Raise your hand if you love a good party. I would imagine everyone would lift their appendage in agreement to such a sentiment. (Though you do realize you’re raising your hand in front of a computer screen right?) Raise your hand if you love to throw a good party. Not so many of you eager to throw your hands in the air and wave ‘em like you just don’t care is there?
Now don’t write it off to the hand/computer screen tease above; a lot of people simply have neither the time nor the inclination to host as it requires two commitments most of us would rather avoid. First, one must thoroughly clean their home inside and out. For most of us, this task is analogous to having a proctology exam performed by the Gimp from Pulp Fiction. Second, you must put your home, and by extension yourself, on display for judgment from others. Friends, friends of friends, neighbors wondering what the Hell is going on and why weren’t they invited, etc. Throwing a party is chock full of obstacles that Indiana Jones would have trouble negotiating. My wife Charger Gal and I, however, are not afraid.
Cleaning tasks for Charger Gal and I are fairly spread out. I handle the outside; this includes mowing lawns and sweeping leaves into piles while my iPod blares at volumes surely causing more hearing loss than the plethora of heavy metal concerts I attended in my teenage years. This is followed by utilizing an outdoor vac that makes me look as close as I’ll ever get to a Ghostbuster. Charger Gal handles mopping floors and all kitchen related activities while singing along to her iPod. Her voice is decent, but tends to go one octave above her song of choice. We switch off inside vacuuming and cleaning the rooms but she rids the couch of dog hair while I clean the bathrooms. You’d think this deal would clearly favor Charger Gal, but our beloved black lab B Is Love sheds her fine coat with such frequency that I’ll take scrubbing residual pubic hair and fecal specs and chalk it up as a draw.
Now comes the most important part of the entire behind the scenes process. The activity that without question separates “This party rocks!” from “Maybe next time.” Charger Gal’s nap. A happy cook is a well prepped cook so while Master Chef Charger Gal peacefully slumbers; her dutiful Sous Chef extraordinaire gets everything ready to roll. Charger Gal awakens and strides into the kitchen, ready to perform culinary miracles. I make my exit and retreat to the comfort of the DVR. This lasts until the inevitable moment that a fury of expletives is released from the kitchen, signaling that I will be taking a trip to the market to pick up a missing key ingredient needed for one of the appetizers for the party.
Upon my return, the guests begin to arrive. They are all greeted by B Is Love’s best impression of Dug the Dog, jumping up on them and proclaiming “I have just met you and I loooove you!” Charger Gal and I have tried keeping her down from people and time has certainly mellowed her, but she loves guests and isn’t afraid to show it. It’s better than a bite in the ass. The guests make their drink requests, take a seat, and relax. Now the old saying goes “It’s not a party until something gets broke.” At our house, it’s not a party until B Is Love shocks someone into reflexively lifting their glass before encountering her tail o’ doom. This canine attachment only whips across our coffee table a couple of times, but does so at speeds normally reserved for Gulf Coast Hurricanes that FEMA fails to pay immediate attention to so drinker beware.
B Is Love mellows and the vibe turns decidedly chatty; people who have never met get to know one another, people from different avenues of my life catch up on what’s new since the last time they saw each other at a previous party. I take a moment to step back from the festivities and gaze at the panoramic view of the people I am so fortunate to know happily coexisting in one place. It is my favorite activity of any party we throw and I revel in it like Tony Soprano savoring a stogie.
This mental photograph gives way to the taking of actual photos. Candid shots, group shots, couples shots, B Is Love jumping on people shots, and harmlessly risqué poses while grinning like a Cheshire cat shots. You would think this compulsive need we have for taking pictures would necessitate a secret photo lab, but it doesn’t. We just like to have memories of everything. When Charger Gal and I are 75, holding hands, and swinging in a rocker on the front porch while drinking lemonade spiked with some sort of alcoholic chaser, we’ll have these photos to serve as the touchstones of our lives and the people we shared it with.
Yes, I know this is starting to border on a melancholy Daniel Stern voiced Wonder Years monologue, but what can I say? Even the smartest of smart asses has a maudlin moment now and then.
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