Christmas Dinner

I’m beginning to think there’s something that doesn’t agree with me when I host people in my home.  The day after our Christmas Open House I spent the entire day in bed.  Yesterday I got out of bed long enough to call into work and eat something and then went back to bed.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep last night and the last time I looked at the clock it was 4:30.  I have to get some sleep tonight.

Christmas was an experience.   Mostly a good one.

I went to bed late on December 24th.  I was up making all the last minute preparations for my guests.  I tidied up, arranged the flowers, made sure I had everything ready and finally around 3:30 or 4:00 went to bed.

The alarm went off around 10:30 a.m.  I snoozed it a couple of times before I finally rolled out of bed.  My mom had already called to wish me a Merry Christmas, so I filled up my coffee cup and returned the call.  We chatted about 30 minutes or so as she filled me in on the festivities with the relatives the night before.  It sounded pretty much the same as always which left me glad that I wasn’t there.  After I hung up with my mom, I made several other phone calls as I finished up my pot of coffee.

When the phone calls were done, I jumped in the shower, got dressed and finished up the prep that wasn’t done from the night before.

The plan for the day was to have friends come by around 1:00.  We would make brunch, eat, watch some TV and then nap.  Then around 4:00 or so I would start dinner and we would eat around 8:00.

That was the plan.

So I had everything ready to go when I received the first text message.

11:45:  A:  I must wait for my Tylenol to kick in will call you to let you know what time I’ll be there.

I was annoyed at first.  Actually I was rather pissed.  But after about 15 minutes I calmed down.  And then I my first phone call:

12:25: S:  I’m sorry.  We haven’t left yet.  J, went back to his place to pick up some things and he’s not back yet.  We’ll be there as soon as we can.

This really annoyed me, because S was supposed to be the first to arrive and she hadn’t even left yet and it was an hour from her house to mine.

Ah, but it’s Christmas.  Just let it go

I think it was about 2:45 before everyone finally arrived.  And of course, S was last and she had all the stuff for brunch.

It was after 4:00 when we finally sat down at the table to eat.  And my first question to them was:  “If it’s 4:00 now, what time are we going to have dinner?”

Brunch was great.  We all sipped on mimosas, ate tons of food, and just sat around and chatted.  S and J had cooked so A and M decided to do the dishes.  That left me and D to sit and chat.  Which is what we did.  We mostly all sat around and talked about work, which can get old and started to annoy S, but in reality we didn’t have much else to talk about.  If you step outside the circle we have nothing in common once you remove the work component.  S did her best to talk about politics several times throughout the day, but I kept steering the consversation in other directions.  She can go on and on and on when it comes to Barack.  And trust me, I like him.  I voted for him.  But I didn’t want to spend Christmas debating his finer virtues.

Around 6:00 I got up to start dinner.  Yes, we’d just eaten but I was cooking a ham and it would take about three or so hours to cook.  By 6:30 it was in the oven.  It was time to do some more talking.  We had about hours to spend before we could eat, not that anyone was hungry.  When people I work with aren’t talking about work, they are talking about sex.  So the conversation turned to sex.  And  a game of “never have I ever.”  It’s mostly asking questions about what you’ve done and not done and involves drinking.  Also not the way to spend Christmas but it was better than debating politics.  At this point S had fallen asleep so we were all clustered in the dining room.  I was trying to get things ready for dinner.  Even though it was still several hours away, I had to peel the potatoes, both sweet and normal, and prepare the salad.  Eventually the game gave way to more talk about work.

As the night grew later, I spent more time in the kitchen.  At 9:00 I went in to full production.  Which was around the same time that A informed me that her boyfriend had just called and she’d invited him over for dinner.  So now we were 7 even though my table only holds 6.  So once again I was annoyed but it was too late to do anything about it.  So I busied myself with getting dinner ready.

As most of you know, I don’t really cook.  So this was a enormous undertaking.  I was baking a ham, making a mix green salad with homemade cranberry dressing, garlic sour cream mashed potatoes, green been casserole and my friend Todd’s grandmother’s recipe for sweet potato casserole.  And miracle of miracles it was all finished within 5 or 6 minutes of each other.

And we sat down to eat.  As I mentioned I was not happy that our party had become seven.  But by then I was over it.  I did however, refuse to let them make room at the table for him till we had all toasted and were ready to fill our plates.  I spent just as much time setting the table as I did making the food and I didn’t want it offset by the extra person.  Once we sat down, it was fine but until then they just had to pretend we were six.

By the end of the day my friends from work were convinced that I was the gayest thing ever.  When they all arrived there were flowers on the dining room table.  And then while S and J cooked brunch I sat the table and we had different flowers.  And then later I sat the table for dinner and we had different napkins, placemats, napkin rings and flowers.  I had thought all of this through and wanted everything to be perfect.  I’d actually thought all this through the night before and used Chuck’s room as a staging area.  All the new flowers were there, along with the extra table linens etc.  That way I wasn’t looking for things.  I went in, picked up the pile and took it to the table.  Yes, I’m gay.

After we finished dinner and we were on our last bottle of wine for the night, we all sat around chatting.  Finally, I got up and started cleaning up the dinner mess.  I’d actually done a good job of keeping the kitchen clean as I cooked but in the last 30 minutes I thrown in the towel and just wanted it all finished.  Now it was a wreck.  And so I started cleaning.  And cleaning.  And I spent the next 90 minutes doing all the dishes, putting things away, wiping down the counters, cleaning the stove.  And while I was doing this, my friends sat in my living room talking.  And not once, did any of them offer to help me clean up.  The included me in the conversation but not one of them helped.

By the time I was over being annoyed.  By that time I was tired, and just wanted to sit down, have a drink and relax.  By myself.  They didn’t leave till almost 3:30 a.m.  I had a great day.  I was glad I didn’t spend Christmas alone which is what I’ve done the last couple of years, even though it sounds like I’m complaining.  I do have to say that I’m not sure how to not be annoyed with the behavior of my co-workers.  Even though I know they are young, I have a hard time believing that they don’t know better.

Here are some pics:

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We were on our 4th or 5th bottle of champagne by this time.  I forget how many we had.  Mimosas for everyone.  Ignore the pink flowers in the middle of the table.  It was the closest thing to Christmas flowers the boys downstairs had.

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My first Christmas ham.

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The table set for dinner.    I got to use my “new” vintage napkin rings.

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I told you I’m soooo gay.

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Now it’s time to start prepping for the New Year.

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7 thoughts on “Christmas Dinner

  1. Rick December 28, 2008 / 09:39

    Wow, the table looks beautiful and the ham delicious! Looks like you hosted a wonderful event for your friends. You’re right; they should have had the common courtesy to help clean. They look old enough to know better.

  2. javabear December 28, 2008 / 10:14

    It looks generally wonderful. Congrats on the ham! The ham and the potatoes and potatoes, and all the rest of the yummy stuff. It sounds like a first class Christmas dinner. The decor, table setting, all of it looks beautiful. Gay or not, it’s classy.

    Much classier than not helping you clean up. Sheesh! How rude! I would have helped clean up. Well, truthfully, I would have been fast asleep curled up in a corner of the room. I know you are used to really late hours like that, but I’m not. I’m tired just reading about it.

    Glad you had a generally good time.

  3. Lemuel December 28, 2008 / 13:57

    Yes, you *are* gay! *big grin!*

    I think I recall that last year you said you spent C’mas Day watching Hallmark movies by yourself. Despite all the twists and turns in your day, I would say that this was way better.

    Have a great New Year!

  4. urspo December 28, 2008 / 21:01

    Someone likes to collect vintage napkin rings as well. you two should get together and swap/compare.

    It is always nice to see you in a photo !

  5. sortedlives December 28, 2008 / 21:26

    Loved your photos. You are quite handsome!!

  6. Bill December 28, 2008 / 21:41

    And the good news is…we all survived Christmas 2008!!!

  7. BearToast Joe December 30, 2008 / 15:02

    A very successful repast, it sounds like. And the picture with the ham: hot and delicious! And the ham looks good, too.

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