.)