Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Tablecloth-or-Entertaining While Hysterical, Part One

Company coming. Oh, God.


What shall I cook? Why haven't I restained the kitchen cabinets, replaced the tile in the bathroom, seen Macchu Pichhu (wait---that's a different blog....)?

First order of business---become immobilized for several weeks. Sit by window and bitterly regret any and all invitations extended to other humans.

Then two days before company is due to arrive, get busy. Very.

Fling yourself down on chubby knees to shpritz and scrub under the two inches of fridge that no one really sees but is very dirty. As the grime easily wipes away, wonder why you don't do this more often.

Do the same along and under all heat registers, including the ones in the bathroom. By the end of all this shpritzing, chubby knees are locked. Look around for help. There is none to be had. Consider remaining on the floor until Seth comes home but his arrival is hours away and you would miss Cash Cab.

Curl into fetal position and suck thumb for several minutes, then just get up.

Walk into kitchen, admire your very, very minor work.

Panic again.

Consider getting all the repairs you have put off for the past 11 years done in one afternoon. Once you accept that this is not possible, become belligerent.

Mentally assault your as-of-yet unarrived guests. Eyes darting, silently, accuse them of being demanding bastards who expect too much. This dysfunctional attitude makes it okay that you have yet to replace the door your son punched through ten years ago when impulse control was still just a frothy pink dream on the horizon.

Continue on to become thoroughly defensive and decide that if your visitors don't like what they see, they can goddam well leave.

Shout the words "Like it or lump it!" loud enough to be heard by the UPS man in the neighbor's driveway and to rouse the snoozing cats who have witnessed this scene many times before.

Calm down -- as the cats knew you would -- and slowly breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. Decide to simply do what you can...

Grab handful of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons and leap into car.

Drive at unsafe speeds to store because you've decided that those demanding bastards might enjoy eating outside but you need a tablecloth for the table which took a beating this winter because you were too lazy to cover it.

Growl quietly at every sales person who greets you as you careen through the aisles of the store like a sasquatch on crack and audibly snort when you hear a voice on the loud speaker refer to a customer needing help as a "guest."

Say the words, "If I am a guest, give me a sandwich," loud enough to be heard.

Snort again, loudly enough to damage your septum and become unreasonably despondent. Make a mental note to play Power Ball every week from now on so you can win millions which will, of course, solve nothing everything.

On the way to the tablecloth department become distracted by all the shiny, pretty things in the other sections. Fondle a wafflemaker until people around you become frightened and back away.

Try to explain to them that since your sons have moved out, you no longer need a waffle maker. Ask them if they like waffles. Ask them again. Watch them run toward the front of the store.

Arrive in tablecloth department.You know the size you need because you used to work in the tablecloth department of Macys Herald Square. Reminisce privately for a few minutes about the time the guy with no pants came in and Phil The Floor Manager had to call security.

Look at all your No. Too busy. Stripes? No. Too striped. Little village scene depicting quaint European street of undetermined country that you think might be Paris? No. No. No.

Spot a display of vinyl with flannel-backing. Perfect for outdoors--they can be wiped off, they come in solid colors and they are on sale!!

Shuffle through them until you find the perfect red one that will make your teeth look whiter and your dishes look newer.
May I ring this up for you?

Grab your size and run in great loping strides to the register and brandish your coupon at the yawning clerk with the pierced eyebrow who is barely able to conceal her hatred for you.

Cheerfully tell her that you don't need a bag and run out to the car holding the cloth and the sales receipt conspicuously aloft lest someone accuse you of theft.

On the way home challenge yourself to see how little you can use the brake pedal.

This tablecloth has made it okay that you never quite finished repainting the hallway since you repaired the sheet rock after Charlie's ass went through it during a wrestling match with his father or that all the houseplants in your living room are dead.

Your new red table cloth is all you need for success as a hostess.

You rip it from it's plastic and put it on the table and feel happiness seep into your soul. It will all be okay now.  It will all be okay.

Or will it?

Learn the fate of the red table cloth in tomorrow's post.....


  1. You really clean the heat registers? I'm totally impressed.

  2. My trick? Turn the lighting down low, light some candles and thrust a HUGE glass of wine at people as they come through the door. Seems to work :-)

  3. Excellent strategy, Janet.Note to self: install more dimmers, buy more candles....