Posted by: Kate | March 8, 2008


We have friends en route here, staying at our house for the night before they continue on their vacation from Nova Scotia to Florida (never fear, they’re flying from Boston tomorrow, they’re not quite that brave). They’re dear and lovely people, and I can’t wait to see them. And I’m only a little intimidated by the fact that they own a B&B and have a house that makes mine look like a plywood-and-tarpaper shack.

I can safely announce my readiness now, because the house is clean and the food is well under way. It’s been a big of a struggle getting that way, because strange things keep happening in the opposite direction. Things like Jacob spilling a bowl full of Raisin Bran all over the kitchen floor at 7:50 in the morning and Emily randomly deciding to rearrange her entire room, to a setup that was neither workable nor, strictly speaking, safe. Willem decided to goad me into a pointless but drawn-out argument last night, which ended well, but still. These things don’t happen on a normal day. It’s a conspiracy.

(P.S. The dishwasher just overflowed with suds, which it has not done since the time Willem loaded it with regular dish soap instead of dishwasher detergent back when we first moved here and which he swears did not happen this time.)

But each crisis has, one at a time, been averted or survived, and now we have sauce on the stove, cookies in the oven (one of these days, remind me, I’ll do a post of some of my favorite recipes, because Oh. My. God.), salad and hors d’oeuvres at the ready, clean rooms and tired children.

It’s not unheard of, for this mass-production of insanity to descend immediately before a gathering. The night before Emily’s birthday party last year, the ceiling fan fell out of the ceiling in the playroom. In 2003, I had to have a semi-emergency widsom-teeth extraction on December 23. Does this happen in other houses, or is it just a gift the universe has directed toward me and mine?



  1. No, it happens here too. Sometimes I think that we get so focused on the immediate task at hand that everything around us spins slightly out of control.

    My husband has also pulled the dish soap in the dishwasher stunt…

  2. You KNOW it happens here…shoot my life has been a conspiracy that or some really bad karma for a previous life. 😀

  3. It happens here, too. I think G-d has a really wicked sense of humor.

  4. That is why we don’t entertain much around here…

    But I’d LOVE to come be entertained by you–and YES YES YES post recipes!!!!!

  5. Kate honey you are not alone. Two days before our winter gathering, my contractor stepdad decided to repair a crack in the wall in the game room – a crack that had been there for at least 3 years and many many parties. Included in the repair process was my attempt at finding grasscloth wallpaper to cover the inside-out and spackled over paneling he installed. With mom’s help I was able to install 4 half-sheets of the unruly shit in 4 hours on the morning of the party, which delayed the food preparation and found me in the kitchen until around 9pm instead of being finished by 5 when the party started. Of course, ever the hostess with the mostest, my guests were none the wiser.

  6. Happens in my house too 🙂

  7. Well there you go Kate . . Murphy’s Law . . what can go wrong, will go wrong. For me it happens in threes. My last house visitors coincided with an insurance roof repair and major paint job. We had to eat Japanese style on the floor because my dining room was covered with the contents of my loungeroom cabinets and the furniture with painter’s drop sheets. It was great . . and an inspiration for the type of food to present. It’ll be fine on the day! Tell Willem not to feel too bad, I’ve done the same thing! How come there are so many more suds in a Dishwasher than when you use the sink?

  8. Definitely happens here too! I hope you had a nice visit!

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