Well, I took a weekend break from purging my house of trash and excess material goods. Not because I needed a break - I need to purge! But I, in all of my infinite wisdom, felt the need a couple of weeks ago to say yes. I am learning that is a huge problem of mine. Don't get me wrong, I am glad I said yes. It was fun, that thing I said yes to.
Two weeks ago some lovely people whom I greatly adore asked me if I like to cook. "Depends on what it is" was my reply. They then asked if I could cook for 14. I stood there and thought about it. I used to have friends and neighbors over when I lived at Lake Carmel, there was often 14-ish there. I have a family of six that eat like a family of 10 sometimes. "Would you consider catering our dinner on January 19?" Surely I could handle 14. So I told them I would talk to Michael about it.
Michael, as usual, had no objections. I think he was dumbfounded that someone would PAY me to feed them. So often in my house, these people would pay someone to eat my food FOR them, rather than eat it themselves. I think he just wanted to see if it would really happen. I don't know what he was thinking.
So I pretended and prepared and planned and shopped. The number to feed went from 14 to 12. Then the big day came. I got up and worked at the food pantry as we usually do on the third Saturday each month. I was chill. Relaxed. It was all under control. When we were done at the food pantry, I came home and started on the green beans and the rolls. Then relaxed. And cleaned a little. The issue of plates and silverware and glasses ~ which should I use??~ slowly rolling around in my head. Then my mother left around 3 and I thought perhaps I should start on the turkey. At 4, with two hours left and just salad and mashed potatoes to go, Hayley and I calmly drove to the place we would be serving dinner. I cannot even begin to tell you the calm before the storm. I thought it was strange that I was so calm. It was so unlike me.
Then we walked in and panic hit like it can only hit me. For those of you that know me, I can add drama to an anthill. To quote one of my fave tv moms, Amy Duncan, "buh-bam!" Panic hit me and I came totally close to an absolute breakdown. I could NOT serve paper plates in that beautiful setting!!! I had to break out my grandmother's china and my crystal glasses that hadn't been touched in 15 years! But what to do about silverware... I simply did not have enough. Hayley and I sped to church and it was locked! We called two of the pastors who were there and neither answered the phone. About that time, an unsuspecting family was walking out the door and we started waving like crazy women, hoping they wouldn't let the door shut. They stood there staring at us like we had lost our minds, but the nicely held the door. We rushed to the kitchen and were counting out spoons when we were "busted" by one of the pastors. We asked permission to borrow silverware, but honestly it is possible he was afraid what would happen if he said no to the two wild-haired, crazy eyed women before him.
We grabbed the silverware and took off for home. Hayley unpacked and washed all the china while I cut up potatoes and secretly cursed that I had waited til 4:30 to start. Potatoes cooking, I started the salad. And do you know the ONLY person freaking out in the house was me? Hayley was talking on the phone with DCP, acting like she hadn't seen him in a month and a half or talked to him for two weeks...as if. Ha. (because both of those are right...). Michael was wisely nowhere to be found. I have no idea if there were other kids in my house at that point because I was ridiculously a spazz.
At 5:30, everything was ready to get packed into the van and taken over to the site of the dinner. On my way out the door, I was literally changing my shirt so I looked a little more presentable. Once there, Hayley and Michael set the table, I finished the salad by putting the fruit, cheese, and salad dressing on and finished the gravy. There was no place to do a buffet though, so we served up the food family style. At 6:03, the family was seated (only 3 minutes late). We made sure everyone was served and Hayley provided the entertainment by sharing details of her Senegal trip.
No one was acting like I poisoned the food. No one choked, no one gagged. We re-filled drink glasses, chatted with our friends, and acted like two charming hostesses. At least that is what I keep telling myself. By end of the meal, there were leftovers, except potatoes. I didn't go with my gut instinct so ran out of potatoes. But they survived. Clean-up was a piece of cake there. We loaded everything up and took it home to clean. Took us like maybe 10 minutes.
I have a few things to say to finish this up.
1. Hayley and Michael are two incredibly brave and wonderful people to not only tolerate my brilliant ideas but to go along with the flow, even in the midst of my madness.
2. That was fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. Now that I have crossed catering off my bucket list, I don't want to do it again. I'll leave the catering to the professionals.
But that is okay. It is just a matter of time until I come up with another off the wall idea and the party starts all over.
So if you lack drama in your life, cater to another family and make sure you start the potatoes late. Nothing creates drama like too much to do and little time to do it and a last minute change in plans.
Seriously, love those people and had a blast.