My August Long Weekend

Prompt: Organize

beach party crowd

My long weekend starts on Thursday evening, with a mac & cheese dinner for family plus 4-6 guests.

Friday morning: Golf.
Friday: sunning, swimming, boating, sand-castling, beverages. Make 2 salads.
Friday dinner: Bring Your Own Dog (hot dog BBQ) for family plus 20.

Saturday morning: Golf. Make spaghetti sauce for 50. Pick up garlic bread. Make salad. Buy watermelon.
Saturday: sunning, swimming, boating sand-castling, beverages. Set up marquee and tables. Prepare plates, cutlery, napkins and condiments.
Saturday dinner: Pasta for 50 (some years 70-80). Meatball Contest. Musical entertainment. Beverages. Dancing.

Sunday morning: Golf.
Sunday afternoon: Bocce Bitch Tournament. Prizes. Variety of salmon appetizers. Beverages.
Sunday evening: Tacos for 30.

Monday: sunning, swimming, boating, sand-castling, beverages. Strike down marquee.
Monday afternoon: Greek lunch buffet.
Monday evening: leftovers for ? Strike down tables.

Tuesday: Bye bye to all except 3 visiting family. Return rental plates, glasses, cutlery, tables, cloths, and pots.

Wednesday: Sleep. Do laundry, Do more laundry. Try to find lost kitchen utensils. Hose down deck. Avoid weighing oneself.

___

Now, the above is too much work, and as well-organized as it all has become over the years, the number of people who come early and linger late has increased. People have procreated and bring their children to a weekend that meant so much to themselves as children. And so it goes.

How do we scale it back without offending anyone or ruining childhood memories of a fine gathering put together by generous, open-hearted and loving hosts? I enjoy all of the events and dinners, but there are never fewer than 20 or so people here, in and out, over the course of any day. I don’t golf. I personally oversee only the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday dinners, and I have help; friends or family host the others. I organize and provide prizes for the Bocce Bitch Tournament. Most people pitch in to clean up.

We go through scads of toilet  paper. The fridge stops functioning properly. The dog gets neurotic.

But it’s mostly fun. And utterly exhausting. What to do?

Parent Pair

Prompt: Invitation

chick-and-egg

“I’m not going.”

“Of course you are, it’s all about you.”

“It’s not about me, it’s about the baby,” said Virginia. She combed her hair while seated in front of her vanity mirror in the master bedroom of the coachhouse. She looked like a duchess from an English mini-series. “This is about your parents and their friends, and I refuse to play Madonna when I’m dead tired.”

“You’re hormonal,” said Cash, immediately regretting it.

“And you’re not, Mr Morning Sickness, Tender Nipple Man, Moody Bastard?”

“That was because I love you and Echo,” Cash said.

“They didn’t ask me, they just planned and invited. I had no say or warning. I’m tired Cash. I might even be fucking hormonal. I want to have a glass of Guinness and maybe a nap today. Fall asleep in front of the TV.”

“Babe,” said Cash. “Father and Mummy are just proud of you, of us. They want to celebrate their first grandbaby. Aren’t you proud? Don’t you want to celebrate?”

Virginia rolled her eyes so hard they almost flew out of their sockets. “You take the baby to the party.” Virginia looked at her watch. “She’ll most likely sleep through the whole thing.”

“Me?”

“You, the baby’s father and half of her parent-pair.”

“What if she wakes up?” said Cash.

“Then the world will end,” said Virginia.

“People will bring expensive gifts,” Cash said.

“Fantastic. I’ll write the thank-you notes.”

“I love you,” said Cash.

“Good,” said Virginia.

Aromatic and Day 21

Prompt: Aromatic

There’s nothing like vintage, and in keeping with today’s prompt, here is a vintage New Yorker cartoon. Oh, so sublime.

cartoon-aromatic-cheese

Meanwhile, because of NaNoWriMo I am still concerned about bodies, clothes, and household becoming aromatic as I neglect everything in order to write 50,000 words in 30 days. There is progress: laundry is done, it just is in a heap ready to be folded.

And I hit my halfway mark today, 25,000 words. Very late, and very stressful, but I will carry on!

Live and Let Live

Prompt: Volunteer

lamb-jumping

“I almost didn’t recognize Sally and Ron with their clothes on,” Jerry Plankton said to his neighbour, Lily-Rose Roades. They were sipping on weak Harvey Wallbangers, served from a massive punch bowl, at what Jerry would call a soirée— an evening gathering of friends, with drinks and snacks. It looked like everyone brought a little something. Lily-Rose, the host, had laid out the offerings on the white linen tableclothed dining table. Sausage rolls, raw vegetable platters, and odd little tortilla pinwheels filled with strange ingredients, like peanut butter and bacon, were set out side by side with potato chips and toasted almonds.

The kitchen, dining room and living room were basically all one room, which made entertaining easy, unless you were a guest who liked to lurk and hide. As far as Jerry could tell, there were no lurkers at this little party, except perhaps the dog.

Lily-Rose told him she’d invited some fellow teachers, neighbours, people from her Wednesday night Aikido class, a few from the volunteer community garden, and her physiotherapist, Adam, who’d become a close friend.

“This punch is nice,” said Jerry. “But needs an extra hit of vodka.”

“There is some in the cupboard over the fridge,” said Lily-Rose with a smile. “It’s not like you have to drive.”

Jerry made his way to the kitchen, where Lily-Rose’s neighbour on the other side was at the sink running water into a metal bowl, presumably for the golden retriever that stood nearby, grinning a dog grin, and undoubtedly thirsty. Who brought a dog to a soirée?

“Who brings a dog to a party?” Jerry said to his neighbour, Bernard. He hated to embody the cliché of an old and cantankerous man, but seriously, a dog?

“She’s more than a dog,” said Bernard. He took the bowl of water and put it in the front hallway, where no doubt it would be spilled all over the terracotta tile by a departing guest.

Sally and Ron hovered near the dining table, with tumblers of frizzling club soda with a wedge of lime, looking not so much out of place as awkwardly overdressed. Sally wore a sleeveless frock that resembled a nightgown, loose and comfortable, and Ron wore a pair of Bermuda shorts and a t-shirt which displayed a silhouette of a gambolling baby sheep with the caption: “What kind of asshole eats a lamb?”

“Vegetarian, are we?” asked Jerry, emboldened by the extra splash of vodka in his punch.

“Vegan, actually,” said Sally. “We are teetotal too, very boring.”

“Not so boring,” said Jerry. “You don’t usually wear clothes.”

“True,” said Ron. “We prefer a natural life, and you are welcome to join us and appreciate our natural state at any time, in our home or in the privacy of our garden.”

“Thank you,” said Jerry. He noticed Lily-Rose was now chatting with Adam, the physiotherapist, who was obviously flattering her, since she was clearly blushing. “How did you become, um, nudists? What was the process?”

“My fault,” said Sally. “We were both consumers, like you…” (Jerry decided to ignore this remark.) “We got kind of big and flabby and unhealthy, so I organized a naturist camp holiday. Well now, we could go all dimply and droopy, or we could get in shape.”

“Seriously?” said Jerry.

“Oh yes,” said Sally. “And it was wonderful, very motivational. We dropped masses of lard on the vegan diet, and took to walking two miles a day, and were quite fit by the time we turned up at the nudist camp.”

“And you decided to stick with it?”

“Oh yes,” Ron said. “Felt so good, felt like rebirth. Best thing we ever did. Life-changing. Never been so god-damn happy. By the way, do you eat lamb?”

“No, no,” said Jerry.

“Doesn’t matter to us, really,” said Sally. “Live and let live.”

Jerry could see the dog in the hallway, sitting quietly by the water dish. Bernard was in the kitchen, eating cubes of orange cheese stuck with toothpicks, drinking a beer, and talking with a group of young teachers.

Jerry picked up a plate heaped with carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes, with a green dip placed in the middle. He held it out to Sally and Ron.

“Carrot?” he asked.

 


Change Back

Prompt: Waiting

goth-marilyn-manson

May-Ray Sunderson to be Feted at Retirement Gala
By Linda Fosterama, Posted to About Town

Get on your dancing shoes and prepare to clink champagne flutes at Betty’s Fine Diner as May-Ray Sunderson hangs up her teapot apron and begins her retirement in style.

Betty of Betty’s Fine Diner, speaking from her hospital bed while she recovers from a private lady ailment, said that May-Ray would be sorely missed for her “toothy smile”, witty demeanour, and cheerful, often unsolicited advice. “And she never missed a day’s work, even when she was drunk,” said Betty of the 40-year employee, who has since become a pillar of the local AA community. “Except that one time that she got on the wrong bus. But that’s another story.”

Loyal diner and upholsterer Al Codwhittle had nothing but praise for the feisty May-Ray. “I deserved to have that mustard squirted into my lap,” he said with a chuckle.

Louise Sitwell, May-Ray’s daughter-in-law, noted that May-Ray had always wanted to travel, and that now was her golden opportunity. “My husband Linney and I will do all we can to help make her dreams come true,” she said, as her husband ate a hot dog.

“I will always be grateful for the times May-Ray called the police when I was late to the Saturday Early Bird dinner,” implied Jerry Plankton, whose civil court case is scheduled to begin on Friday. “The police were also very diligent, destroying door locks or breaking windows, when I was usually just in the bathroom or at the library, and not dead. They and May-Ray had my best interests at heart.”

May-Ray, ever humble, credits God with her long and distinguished career as part of Betty’s Fine Diner wait staff. “Do you want change back on that?” she added.

Her only granddaughter, Charlotte-Ann Sitwell, 6, when asked if she would be inheriting her grandmother’s teapot apron, replied, “I hate you.”

A confetti-banana birthday cake will be served if enough neighbours attend and pay the modest three dollar fee, Betty said. Local Goth band Kill Me Now A-Hole will be playing community favourites and requests from 8-9:30 pm.

Notice: No alcohol will be served.