No matter what is thrown at us with outdoor entertaining, the food gets prepared, the drinks chilled, the guest bathroom cleaned, and the annoyance of numerous Costco trips is quickly forgotten. It will get done, because it has to.
In the last month, we’ve had four outdoor patio parties, three in the last week. It became so familiar that the kids no longer complained about their expected duties ... well, sort of. When their friends were over, they too were given a broom, asked to unload the car and take out the trash. The more hands, the better. If it wasn’t done properly the first time, they did it again. Being preoccupied with my own internal list, I had no sympathy when asking them to re-vacuum a previously hasty contribution.
While washing the outdoor dust off the grill and table, a stench of funk filled the air. Naturally, the trash from the previous party hadn’t be taken out. After a bottle of ammonia and soapy water, the trash can appeared to be clean. As I continued to putter about the patio, the stench continued to lurk. I tried to convince myself it was the leftover aroma from the forgotten trash treasure.
As I walked around the house, unfinished tasks continued to present themselves. Since civilized guests don’t care to gaze upon wrinkled piles of laundry, attacking the land mines of cotton became a priority. As I turned on the washer, water spit out like a pressured garden hose, gradually flowing to a trickle. I went about the house, angrily turning on non-flowing faucets. After a 20-minute call to Connecticut Water, I was told that contractors down my street had hit a water main. No water for four hours.
Gladly, laundry was out of the question. For the next few hours, I cut fresh flowers, squashed spiders, vacuumed cobwebs and pulled out the outdoor tables. The funk continued to greet me each time I went outside. As I went to the side of the house to grab a plastic bag flying on a branch, I found the source. The carcasses of two birds were within whiffing distance of the patio. A shovel was retrieved from the garage and the fly-infested carcasses flicked into the woods. Better the discovery now than with a patio full of guests.
As party time quickly approached, orders were barked a little louder while doubts of beer supply were questioned. The heat was intense.
After the clutter of magazines, random paper piles and dirty laundry baskets were hidden in the spare bedroom, the water was finally restored. Showers were taken and platters of food were put outside.
As guests arrived, a sense of calm had taken over. As I sipped my wine, I gazed upon the patio of happy guests and melting ice cubes ... days of preparation for a few hours of enjoyment. The laughter became louder and cars squeezed into tight street parking, and seeing everyone enjoy one another’s company made the handling of dead birds and forgotten trash all worthwhile.
It all got done, because it had to.