Monday, June 12, 2006

Brave your storm with firm endeavor. - George Cooper

The calm before the storm.

In less than a week, I have hosted three dinner parties.

Wednesday evening was H’s wine-tasting extravaganza. 16 people.

Thursday H invited his brother, sister-in-law, their four children, and his parents over for a cookout – which I prepared for, cooked for, and then went to work from 3pm till 10pm.

Tonight H invited his cousin D for dinner, along with her parents. D is in town from Florida, because her sister just got married on Friday evening. We don’t get to see her that often, and I was delighted to spend some time with her. But geez oh man am I exhausted.

H left the whole thing very open-ended, resulting in everyone arriving at 6 pm, when he thought they were coming at 1pm. I have never ever before been sitting around with a glass of wine in my hand, freshly showered and with everything ready, when the guests arrived. But when people arrive 5 hours after you thought you invited them (semantic screw-up on H’s part, btw), well, that preparation thing will happen.

We started out with a chunk of Camembert and some sesame crackers. Uncle J especially liked the crackers- he said they reminded him of Communion wafer. Oh-kay.

Our CSA offerings this week consisted of lots and lots of greens. So for the meal I made two huge salads – one Mediterranean-themed with romaine and spinach greens, olives, roasted red pepper, parmigiana-reggiano cheese chunks, tomato, and cold pasta salad, sprinkled with toasted pine nuts; the other more American-themed, with field greens, Dry Jack cheese shavings, sliced green pepper, hard-boiled egg, avocado, and cucumber, sprinkled with chopped green onions. I baked a couple fillets of salmon bathed in white wine, sprinkled with dill weed and salt, and drizzled with olive oil. I fried up a mess of spinach in olive oil and chicken broth, with garlic slices and red pepper flakes. We served crusty bread, and a fruit salad of fresh pineapple and blueberries topped with flaked coconut.

And for dessert, I offered a lemon cream cake from Eat Cake. I didn’t have two 8-inch round pans – my round pans are 9-inch – so I baked it in a 9x13 pan and cut it in half cross-wise and layered it that way. The cake was a nice light plain cake, and the frosting was whipped cream folded in with lemon curd, and was wonderfully light, creamy, and lemony-tart.

Aunt M brought us a huge tray of leftover cookies from Friday’s wedding. My favorites – these almond cookies with apricot filling, covered in coconut - were there, also some of the raspberry cookies I like too. Because, you know, I need cookies to eat like I need a hole in my head.

So the dinner party was quite successful, everyone enjoyed looking at the first wedding pics to come back from the developer, and they all admired my adorable and smart children. A very nice evening. I wish I could say the dinner party season is coming to a close, but we offered to host the Perfect family’s Father’s Day dinner. So I must take a deep breath, gird up my loins, and prepare for 8 adults and 6 children to feed next Sunday. After which I shall collapse and order pizza for dinner for a week straight.


Friday night may well have been one of the worst days I have ever had.

First – please don’t call CYS – I lost my temper completely with Primo and slapped him. I have never felt as much like a worm as I did then. I was totally unjustified – I was angry at him and I lost control. It was my nadir as a mother.

Then H and I had a fight at the wedding. I won’t go into details, mostly because I am tired of thinking about the whole thing, but suffice it to say that he was incredibly mean and rude to me, and rather than cry in front of his entire family at the reception, I left. I just got up and walked out of the reception. My first inclination was to take my car and drive home but his bag was still in the car and I didn’t want to go back into the hotel, and I didn’t want to show up at home at midnight and scare the bejesus out of the babysitter. So I sat in the car, wrapped in a blanket, called Gina, calmed down, and read until several hours later H came looking for me. I got the room key from him and went inside and went to bed. Dammit, there was no way I was passing up an opportunity to sleep all night long, and sleep in.

The long and short of it is that H finally, the next morning, apologized profusely, and we talked about what was REALLY bothering him rather than what he’d been so mean about. And I told him that we get into all kinds of trouble when we try to play by other people’s rules and meet other people’s expectations instead of doing what has proven to work for us. And while it may not be conventional and/or easy, it’s crazy to ignore that it works for us. And then he told me I was very wise. And we talked, and talked some more. And I wound up being more exhausted than if I had just stayed up all night with the baby. I have been through the emotional wringer. I got nothing left right now. Except some wedding cookies and an extra slice of lemon cream cake. And that, my sweet Internet ones, is why I can’t lose this stupid weight.


Lazy cow said...

Lucky you had that book in the car.

I don't know how you can do so many dinner parties in a row. I host one a year (and I blogged about it half a dozen times!)

telfair said...

It sounds like you've had one hell of a week.

I can advise an RX of two hours alone time in a hot bath with a good book and tumbler of Bailey's over cracked ice within easy reach.

Miz S said...

No wonder you lost your temper with Primo (been there, by the way). Nursing, working mothers of 3 small boys were not intended by nature to host 3 dinner parties in a week AND have a big fight with the husband.

It's too much, I tells ya!

Also: xoxoxoxox

blackbird said...

Firstly: what Mary said.
Second: listen to Telfair.
Third: I am sending you a hug and asking you to stop being all things to all people.
You are a great wife, mom, librarian...and apparently a good cook as well.
Thank god you didn't tell us that you also painted the downstairs.

Loretta said...

I've had those type of horrible arguments where not a lot of yelling goes on but I am as emotionally exhausted as if someone died. Yeah, you need to do all of the above and more. Take some time for yourself, alone, anywhere, and let H or a babysitter deal with the kids. I hope he is profoundly sorry and makes up for it in a big way.

Suse said...

The first thing I noticed was that the dinner parties were all H's, yet you prepped and cooked for them. HIS wine tasting, hIS cousin, hIS brother & family.

And then he is mean and rude to you! I was about to jump on a plane to come and give him what-for, but then read that he apologised. So he's safe. For now. But he's on notice.

And you are more brilliant and capable and loving and wise than I even thought.

Now, go and have that Bailey's in the bath like Telfair said. Hugs.

- S

Joke said...

I kinda noticed what Suse noticed. That not-so-passive aggressive stuff need be dealt with, like, now.


P.S. How'd Gina liking the Witness Protection Program?

Joke said...

P.S. Did you apologize, sincerely, to Primo, and ask his forgiveness?

Paula said...

When do you sleep? Feel better soon. You are not a bad mother. Try not to be so hard on yourself.

MsCellania said...

It's all just Too Much - Too much, I say!

And ditto to what Suse and Joke said - I have been there and done that and am just NOT doing that anymore; Man Comes Up with Lofty Plans and Woman Executes Same.

But in the end? I offer you hugs and a hot bath and some chocolate. Because you have to negotiate your life the best you can. And sometimes it is just alot of Work. And about slapping Primo? Forgive yourself. I bet most of us have whacked a child and learned from it the first time so it doesn't happen again. Glad you and your husband got stuff out in the open. I'm sure his family was horrified at his behavior towards you at the wedding. You did exactly the right thing by leaving.

But really? Shame on H. Bad Form.

Badger said...

Okay, I kind of want to hit your DH right now. That wine tasting was HIS deal? And you did all the cooking PLUS diaper-changing because he was working and not to be disturbed? That's some BULLSHIT right there.

I can't even thing about the rest of it. My mind is boggled.

Amy said...

We all have our bad moments. Looks like you and H both got yours out of the way within a short amount of time. I'm glad you were able to talk to H and work things out between you. And to truly get to the heart of the matter instead of just treating the symptoms.

Do whatever it is you like best for you right now. Take the time, make the arrangements, just do.

Sarah Louise said...

It's weird getting this in conversation and then reading it on the blog. You are a smart strong wonderful woman and I admire you for all you do.

Take a rest, now and again, though.

Loves and all that, SL

weirdbunny said...

Oh I'm so sorry about your week, and that whole reception argument thing!! You need to indulge your self in a lovely lunch/shopping trip to some where you love. H will have to take the day off work to show he's sorry and look after the kids for you to have your indulgent day. You sound really tired though, maybe you could book your self in to a hotel for the night and have a lay in in the morning witha huge breakfast n bed. No h, no kids!

Bronwen said...

CSAs are so cool. I've joined mine here in Williamsburg, and it's the first time I've done it. Do you get fruit and veggies? Other stuff? I've been very extravagant (even though I'm unemployed) and signed up for freshly cut flowers too.

Surfing Free said...

I actually think having a fight with your spouse is a sign that the relationship is healthy. When you have reached the point where you don't even care enough to fight about it, that is trouble.
That's just my take on it ... and it could well be because Hubby and I seem to spend an unhealthy amount of time fighting :|
Three dinner parties!!! I'd be pyschotic.