Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Big Birthday Extravaganza!!

If you read here obsessively (and who doesn't?) you know that I've been planning MBBE (My Big Birthday Extravaganza) for a long time. Here on my blog, we had that controversial vote on what kind of patio furniture I should buy (still referred to today as "The Great Firepit Brawl of 2008"), I wrote up a riveting piece about getting the house ready for company and I've mentioned MBBE whenever the conversation seemed to be steering away from ME. So, yeah, you should be aware of it.

I received six confirmed "yeses" from out-of-town guests and made up a list of our favorite local friends to include in a party. I considered various venues and finally settled on "The Swinging Door", a restaurant/Texas dance hall.

This past month was the big push. I sewed curtains, cleaned out closets, planted flowers, made lists and learned a new language (hey, you never know where an extravaganza might take you). I came up with an itinerary for my visiting company so that the weekend would be dazzling and awe-inspiring- the kind you return to in your memory for years to come. (Hey, I can say whatever I want now. Who's to know?)

And then we had an unexpected visitor one week before company was arriving: Hurricane Ike. Damn you, Ike! (I'm shaking my fist at my computer screen.) I called off the BIG party before Hurricane Ike hit and put the out of town folks on hold. I wasn't sure what conditions would be like here after the storm, but I wasn't ready for everyone to cancel their flights just yet.

Ike swept through, our house and those of us inside it survived, but we were without power and phones. Most stores, restaurants and local attractions were closed. By the third day of this, I still wasn't sure what to tell my guests. And even if I knew what to say, I wasn't sure I could get in touch with them.

We were finally able to get through to my Mom the day before she was to fly in and she said she still wanted to come. She was coming a few days ahead of our other guests because she wanted to be available to help me around the house. Lucky for her, our electricity was restored as she drove with my husband back from the airport.

Lucky for her, not such great timing for me. The lights came on and I could see the dirt and leaves tracked through my house. Laundry was piled up, bathrooms needed attention. The frig was empty. I did what I could before Mom walked into the house and then all I could do was stay out of her way as she took over.

I would have been happy with making sure my guests had clean bathrooms and sheets but Mom was going for perfection. She cleaned walls and blinds and ceiling fans and anything else that couldn't run away from her disinfecting sponge. By the time my three sisters, one brother-in-law and one college friend arrived, the house was gleaming.

We had a great time. We managed to find a Mexican restaurant and a Texas bar-b-q place open for business for a couple of our meals. We even pulled off a small-scale Extravaganza!! back at the house with about ten local friends in attendance. The requisite embarrassing stories and photos were shared, good food was consumed and drinks flowed.

I'm still a bit disappointed I couldn't have a party with loud music, dancing and ALL of my favorite people, but I got a more intimate version of what I wanted. Despite Ike's best efforts, we managed to throw together a gathering that filled my house with good vibes that I can still feel today even though the gleaming spaces are now empty.

Mission accomplished.


Anonymous said...

It was a great party and I was there to tell you so! I guess she will have to start planning the next round of parties! Maybe Henry's 1st or Jake's 21st or Jamie's graduation or our "50-something" party!!!

Lubiana said...

I'm so glad it all worked out! That was incredibly nice of your mother to clean for you like that! :)

Soul Reporter said...

Aw, moms, gotta love 'em. I'm happy for you that everything turned out great.

Anonymous said...

Happy to help out. It's always more fun cleaning at other people's homes than your own!

It was wonderful being together. It's not that often that all four sisters are in the same state, no less in the same kitchen!

Our Puerto Rican sister, Ileana, was quite a hit with the Texans. I can't imagine what she has done to her 350 person small town in Nebraska!

There are great memories of the event, and you look pretty darm good for 50!
Love to all, Caryl's Mom