My husband and I love to have people over to our house. I always thought we were pretty complementary to each other. (And complimentary, but that’s another story.) I serve appetizers, he pours wine. I make dinner, he pours more wine. I serve dinner, he pours wine. I clean up the kitchen, he goes to bed.
Oh, I’m kidding. He sometimes helps me put the washed wine glasses away before he hits the sack.
It’s not easy being the bartender. You don’t want your guests to feel like they’re drinking too much (God forbid they stop drinking. You may have to carry on a conversation that isn’t slurred.) So you have a drink with them, graciously offer to refill their glasses and have another drink with them. No one ever accused my husband of not being a good host.
So this week was an interesting experiment in what happens when two good hosts are split up to compete against each other. And if you know us at all, you know this would be a competition. We not only vie over who can correctly pick the bottom three on American Idol, we compete over who can have the most influential LinkedIn and Facebook friends, who can vacuum in straighter lines, and who uses hotter water in the shower.
In his Florida bachelor pad, my husband had the Maurer family visiting from Pittsburgh. Jack, Brigid, Sara, Ali and John Maurer, drove in from their Disney vacation, to see him and the beach and presumably to have a couple glasses of wine.
I hosted a little Easter dinner for my friend Tara, her daughter, Kat, my nephew Robbie and his friend Dan.
I started a week in advance planning my menu and shopping for ingredients. Four days before, I cleaned the house, paying particular attention to the dining room, which normally breeds cobwebs and crickets, it’s so seldom used. Three days before I washed all the good silverware and good serving dishes and ironed the cloth napkins with the bunnies on them. Two days before, I made the Jell-O, which required five bowls, countless spoons, the tea kettle and waiting three hours for individual layers to set. The day before, I shopped for wine (a strange, new experience for me), bought some Easter-y cocktail napkins and bought a board game for us to play after dinner. This morning I got up at 5:30 a.m. to make potatoes, marinate the salmon, make appetizers and fill deviled eggs before church.
For our dinner I chose the music myself and poured the wine without passing out by dessert.
Everyone had fun and I was pleased to have pulled it off by myself.
And then I heard the report on my husband’s hosting experience.
“They had a blast,” he said. How did you manage it?, I asked him. I knew for a fact that he didn’t get up until 9:45, fifteen minutes before they arrived, and I had it on good authority that he does not, in fact, own a single cocktail napkin.
“I just made sure I had Hot Pockets in the freezer, Gatorade in the fridge, and beer for Jack. Brigid and the girls stayed at the beach all day.”
When you have the Atlantic Ocean and Hot Pockets, who needs wine?