Two parties and a graduation, part 2: Nobody in the world has a mortarboard like this one

When we last left our heroes, one of them was up at 2 AM after his graduation party, expelling all of the contents of his digestive system.

This continued throughout the night. I got up at 7:30 AM in order to prepare for the morning’s event, which was a belated Mother’s Day brunch we’d invited my family and Dan’s parents to (because how often are our moms in the same state at the same time? Not very often!). They were scheduled to arrive at 10 AM in order to have enough time for brunch and also to get to Dan’s graduation early enough to get good seats. I baked Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, and while that was in the oven I prepared everything for a quiche with asparagus, mushrooms, onions, turkey sausage, and smoked gouda/Irish Dubliner cheese. I removed the crumble and put in the quiche, and prepared the broccoli slaw. In between everything, Dan was getting up from the bed to go spend time in the bathroom. He looked like death. I’ve actually only seen him that sick once before – when he had food poisoning several years ago.

I was in the middle of the fruit salad, after having enlisted Dan’s help in moving the furniture around yet again (he also made coffee because I don’t know how), getting down and setting out the silver and dishes, and putting the linens on the table, when everyone showed up. They were all dressed up for the graduation. I hated to break the news that unfortunately, the graduation was not going to happen. Dan could hardly even stand, let alone was he up for sitting for several hours waiting to cross a stage. Everyone was really sad, but I took bagel orders and set out toasted bagels. My sisters helped me find glasses for everyone, set out ice water in a pitcher, and the families entertained each other again while I set out the food and finished the fruit salad (strawberries, blackberries, kiwi and halved red grapes).

We all sat down to eat. Everything turned out well, and the conversation seemed to flow, while avoiding to the extent possible the elephant in the room – that the main event everyone had come for was not going to happen. When we finished eating, I excused myself to take a shower and change (having not had the opportunity to do so yet) while people relaxed. When I got out, my sisters were washing the dishes (!) and I served the strawberry rhubarb crumble, which was absolutely fantastic. Dan’s parents left with their folding chairs and my family amused themselves by making Dan a mortarboard out of cardboard from the recycling bin, some yarn left over from his sweater, and a black sharpie.

Laurel got tired in the middle of coloring the top of the cap black, so she wrote Black. Then she wrote Negro (black in Spanish). Then she looked up how to write black in other languages and wrote them around the hat part of the mortarboard. My mom finished the tassel and attached it with tape, and we all went into our bedroom, placing the mortarboard on Dan’s head and humming Pomp and Circumstance. I think he was a little bewildered, but eventually got the joke and took it in stride. I present to you all, a unique mortarboard made with love.

We pretty much all agreed that the only thing Dan had eaten that other people hadn’t in the days preceeding was his meal at Sam’s #3 (he had corned beef hash and biscuits/gravy). I called the restaurant to let them know he had eaten there the day before and what he ate, to allow them a chance to pull anything that had gone bad. The guy was pretty much a complete jerk on the phone and told me that it was probably the flu. Um, no. 14 hours after his meal, he was violently ill for hours, after feeling perfectly fine. And then that evening he was significantly better. Not the flu. We’ll never eat there again.

My family decided to go back to the hotel and change in order to go on a light hike around the Red Rocks area. We hiked up about 1/4 mile of the trail, just to give them a taste of the mountains (foothills, really) and then went up to the Red Rocks Ampitheatre. Here are a few of the photos I took during the hike.



They drove me home and Curtis and Lissa drove my mom and Laurel to the airport. That evening, they came back over and we went out to eat at an Irish pub nearby. Dan even managed a few bites of soup. We hung out for a while afterward, but everyone was exhausted so they left around 10:30.

I took Monday off. I was completely out of steam and needed a day to recover from my weekend and the extremely stressful previous week. Lissa and Curtis came by to have a light breakfast and say goodbye. Dan felt a lot better, but still wasn’t up for eating much. We spent the day being lazy, doing girly errands (he took me to the yarn store and the shoe store! We also stocked up on spices at Penzey’s), and I ended up taking a much-needed hour-long nap. It was finally all over. I’m so glad my family finally came to visit after so many years, bummed Dan didn’t get to walk in his graduation (and nobody got to see him do it), and so glad that it’s behind me.

So that’s the story of two parties and a (non) graduation. The unexpected happened, the parties went over well, and on Friday I’ll write about all the food I made.

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2 responses to “Two parties and a graduation, part 2: Nobody in the world has a mortarboard like this one

  1. Wow! what a crazy full weekend, and I am so sorry to hear that Dan was sick for his own graduation! But wow, all that food you made sounded incredible, so I will of course be eager to read that post. I hope you both are recuperated and enjoying a good week!

  2. Wow. Poor Dan. Poor you, too. Glad all that’s over, though. And if nothing else, the mortarboard is completely brilliant.

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