I don’t know how it happened, or for that matter even when it happened, but celebrating my own birthday just really isn’t all that comfortable of a thing for me. I love to celebrate others, not so much mine.
Middle of last week, my daughter called and shared that for my upcoming birthday, she’d like to come over and cook dinner for me.
Now, Jess has seen my kitchen, so I inquire “Uh, do you want to cook it here?”.
After she stops laughing (ah, she does remember), “No, I’ll pre-make some lasagna and we’ll just warm it at your house. You do still own a working micro-wave?” Well, it’s the same micro-wave that I’ve always had, one setting, one off and on button. The food is either melted with into the plate, or it is burning hot on the outside and still frozen in the middle. So, just slightly offended I reply, “Yeah…I still have a working micro-wave.”
She informs me that Shawn, her significant other’s work schedule is so crazy, he won’t be joining us. Now, I’m pretty comfortable with the fact that Jess, having lived with me, is pretty comfortable with my lack of housekeeping skills, so I’m a little relieved that I won’t have to do some crazy cleaning so that she won’t be embarrassed by lack of it. She goes on to share that she’s going to invite her brother to join us. I inform her that he and I are having lunch the day after the planned dinner, so I’m pretty sure he won’t be making it, and even if he does, he as aware as Jess is of my house….so all is good.
The day comes, and being the thoughtful guy that I am, I give Jess a call to see if I should stop at the store and pick up some salad to go with the Lasagna. Her response….”No, that’s ok, Aaron and Marie (Aaron’s significant other) are bringing the salad, Shawn and I are bringing the lasagna and we’ll probably be a little late.”
The conversation in my head: What? When did this happen? When was someone gonna tell me? Do I even own 5 chairs?
“Oh, that’s great, ah, so I’ll just see you all around 6:30”.
At 5:00, I’m racing home, within the legal limits, and it dawns on me, in the 10 years I have lived on my own, I’ve never entertained 4 others at my house at one time. Heck, truth be told, not even one other. I can only picture 4 chairs in my whole house, where do I get the 5th? What rooms can I stash all the crap into so the rooms my soon to arrive guests won’t go into? Wait, do I even have 5 plates? I have paper plates, I have paper towels, crap, that’s right, I have no napkins…oh well, paper towels sort of go with lasagna.
5:15: Turns out, I can crazy clean the kitchen/nook area, front room, and my one bathroom. I’ll fence off the rest of the house with that yellow police tape and tell them there’s an ongoing police investigation. No one is allowed in. Or will that freak them out more that the mess? Aaron calls, “Dad, Marie and I are at the store, do you have salad dressing?” Ok, Aaron does know his dad pretty well. “Good question. Let me look.” Gee, if one has to look to see if they own any, what might be there is probably too old for loved ones to have. “Hey, let’s just say I don’t have any and it would be great if you could pick some up.”
5:45-6:15: Turns out, I don’t own 5 chairs, but I’m able to locate 4, and my piano bench looks pretty good at the head of the table.
Turns out I do own 5 usable plates, that even sort of match. Paper towels, folded just right, look pretty good under forks and knives.
Turns out little elbow grease will do wonders to get the water spots off silverware and glasses.
Turns out, since I never really eat at my kitchen table, never really noticed the bare walls before.
Turns out, you can steal pictures and things from the rooms with the yellow tape and hang them on the nails that remain from the pictures hung by the previous owner. Turns out it looks better than bare walls.
Turns out, I think we’re gonna be ok, not looking to scary. Wait, when did those cob webs get in almost every corner of my house….crap.
Turns out, I need a new broom. Heck, I need a whole lot of everyday cleaning supplies.
6:30: Aaron and Marie have just arrived….Turns out, I don’t own a wine bottle opener.
6:45: Jess and Shawn arrive with lasagna for 50.
8:15: After a great evening of great food, even better conversation, I kick them out—it is a school night after all.
9:00: The dishwasher is running, and it turns out, what was there to get freaked about? I am now a little more comfortable with celebrating my birthday.
Thank you Aaron, Marie, Jess & Shawn.
So…..spend some time, just eating, conversing, and no freaking with the ones you love.….and for heaven’s sake…..have fun……Fred