So you know how you invite someone for dinner and you want everything to be perfect, even though your dinner guest is just a long-time friend or perhaps your mother, who you know would never think of judging you?
After a busy workweek, I'd spent the always-too-short weekend cleaning. On Sunday, I whipped up a batch of meals for the week and to save in the freezer. I so deserved the Suzi Homemaker Award, and I figured I'd win it that night through my Grand Finale of inviting a dinner guest.
It started off well. The Homemaker Trophy was practically in my hands.
Dinner Guest: "Wow, you've been busy! I thought you were just making shish kabobs. Gosh, it looks like every seasoning you own is on the counter!"
Me: "Oh, those. You're right. Those are all the spices I own. The Lazy Susan door is broken, so I've been keeping everything inside it out here on the counter until it's fixed. It's actually kind of convenient, having all of them right here. You never know when you'll need a teaspoon of mustard seed or maybe some saffron, right? Can I get you something to drink?"
Guest (following me to the refrigerator): "Sure. Uh-oh." She points to the hardwood floor in front of the fridge, where a puddle of water has pooled. "Looks like you have a problem with your refrigerator."
Me: "Yeah, I really need to get that fixed." I mop up the floor with a wad of paper towels. I grab our drinks, and we head to the back deck. "Beautiful night, huh? Glad you kept your shoes on when you came in the house though. I tried to powerwash the deck last year and it ended up in splinters instead. They really should warn you about getting that nozzle too close to the wood. I'll bet lots of people have that problem. I need to get it sanded and water-protected again. It's on my list to do. Maybe next year."
Guest (staring at the ripped-up wood deck and then turning toward the yard): "No problem. Boy, that rose bush is really beautiful."
Me: "Thanks! I probably do need to get the lawn mowed though. Pretty soon, I guess."
Guest: "Yeah, I did notice it's a bit, uh, long."
Me: "Well, my mower's still broken. My neighbor thinks the grass is too tall to cut even with her rider mower. I'll probably have to hire a service with some type of tractor. They don't ask you to pick up the dog poop first, do they? Because I tried today, but with the grass this tall I couldn't really find it. Shoot--I better make sure I tell them to use the fence gate on the left. The one on the right broke last year. Or was that two years ago?"
Guest: "Two years ago? Doesn't that drive you crazy?"
Me: "Nah. The other gate still works. As long as you push the bottom pole up with your foot and twist the handle really, really hard."
Me: "Guess I should start the grill." I turn on the gas and the burners, roll up a piece of newspaper and light the end. The paper flares and then dies out.
Guest: "Is your grill igniter not working?"
Me: "No, it broke right after I bought the grill. And I never could find the warranty. It's really no big deal to light it manually."
Guest: "Wouldn't it be easier to use one of those long fireplace and grill lighters?"
Me: "Yeah, I had one but it stopped working last week." I relight the newspaper and point the flaming coil into the grill. With a boom, the grill burners flare. I blow hard on the burning paper, but instead of extinguishing the flames, it appears to feed them. I run in the house and throw the paper into the sink, just as the edges of my fingernails turn black.
We move on to dinner, which is fabulous. *Of course.* My dinner guest utters words of admiration and appreciation and then offers to help clean up.
Guest: "Can I put these dirty dishes in the dishwasher?"
Me: "Sure--but just the plates and silverware, into the bottom rack. I'll have to get the glasses because the top rack has been way off-kilter. It takes a special touch to pull it out and move it back. It's on my list to get fixed."
Guest (hesitating): "Oh. OK. Why don't I just take care of these cans and bottles then? Can I take them out to your recycling bin in the garage?"
Me: "That would be great, thanks. It's probably pretty full though; I forgot to put it out at the curb last week."
Guest: (nearly inaudible sigh.)
Me (calling after her): "Probably because I haven't been using that door to the garage. Oh, don't let that door close behind you. I'm having a bit of a problem with the handle. The door can only be opened from the inside. I've locked myself out twice already." I laugh. "Funny story, about that. Last month..."
Guest: (Interrupts me by knocking at the closed door.)
The funny thing is, after I played around with the door handle and let her back in the house, my dinner guest seemed to leave in a hurry. She didn't appear to be in the mood to hear any funny stories at all.
That's fine though. I'll just add telling that story to my list of things-to-do.
I have a few of those.
Any annoying little household problems you've been putting off? Any chance you know the difference between a screwdriver and a butter knife? If so, can I borrow you for a few weeks?