Zen and the art of pasta dinner maintenance

Well, THAT went well!

I floated through the pasta dinner on fluffy white clouds of easiness and danced through glittery rainbows of I-can-handle-this.

What made this dinner so easy compared to the last one? Two things: other people and Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Five other families signed up to contribute to the food so there was no underabundance and frantic casting about for spaghetti sauce. I prepped for the lasagna yesterday by grating cheese and browning the meat. Early this afternoon I made the four lasagnas and then after I washed the dishes necessary for the lasagna prep, I filled two pots with water and sat them on the stove, ready at a moment's notice (or 4:30 p.m.) to boil for spaghetti noodles. I heated up spaghetti sauce in the crock pot (on the deck--no sense in heating up the house more than I had already). Then I sat for 15 minutes to read The Lost Symbol. After 15 minutes, I cleaned for half an hour. Then I read for another 15 minutes. Then I cleaned for half an hour. Et cetera (until 4:30 when I had to heat up the water and finalize the food placement on the table prior to kids showing up). Alternating some relaxing reading in with specific amounts of time cleaning helped keep my head from detaching and rolling off to parts unknown.

And so the house was as clean as I wanted it to be and the food was ready to go when Paul texted me that they were on their way. I had five helpers (Jim, Liz, Linda, Mrs. Brian's-mom-whose-name-I-have-forgotten, and Mr. Brian's-dad-whose-name-I-think-might-be-Mike). Mr and Mrs. Brian's-parents brought chairs and tables and the evening was so perfect weatherwise that all the kids ate outside!

I was so glad to have prepared better this time because then I was kind of excited to see the stampede of 30 hungry runners. They are a good group of teenagers. I thoroughly enjoyed standing on the fringes of 10 conversations occurring concurrently. It was like the bubbling of a vigorous stream that I could dip my fingers into and let it wash over me and I didn't have to dive in to enjoy its refreshing and rushing energy.
The parents who helped all agreed that it went well and that if I was willing to be the host again next year, they would be here to help. I don't mind having it here as it gives me the motivation to clean the house.

And I get the leftovers.

P.S. I found out why Paul didn't want to host a pasta dinner--because he was afraid I'd flip out again. *Ashamed sigh* This year went so well that he said that he would be happy to have it here again next year.


Jenni said…
I'm so glad it went well. It is nice to be reminded that sometimes things can go as planned. My kids have the same phobia as Paul. I think we had the same phobia with mom, too. Is it inherited, or just a sign of good parenting?
Jeannine said…
I'm glad everything went well. I was a little worried after the last post. I use the work-read-work-read, etc. strategy all the time. It's the only way I get anything done.
glad it was a success. No surprise, really.
Dennis said…
I thought of coming over to crash the party because I LOVE lasagna and I could use the excuse that I was only delivering the remnants of Jim's mission pictures and your sun glasses but I chickened out.
DAN BROWN rocks. I want to read his book when you are done.
You could have come over, but then you would have to run in the Lakeville cross country meet tonight.
Jen said…
Glad to hear it went well without a hitch. It must have been nice to have all those kids outside, too.
Shantel said…
Is that a good book? I have been seeing/hearing alot about it. Gatherings like that scare me. Good Job!
Viellefemme said…
Dan's book arrived in the post on Wed night! I got to read some before bed and then last night before yoga and before bed......severed hand in the Capitol Rotunda! AWESOME.

Glad we are no longer on the hook for crowds for dinner - unless it's a holiday. This year, Thanksgiving in Portland! First time in 28 years I haven't been head chef for Thanksgiving. AND, we get to see Max!