Sunday, December 16, 2007

A week of winter weather, lies, and mayhem

Katy, and I spent the better part of the last 5 days (well really, the last 1.5 months) alternating between "preparing" hard-core and "sweating bricks" about my mom and dad's 35th wedding anniversary party which was a surprise that we (just barely) pulled off last night. There was a messy house to clean and decorate, a lot of food to prepare, and the weather forecast kept us on our toes until the last minute.

My sister and I make quite a team and are a force to reckon with if you are in trouble or if we are in "party-planning" mode. When my parents had been married 25 years, Web was just out of college and since we were both gainfully employed and proud of our financial self-sufficiency, we threw them a surprise party for about 120 at a popular restaurant. We paid for hot and cold stationed and passed apps and an open bar. I can't believe that we did that, paid in cash, and also- I can't believe that was 10 years ago. (Sweet Lord, how the time flies by.)

This time around I asked to have it at our house (trying to save a little dough, ray, me.) I admit that if I was in this alone, the party I planned would have had a lot more potato chips and frozen food. My sister pretty much insisted that the food be "gourmet" and "made from scratch." (She a little crazy, but I have to pick my battles.) Once I was "on board" with the food plan, it was quite fun. I made homemade egg rolls and west-coast-weber bite-sized crab cakes. She made risotto cakes and tri-colored polenta squares (well really they were heart-shaped.) We had shrimp cocktail, chicken satay, scallops and bacon, and prosciutto-wrapped mesclun greens. There was bruschetta, a cheese and fruit spread and a fresh veggie basket that could have been photographed for a magazine. (She has mad food design skills.) There were 5 kinds of dessert tartlets, frozen oreo balls, tini eclairs and mini cream puffs (these last two were the only "store bought, defrost and serve" items we passed; and I made that purchase without telling her until after the guests of honor had arrived.)

The night was almost thrown into chaos when my parents got stranded at the mall 10 minutes from my house and wanted to come over 2 hours before they were scheduled to arrive.

That's right... there were so many people shopping at the mall yesterday (likely because the forecast today sent 2 days worth of shoppers to the mall on the same day, one week before Christmas) that the parking lot was completely grid-locked. It was "mall parking lot exits shut down," "people running out of gas b/c their cars were idling for too long," "security guards stationed at the doors telling people to stay in the mall and not go to their cars" grid-lock. When my dad called to tell me (2 hours before they were scheduled to show up) that they were going to start walking toward my house and I should get as close as I could to the mall to pick them up, I told Kt to turn on the TV b/c I was sure they were being lied to by the mall security guards and there was actually a hostage scenario going down. I had to make a quick decision to either let the cat out of the bag, or stall and so I told them I was also "stuck in traffic" and I would call to have them "start walking" when I was 20 minutes away.

Web said it best when she gasped, "If I had a dollar for every lie I told today, I would never have to work again." In the end, they arrived at our house a little harried, but only 20 minutes early and about 1/2 the guests were there to yell "Surprise." They were indeed surprised and the party organizers exhaled for maybe the first time in 36 hours. The guests were fun and complimentary. We heard all night long that we should consider opening a catering company... Which I think Web, Kt, and I would do in a heartbeat if it didn't involve working the worst schedule imaginable for the next 10 to 15 years.

We didn't take nearly enough photos of the event, but we had about 35 in attendance- people I've known my whole life (mostly) but rarely get to see. JB was passed around like a joint at a Dead concert and he didn't fuss even for a minute!

My parents were married when they were 19 years old and it is not only amazing that they are still married, but you should see them together. They are appropriately, but not unhealthily co-dependant. They are kind and respectful of each other, generally enamored with each other, and best friends. As they advance in age, they could maybe work on rolling their eyes at each other less, but for the most part, they have created a marital relationship that is honest and enviable. They found each other in high school and were perhaps well on their way to "forever" before they even thought about having kids, but they have made me proud to be the "bun in the oven" that sealed the deal. (Not that we need to talk about that publicly.)

Happy anniversary, Ma and Pa. We love ya!

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