Monday, January 4, 2010


I know crazy and wild. That, I'm afraid, is how I live. I have so many things going on at any particular moment, and given I'm not a computer but a flawed human being, I tend to get a little disorganized.

I'm trying to think how this crazy New Year Eve Day started. First of all, I guess, is the fact that I had it handed to me rather casually. We hosted this event and I had nothing whatsoever to do with that part of it. My husband did.

We have dear friends who always host it but things have been difficult for them lately so Jerry offered up our home for the event. I wasn't about to say no to that. My husband has the smarts in our family when it comes to doing the Right Thing, the Kind Thing. Thank God for that because I like Kind and Right in a big way and these are very good friends.

I have another dear friend, Max, who, when faced with an important event, prepares for it weeks in advance. We go on adventures together when our husbands are off skiing somewhere. Some of those adventures have been just that--like being thrown out of Slovakia--but no matter what, she's prepared. Sweaters go in plastic bags, ditto for everything else and when she needs to pack she just throws in those sweaters in those plastic bags along with everything else needed in neat, tidy, order.

Me--I don't pack until the day before. Hey, the truth be known, I usually am scrambling around the day before frantically trying first to find what I want to take along and then to wash it or get it to the cleaners and then I pack. Frantic is the name of the game here. I often wear black and maybe it's because spots aren't as easily seen on black.

So, here we have this New Year's Eve event we're hosting. Do I even think about what's going to go on the table? Yes, I actually do. I figure it's going to be served on our lovely everyday wear, which is clean. This would have been perfectly acceptable. Our everyday wear isn't really used for everyday. I put it out for special dinners. This is a set I finally got after forty years of marriage and we paid a mint for it. Jerry complained but now he loves the set. It's Italian, and based on the dinnerware prevalent in homes in the 1400's. It's gorgeous.

No, Jerry is not planning to use this gorgeous dinnerware; he's planning to use our good china and crystal and sterling silver. He doesn't mention this until he starts hauling it in on the day of the event to wash it. Yes, wash it. That's how seldom it's used.

I should have taken a picture. He hardly knows his way around our kitchen and he actually washed and dried everything he put on the table: that good china and crystal and sterling silver. We have all of this good stuff put away carefully but everything is dirty--not put away carefully in plastic bags. The sweet guy--he washed everything!

What am I doing while he's washing the dishes? Earlier I had put on two pots with yams and they're happily boiling away on the stove; ditto with a pot of cranberries; the ham we bought yesterday is in the refrigerator--but at the point when Jerry's washing dishes I'm looking at our dog, Plato, out in his pen in the back and getting concerned. (Plato is relegated to the pen during events like this because he has a bad habit of peeing on our rugs when we're busy and not paying attention to him). Anyway, there's this huge, unsightly lump right next to his eye. I remember I saw it the day before but then it was much smaller. He didn't seem concerned about it but I didn't like it at all. It looked yukky and maybe even dangerous. And then I'm thinking again, yesterday it was smaller--yuck, it's a tick!--and I'm going into my panic mode, things are boiling on the stove and Jerry's not at all happy with me when I come running in because he's now discovered one of our myriad water thingies is spurting water down by the street and all of this is happening just hours before the guests are to arrive. The only thing to do is turn off our entire water system to the garden and I'm now begging him to go look at Plato and the unsightly lump which he does, after I turn off the water, which I have to remember to turn on again and with my track record--good luck.

The water's off but Jerry's still working with the water thingie down by the street which is still spouting water and I'm talking to our son, Glenn, on the phone about the lump. He thinks it could be dangerous--is obviously a tick--and should come out but I think you have to burn the buggers out and how can I do that when it's right next to his eye? He suggests calling the vet, which I already have but they're closed since it's a holiday. Their automated system gave me the number of the Emergency Vet People so after I say goodbye to Glenn I call them and a gal I talk to says, yes, it should come out and they could do it for me but I've got stuff boiling on the stove and Jerry upset with the water spouting on the street. She says you could do it yourself. You just reach down as close as you can to his skin with your fingers, grip it, and pull and twist it out at the same time. I said that would be disgusting and she laughed and said they could do it but that was patently not going to happen and Jerry is absolutely hopeless with that sort of thing so guess who gets to do it?

I call Glenn again, who is probably responsible for Plato getting the lump to begin with as their property, Wild Horse, is heaven for ticks and we were just there. Maybe I'm thinking he'll volunteer. Heck, he's only forty minutes away. Wendy I trust with questions like--what do I do with this unsightly yukky thing that's undoubtedly a tick other than pull and twist it out, which would be disgusting? Glenn I don't trust so much with questions like that but he's the only one there. He agrees it would be disgusting. Actually, he says, I have a perfect way to get that tick out--you do it with your teeth. That nearly makes me upchuck. Jerry, by this time, has looked at the lump and agrees to hold Plato which I pull and twist it out and voila! it comes out just like that! I should have killed it--I could see something wiggling at the top of the lump--but I just threw it. Dumb, as I'll probably have this happen all over again.

I go back to the stove, happy with Plato sans lump, and inspect the cranberries, which cooked fine until they did that obligatory popping noise and then just sat in the water. I enlist Jerry with the job of transporting them to the refrigerator where they're to get cold. I then look at the yams, which given that I was busy with the Plato lump, I didn't check as often as I should have. They are so soft it's really tricky getting them out of the pan and into a bowl. They mash very easily but given that I boiled them with the skins on they're full of these rather large lumps of skin which, given they're hot as blazes, I can do nothing about. I say to hell with it and mix the whole mess with sugar and a little sherry and pop it in the oven to cook.

Jerry has now finished washing and drying everything, the table is set and we go up and shower and dress while the sweet potatoes cook. Everything settles down, I could have even had a glass of wine it's so relaxed but I decide to wait with that--smartest thing I did that day. Jerry has finally figured out why the water thingie had been incessantly spouting and fixed that. Life is good. Our guests come and it's all worth it. We finally sit down together to that glass of wine and it's all good.

The table looked amazing. Oh--the sweet potatoes with all the lumps of skin--I still had to pull all that skin off with my fingers to serve them but at least they weren't boiling hot coming out of the oven.

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