Jul 122017
 

The mostess guests, that is. I’ll explain in a bit.

First off, we were asked to pet sit Buddy, our younger son’s miniature golden doodle, while he and his family vacationed up north for the week of July 4th. Buddy didn’t require entertaining, just constant petting. He’s so needy, but he’s easily pleased.

Simultaneously, our Firstborn and family came up to visit during the week of July 4th. They are six in all: Mom, Dad, and four sons ranging in age from 10 to 18. I was assured they wouldn’t require entertaining—and obviously wouldn’t need constant petting. All they wanted to do every day is swim in the lake, ride in the newly refurbished pontoon boat, and fish, fish, fish.

I had a plan. I had a schedule. I had rib-sticking dinner menus. I had confidence that everything would go smoothly. Obviously, I was delusional.

I cooked up a storm prior to their arrival so I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen cooking during their visit and missing out on all the fun. I made a gallon of slow-cooked pulled pork barbecue in my Ninja. I slaved over a 9×13 pan of Old Settler’s Beans. I whipped up a 9×13 pan of Party Potatoes. I assembled a huge pan of Firstborn’s never-fail favorite: Seven Layer Salad. MG pitched in with his own recipe for coleslaw.

For good measure, MG and I visited Gordon’s Food Service to score items to sate the appetites of teenage boys—no small feat. We purchased a pan of classic lasagna and a huge bag of meatballs. We also bought a sweet potato soufflé to go with a smoked ham we picked up. I tossed a huge box of assorted individual size chip bags into out cart. Just to be on the safe side, we also stocked up on pita bread to make individual pizzas as a backup should all else fail.

Our first planned event was a beach party cookout in honor of our eldest grandson who graduated high school in mid-June. We planned to do hot dogs, the beans, the slaw, chips, and watermelon. It was much more than the eight of us could possibly eat.

In an obvious and pathetic attempt to score Brownie points with my daughter-in-law, I suggested we invite her brother and family who live in a nearby bedroom community to join us to celebrate with the graduate. He and his wife also have four children. I figured I had provisions enough to feed six more without running out.

My DIL was very pleased and said she would call them to see if they were available. There was a slight hitch. No surprise there. The best laid plans…

DIL’s brother said they would love to join us but they had visitors of their own—his wife’s brother and his family. They have three young children. My DIL asked me if it would be all right if they all could come to the cookout? If so, they would contribute to the menu.

Oh. My. God. I never included that many extras to feed in my plans.

Er, um, uh—damn. What could I say without being a party pooper, a lousy hostess, and the meanest mother-in-law on the face of the Earth? ::gulp::

No problem. Tell them they’re all welcome. The more the merrier—and tell them to take swimsuits and beach towels with them.

Let no one call me a party pooper or a lousy hostess.

If only I had kept on cooking ahead of time. From six more to feed, the impulsive invitation grew to eleven more to feed. I was fairly sure the beans and slaw would stretch far enough to feed the whole crowd, and we had plenty of pop, but I knew immediately that I didn’t have enough hot dogs and buns on hand.

Without shifting into panic mode—on the surface anyway—I cornered MG and sent him to the local market for more hot dogs, hot dog buns, and chocolate milk.

I am happy to report that there was enough food to go around. Only one cup of the beans, two cups worth of slaw, and a few dogs and buns were left over. The little locusts lay waste to all but four small bags chips.

I thought that was the end of it and I could relax from then on, but noooooo. All the kids had such a good time swimming and fishing prior to the cookout that they all wanted to come back the next day to fish with their cousins again.

Er, um, uh—damn. What could I say without being a party pooper and the lousiest hostess on the face of the Earth? ::gulp::

No problem. Tell them they’re all welcome. The more the merrier—and tell them to bring swimsuits and beach towels with them.

Let no one call me a party pooper or a lousy hostess.

The kids arrived kind of late in the afternoon, very close to dinner time actually. Maybe too close. So close that Firstborn approached me and asked if I had enough for dinner to feed his nephews and their cousins too.

Er, um, uh—damn. What could I say without being a party pooper and the lousiest hostess on the face of the Earth? ::gulp::

No problem. Tell them they’re all welcome to stay for dinner. The more the merrier.

Let no one call me a party pooper or a lousy hostess.

In a strategic move that would impress the most decorated Pentagon chiefs, I switched the scheduled lasagna dinner on the menu with the five gallons (thank Heaven I cooked that much) of barbecued pulled pork, the party potatoes, the leftover slaw (to top the pulled pork sandwiches), and the remaining bags of chips. The locust boys devoured about a half-gallon worth of the pork, all the chips, and left only a smidgen of party potatoes. Somehow, I managed to survive another feeding of unscheduled and ravenous guests. Whew!

Our neighborhood association puts on a fireworks display on July 4th. Firstborn mentioned that we had darn good fireworks at the lake. It was then that we learned that the church in my DIL’s brother’s bedroom community that usually has fireworks wasn’t able to do them this year. Seven pairs of young eyes were trained on me, wordlessly pleading for and hoping for an invitation.

Er, um, uh—damn. What could I say without being a party pooper and the lousiest hostess on the face of the Earth? ::gulp::

No problem. You’re all welcome to come watch our fireworks. The more the merrier. They start about ten.

Let no one call me a party pooper or a lousy hostess.

And there went a relaxing evening of not having to worry about entertaining and pleasing guests. Worry I did. The larder was conspicuously depleted except for the pulled pork and the pop. I waited in dread to hear that one of the kids would claim to be hungry. Fortunately, that didn’t come to pass.

Everyone except Buddy enjoyed the fireworks. (We kept him indoors.) The display was fabulous as usual, so fabulous that one of the kids asked if they could come back next year to watch our fireworks again. I didn’t expect anyone to ask that. It definitely caught me off guard.

Er, um, uh—damn. What could I say without being a party pooper and the lousiest hostess on the face of the Earth? ::gulp::

Well, I don’t see why not.

Firstborn opined that he and his family should drive up to visit every year around July 4th, and we should all plan to get together at the lake the way we did this year.

So, it appears I already have guests scheduled for 4th of July next year. I plan to start cooking a lot earlier and to cook a lot more of everything.

Let no one call me a party pooper or a lousy hostess.

  • Loralee Lillibridge

    Sounds like fun and work, Jolana, but sounds like you pulled it off perfectly. And now you can get a head start on next 4th of July!

  • Margo Hoornstra

    You made it through! And with food left over. Meager as it was. Tell the truth. You all had a really, really great time, right? Er, um, uh–damn! You are the hostess with the mostess!

  • I think the propect of the work involved with extra guest is always more daunting than it should be. And we all know how you worry. Take some time to think about the fun you had, and keep the GOOD parts of that in mind as you prepare for next year. But don’t start stressing until after Memorial Day.

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