Planning a Party? Cue the Chaos

Party Perfect

Twas’ an hour before the big holiday dinner and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except me as I was finishing all the cooking and baking. The stockings were hung, er, folded, carefully along with the rest of laundry mountain that had recently been cut down to size.

Perfect. We had reached the peak of holiday preparation, the pinnacle of bated breath and “any minute now” perfection. The house shone. The floors were swept, the pillows were plump, the air was fresh. All was peaceful and well in Holiday Host World. Everything was “perfect.”

As if on cue Mr. Wonderful chose to restring a fishing pole in living room. Naturally.

In another corner one small wonder decided to sprawl on the oh-so-perfectly arrayed sofa. Tossing all the pretty blanket throws and pillows, he arranged them in a slumped pile on the floor.

Someone turned off the soft jazz that was playing for ambiance in favor of something loud on TV.

My other small wonder removed the candles and decorative tray from the coffee table to make room for a craft involving glitter and glue.

Never mind that we were due to eat shortly, one (usually the youngest, cute one) wandered into the kitchen to forage for a snack. Crackers are always a good choice as they provide optimum crumb scatter in the shortest amount of time. The only thing that would make a bigger mess would be raw oatmeal or bread crumbs. I wouldn’t put it past them not to decide on one of those just for the challenge.

Cue. Finally, the crunch of gravel announced that our guests had arrived. This was the signal for someone to race to the guest bathroom as if on a mission. Their sole purpose appears to have been to lift the toilet seat, wet all the towels, and leave at least one cabinet door open. Classic overachievers, they went the extra mile and spit toothpaste into the sink. 

This is where I interject the fantastic family anecdote about the time Mr. Wonderful showered in our guest bathroom shortly before a big party. Hours later, at the end of what I felt was a fairly successful social event, my best friend took me aside to ask, laughing, if the men’s underwear hanging over the guest towel bar was a joke or some kind of a statement? She needed to know whether to chuckle or be offended. 

Yes, my friends, for the entire evening, as guests filtered in and out of our bathroom, my husband’s briefs had been hanging on our guest towel bar like an overly personal hand towel. Mr. Wonderful could only say, later, “So I DID take a clean pair in there? I wondered where I’d set those down!” Martha Stewart eat your heart out.

Telling this story from time to time I am invariably met by the opinion, always of fellow women, that I have such a wonderful, healthy attitude about these challenges. So accepting, seeing the humor and all. Wrong. Please don’t give credit where credit is not due. I am not naturally sanguine on the subject. I have come by this acceptance through trial by fire. 

War. Mr. Wonderful and I, normally disgustingly happy, spent the hours just prior to our firstborn's 1st birthday party screaming bloody murder at each other. At one point I would have cheerfully killed him if I could have figured out how to hide his body and explain his absence during the party. I also knew in some dim portion of my furious mind that he was likely to be the only one with the ability to assemble the baby’s little red wagon. That probably saved his life. 

I can’t be certain but I think we were fighting about chairs. Folding chairs versus stacking chairs maybe? There may also have been an altercation over balloons. 

That, then, is my memory of my son’s first birthday, me freaking out because I HAD A VISION and he wasn’t cooperating to bring it to fruition. I honestly don’t remember what we decided on the chairs OR the balloons, but I remember being frazzled and unhappy and wishing the whole thing would just be over. Hardly the basis for warm, wonderful memories. Happy birthday baby.

Today I accept the reality that parties, like life, are rarely perfect. Embracing a happy family holiday means embracing the HAPPY FAMILY – not perfection: fishing tackle, sofa sprawl, crackers and all.
When it comes to fretting over perfection (and guest towels) you’re wise to keep both brief.


Angela said...

Whew! I can relate to getting everything all perfect before family is to arrive and then walk back into the room to see that a mini tornado had been through while I was gone! lol

Kelsie From Our Country Home said...

Oh bless your heart GF I feel your pain...I am not sure if I want to laugh or cry during this post so I did both.

You surely are a few steps ahead of me because I still want to fight it out to the death to get everything perfect...even though at the back of my mind I know "they" will never allow it to be.

Oh and get this, my husband decided we would not host Thanksgiving this year, despite me being more that willing (and wanting to) because apparently and I quote "You are unbearable to live with the week before we host anything"...OH really...2012 I am going to surprise my dear hubby with lots more "hosting" mahahaha

Blessings Kelsie

Sandra said...

i can't stop laughing, this is hilarious, and you are right, happy family is the answer and let the mess take care of itself. when my kids were little, my perfectionist neat nut self cause them and myself much trouble. it took me years and years to figure out spilled milk did not matter at all. wonderful story