Now all I have to say is, thank God for my cousin-in-law. She came first and let me tell you, seeing her was such a calming effect. Ok, the wine and seeing her were equally soothing. She helped me put out the appetizers and we spent a half hour in the kitchen talking about our husbands and how they have this annoying trait called the M trait. The M trait is a trait found in all men in our hubby's father's side of the family. When the M men set their mind on something, they fixate on it until a) whatever they are thinking about comes to fruition and b) it drives the people around them insane.
For example, my hubby's desire to change light switches the day of the dinner.
Now this isn't such a bad trait. In fact, many would say it's an admirable trait. However, when this dedication causes one to drill holes at 3am, it's more of a detriment; a detriment to my sanity. [My husband felt that I had wanted a pantry for so long, that building one at 3am was justifiable. Losing a few hours sleep should be forgivable since the outcome is a new pantry.]
Back to dinner. My cousin-in-law really did help me. I thanked her profusely. She kept my sanity in check. Aunt Maria brought cheeses. So everyone snacked on the crudités and the cheeses. Babysis loved the apartment . Although our pooches were locked behind a baby gate for most of the night, towards the end she allowed them to be 'free'. For the most part, they ignored her. Like most little girls, she was screaming and chasing them. But P-man and Z-girl were calm as cucumbers. It must have been a relaxing day at the spa for the pooches. She never did open the ello set but that isn't a big deal. She did love that the dogs had their own trunk of toys and that they knew how to get their own toys. And she loved the farting Pumba doll that Hubby bought me after we saw Lion King 1 1/2 (which I highly recommend to kids and parents). It became our little secret. Whenever she wanted to, she could go to my desk and squeeze my farting Pumba. [If you ever wanted to bond with a kid, make rude noises. They love that stuff.]
Oh, I did start a mini fire. I was toasting the fennel and coriander seeds when I got distracted. The funny thing was, no one noticed. Judy was shredding cheese with her back towards the stove. I started noticing that smoke was coming from the broiler. I opened up the oven a crack and flames were shooting out of the tin foil. I smothered them with my oven mitt (which is now ashen in color) and prayed no one noticed. Then Judy said, "Mmmm. Something smells heavenly. It also kind of smells like pot. Or maybe that's why it's so heavenly." That's when I confessed to her and showed her the tin foil. As I did, some of the seeds burst into flames again and I accidentally dropped it . Burning seeds rolled into the oven floor. My poor oven mitt was smothering overtime when Hubby came in and said, "Wow that smells good." I told him what happened and he laughed his butt off and then offered to vacuum for me. Judy and I left the kitchen to drink some more wine and when we returned my Hubby said that it sort of smelt like pot. We both chuckled. That's why everyone is having a good time!
The highlight of the night was to be able to see pops, hubby and uncle sitting together and chatting about family. I could have cared less if they hated the food. To see them laughing and sharing stories made all the frustration and aggravation worth it. And God help me, I told Hubby, I'd do it again just to see his pops connect with the family more.
As for the dinner, baby sis and step mom only ate the pasta and salad. But baby sis ate all of the pasta and broccollini. I even packed away leftovers for everyone. Dessert was outrageous. Why is it that whenever someone comes to our place for dinner, they bring dessert? They ask us, "What should I bring?" We always reply, "Liquor." They come with dessert. For dessert, we had on the table:
A Fruit Torte
6 mini fruit custards
8 berries and sabayon with chocolate shavings
Oh, and yes, I was allowed to give baby sis a tablespoon of strawberry ice cream with fresh berries. I brought out a scoop but it was too much. But heck, a little is better than nothing. You should have seen my cousin's face when I was asked to bring it back. I did get her to pick raspberries off a tiny torte though. Why is that a big deal? Well, she really doesn't hang out with kids her age. So for her to do kids things, like make farting noises, wear fake jewelry and pick the good parts from a cake, makes me happy. Hubby even said he hopes that when she's around us, she can feel like she is allowed to do more kid things. Heck, she has plenty of years to do the grown-up thing.
At 7:30pm we had to put on her favorite program. Guess what it is. It's Wheel of Fortune. Apparently, when they go away to France, she gets all uppidity because they can't watch Wheel of Fortune. I guess it's the lights and the colorful wheel and the clapping that make it so entertaining to kids. Or it could be that she watches it with her grandparents. Either case, by 7:50, my cousin-in-law, was shouting out the puzzles while baby sis was clapping and dancing to the sound of letters lighting up.
I guess that was the best sign that the dinner was a success.
Now, it's 1pm on a Sunday and I better get back to the dishes before my euphoria dissipates.
BTW, After reading about this
poor woman's family dinner, I'm glad I'm only walking away with flesh wound from a fingernail.