It was Thursday night. I was unable to sleep, because I knew Dan would be pulling an all-nighter after an entire week of little sleep (for him, because of his final projects; for me because of my terrible cold) and I just couldn’t get my brain to turn off. Had I remembered everything I needed to do? Could I get everything done on Friday? Would Dan make himself sick by staying up all night? (It’s a good recipe for a migraine, for him.) I think I finally passed out sometime after 1 AM and woke up again at 6:30 when Dan’s alarm went off; he’d actually gotten to bed sometime around 4 AM.
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I started my preparations on Friday first thing after eating a bowl of cereal. I’d taken the day off work in order to do all the cleaning and cooking and shopping and other things that needed to be done for the party on Saturday and for my family’s visit, and while the house was relatively clean it was not Relative clean. If you know what I mean. I spent two hours on the living room and moved on to finishing other rooms, wondering all the while how Dan was holding up during the presentation of his final project. By the time he got home, I realized I hadn’t eaten anything else and hadn’t had any water. I sat down and made a list of what all still needed to be done, what was needed from the various stores (Target, grocery store, liquor store), and our menus for Saturday night and Sunday morning for easy reference. Dan made me lunch.
After lunch, we headed out for Target and Queen Soopers and managed to cross everything off the list despite both of our exhausted states. We went back and forth across the store a few times rather than picking up our items efficiently as we normally do, but considering how overly tired we both were, I’m just glad we didn’t forget anything. Rather than having to cook, we unanimously decided a $5 rotisserie chicken, some spinach salad, and a heated-up demi batard of multigrain bread would work just fine for dinner. Upon our return home, everything was put away and Dan continued with the cleaning while I spent an hour finishing up a project about which I will not talk on this blog. It had a deadline of 4 PM, and I managed to get it in by 3:30, so I was proud of myself for that.
We cleaned more. We organized more. Eventually we ate our dinner and then I went back in the kitchen to start on the cooking projects: hummus, pita chips, mango salsa, and lemon cake from a slightly modified Smitten Kitchen recipe. (I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his graduation party. “Lemon,” he told me, “because I always pick chocolate and I want something different this time.”) The hummus-making revealed a broken piece on our food processor, so it was made in the blender instead (a far more annoying process, because it makes more mess and takes longer). The mango salsa-making revealed that the mangoes I’d bought were somehow rotten on the inside despite feeling slightly under-ripe on the outside. So no mango salsa. I managed to toast 6 pita breads into 48 pita chips in between steps of cake-making and when the cake was finally out of the oven I washed up all of the cooking dishes. The house was mostly in order, with only two rooms still needing significant work. It was after 11 PM and I’d received a text from my sister saying their plane was going to be late. After doing some mental calculation, I realized my family wouldn’t get to their hotel until around 2 AM. I tried to fall asleep, but I was so overly tired that sleep wouldn’t come for quite a while. I kept expecting my phone to ring.
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The phone never rang, but I didn’t sleep well, knowing my family was in the state but nobody had called me. I texted my sister to tell her to call me when they were up so we could make plans for the day, and we got to work on the final cleaning projects, scrubbing the kitchen floor and final touches on the rest of the house. I never ate any breakfast and scarfed down a thing of yogurt at 11:45 when we were about to leave to go meet everyone for lunch while on the computer ordering the catering order for the evening’s party (Papa John’s had some sort of special deal – 5 specialty pizzas, 30 wings, 3 sides, 4 2-liters of soda to feed 20 people for $110).
We drove down to meet my family and ate at Sam’s #3, near the Convention Center. Dan and I ordered breakfast food and everyone else ordered lunch, and as we ate we discussed what everyone wanted to do for the rest of the day. Ultimately, it was decided that my mom and Curtis and Dan would go see Star Trek (Dan’s second viewing, as we saw it last weekend) and my sisters and I would go shopping. Then I’d go home to do more party prep and everyone else would show up early to help with last-minute setup.
Turns out, the next Star Trek wasn’t until 2:30 PM. Dan still went. The party was supposed to start at 5 (and knowing his relatives, we’d have company at 5 PM on the dot). My sisters and I found dresses and shoes at Cross Dress for Less and Payless, tried to get pedicures (but were told they had no more appointments available), and then Lissa went to nap for a while at the hotel while Laurel accompanied me on the walk home while I told her about the buildings downtown, took her to the mile-high marker on the Capitol steps, and stopped at the liquor store for round one of purchases. Having reached our house, Laurel vegetated while I made buttercream and frosted Dan’s cake, cut up veggies for crudite, made onion dip, made simple syrup for mojitos. I went to 7-11 and hauled back 30 pounds of ice. I went back to the liquor store to get the rest of what we needed. I iced down the beer, started moving furniture, and there was a knock at the door – Dan’s parents had arrived with folding chairs and another cooler filled with ice. I quarantined the cats into the small bedroom and moved the chairs to the backyard, along with our big coffee table.
Two minutes later, some friends of Dan’s family showed up. I wasn’t ready, hadn’t had a chance to change, and Dan wasn’t even there yet. Dan’s mom and Rita helped me finish setting things up, putting the appetizers out on our dining table along with paper plates, napkins, plastic forks. More people showed up. Dan finally arrived having gone to the store to get firewood only to find that his sole option was those fire log things (he’d intended to set up the copper fire bowl we got as a Christmas present, but after pulling out all the parts he realized the directions were missing. No fire bowl.) He entertained people while I finished getting things ready, and my family arrived, and suddenly our house was absolutely full of people!
(Then, I remembered suddenly that I had forgotten to make the guacamole. So I made that, along with making mojitos for those who wanted them. I did not sit down at all.)
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The pizzas arrived at 6:30, and I put them out along with salad greens and dressing in the backyard. Our apartment is really not set up to have many people in it, and we don’t have any rooms that can hold more than about 10 people, max. Somehow everyone managed to figure out where to sit and people seemed to have a good time, and people were going in and out, some spending time outside with others mostly staying indoors. It was a perfect evening, temperature-wise, and while we had quite a few no-shows, everyone who did come seemed to have a good time. Dan was feted by his family and mine, and everyone ate, drank, and made merry. Dan got presents and cards and was thoroughly happy to be surrounded by loved ones.
Eventually, I poured champagne for everyone and we had a toast. Along with champagne, there was the lemon cake I made. It looked like this:
Luckily, Dan thought it was funny as Laurel and I had. The cake was delicious, family stories were swapped, and finally around 10 PM everyone was gone. Luckily, due to planning well, there wasn’t a ton of mess to clean up. I vegetated on the couch with a mojito and a terrible movie. By 11:30, I was about to fall over, so we went to bed.
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The vomiting did not start until 2 AM.