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Monday, December 7, 2009

First annual FuCHTYP a resounding success

Friday

Migraine notwithstanding, today I have to run around to pick up the rest of my party supplies: the big-ass fish, food, beverages, etc. All the key things. Of course, I wind up confronting one crushing disappointment, nay tragedy, after another. Treasure Island has no quince paste to go on my cheese tray, Trader Joe’s no longer carries the yummy empanadas that were the one frozen item I was going to pass off as my own. Damn. TJ always does this to me, this deliberate discontinuing of the things I like most. Clearly a conspiracy is at work here.

This evening, the salmon goes into its bucket of brine for the night. I make a few dishes that can be pre-made, like the crab dip that’ll go into the oven to bake on the day of. And I had planned to clean the house today as well, but this fucking migraine is still making it feel like someone is stabbing an ice pick into the back of my eye. There’ll be plenty of time tomorrow to clean.

Saturday, 6AM

Shit. Still have the migraine. WTF?? Guess I’ll pop another one of these useless Dr. Reddy generic worthless crapola hucksterish pills.

8AM

To the dog park, as usual. The sunglasses keep the light out enough to prevent my head from exploding. Though what’s this? Hmm, I think the migraine may be downgrading into just a severe headache. Hallalujah!

10AM

Okay, fish is out of the brine, time to start the grill. Thank god the Jewel sells briquettes even in the dead of winter. It’s okay if I use the “let’s keep throwing lighter fluid on the briquettes until we get a huge roaring fire” method, right?

10:05 AM

As Eddie Murphy would say, “now THAT’S a fire!”

10:10 AM

Okay, I hear sirens. Whew, they don’t seem to be stopping here. But I guess I could tone it down with the lighter fluid a bit, huh?

10:15 AM

Back inside. Where to start? Hmm, I’ll try to be efficient here, somewhat. I’ll prepare stuff that needs to be put in the oven, then clean while it’s baking, and so on. Now what would that be, that can go in the oven now? Oh yeah – nothing. Great thinking on my part, to decide to serve all sorts of food that are “best when prepared no more than an hour beforehand.” Brilliant, just brilliant. Where’s that alcohol??

10:30AM

Meatballs in the oven. Crab stuffing for mushrooms prepared. No time to actually stuff the mushrooms, but I can do that later. Must keep cleaning. I find a stuffed toy that I got way back when from the nice neighbors Ed and Kerri when they lived next door. It’s a stuffed cat dressed up in gangster attire. I give it to Kona, and for the next half hour all I hear is “Are you talkin’ to ME?” emanating from the toy. Great. Like that’s not annoying or anything.

Noon

A clean house is so overrated. Besides, if I get people likkered up enough, they surely won’t notice the dustballs as big as their head, right?

12:30 PM

Ah, nothing like the fine Huebner tradition of making smoked fish on the coldest day of the year. At least it’s not snowing. Oh, wait.....

12:35 PM

The fish is done. After I bring it in, somehow without burning myself, I have to work really hard to keep myself from picking at it. It’s that good. I mean bad. Yeah, that’s it – it turned out so awful that I really shouldn’t serve it to guests. Alas.

4:00 PM

Let’s see, I still haven’t made half the food and the house isn’t anywhere near being clean. I know, I’ll string up the Christmas lights! People won’t notice the dustballs and lack of food if things look festive enough, right?

5:15 PM

Well, so much for my vision of food nicely laid out, glogg warming up enticingly, Belgian chocolates beckoning from candy dishes. Though, it’s not like people will be coming early – party time of 7PM means they’ll show up at 9, I’m guessing. But I clearly don't have nearly enough food. Shit.

5:20 PM

The doorbell rings. Peg was planning on coming over early to help out and try out the beverages with me. Hmm. I put her to work immediately. “Stuff those mushrooms, wrap those dates, tote that bale,” I bark. Geez, am I expected to do *everything* around here??

6:15 PM

I’m still cleaning, haven’t gotten ready yet, Peg is ably wrapping dates and scallops in bacon. At least she’s liking – or pretending to like – the plink plink plink of the Ukrainian Christmas bandura music I’ve put on. And I calculate I have at least until 8 to get ready. At least.

6:55 PM

The doorbell rings. It’s Annette and Joel, and Annette’s toting the pièce de résistance: the Fuck Cancer holiday cake that she made and decorated herself. Sweet! I put them both to work. When our backs are turned for a brief moment, Kona makes his move, stealing a bacon-wrapped date from the counter. I take the date from him, remove the toothpick, and give it back. Normally I do run a tight ship around here, especially where The Kone is concerned, but today’s a day of celebration, right?

7:00PM

Doorbell again. Debbie and Jake. I put them to work.

7:05PM

Doorbell. Bridget and Colleen. Bridget is ironically festooned in pink. Both put to work.

7:08PM

Bell. Susan. Then Motya. I just point them in the direction of the dining room and kitchen, and give Annette the task of answering the door. Have to make a sign instructing people to just come in.

7:15PM

Dan Lee shows up, bringing with him the pièce de résistance, the jamon Serrano. He would have brought the exalted jamon Iberico, but alas, they were out of it until Monday. We’ll make do. Dan also brings a rawhide chewie for Kona, using the bait-and-switch method to keep him away from the jamon. Smart man, that Dan.

Liz and Jon then arrive, and what’s this? Another treat for The Kone! My boy is raking it in tonight....

7:25PM

Yes, I’m still not ready, and there’s a dining room full of people standing around being all sorts of productive. Do I have the best friends in the world or what?? Meredith shows up with the pièce de résistance: the book CancerVixen as well as a book called WTF, which sounds like something I should have written, dammit. Actually, she shows up with two pièces, since she also brings a cute hunk of eye candy named Mike, who’s also very nice AND funny. Nice job Mer!

7:45PM

Finally I’m ready, and can attempt to be helpful at my own party! Where’s that alcohol again? I finally come to the realization that no, I’m not going to have a chance to clean the floor, and people will just have to accept a messy house. But hey, look at those Christmas lights twinkling!

7:51PM

Kona was excited when the first few people arrived, but then started ignoring all the hubbub to focus on the food prep area. Then Jennifer and Bo arrive, they of Terra fame (as I explain to everyone sotto voice that Terra is Kona’s “girlfriend”), and he’s beside himself with excitement. He loves Jennifer and Bo. But now that they’re here, Kona is over it all, and decides to plunk himself down in the dining room. Stretched out, by the table, close to the doorway into the kitchen. In other words, right in the thick of things. I think he’s hoping to clean up on dropped food, or has visions of someone tripping over his sprawled out limbs, with the same result: food. Ah, a little dog’s hope springs eternal.

8:02PM

Shit, I haven’t put the pièce de résistance - the smoked fish - on a platter and brought it out yet! And my guests are taking the clown car approach to mingling, which is to see just how many people can stuff themselves into the dining room. Not that it’s a BIG APARTMENT that I FEVERISHLY CLEANED (to a certain extent anyway) so that people would have places to sit and hang out or anything. Oh no, not that.

I’m also attempting to make the seared tuna chunks, and damn, still have to make that sign for the door.......

8:12PM

MLSFBF Kat arrives, so now the party can truly begin. She finally gets to see her handiwork firsthand, namely the bike cozy she knitted to adorn Salome.

I then wander back into the dining room, and there’s Debbie, looking stricken. It’s never good when someone prefaces their comments with “I hope you’re not going to be too mad…”

My mind immediately conjures up all sorts of “bad” party scenarios. Did Kona abscond with the entire smoked fish? Did he send a tray of bacon-wrapped dates flying everywhere? Did he manage to get some hot glogg spilled on himself? Hmm, interesting how all my disaster visions involve The Kone.

Debbie: “I spilled some red wine….”
Me, relieved: “Oh, is THAT it? Don’t worry about it!”
Debbie: “But….”
Me: “No, really, no big deal. I thought it was something really bad. Hell, it’s not considered a party until the first glass of alcohol has been spilled, right?”

Keep picking up the bowl with the chunks of tuna to sear, then putting it down to dash off to do something else.

8:35PM

I’ve just been exposed as the shameless liar, some would say fraud, that I truly am.

Scott: Umm, Tasha, for all your talk of drinking heavily, we noticed that all your liquor bottles have dust on them. What’s up with that?

Curses!

9:48PM

The Gooey Butter Cake is a huge hit – Paula would be proud. As are the ironically decorated pink ribbon brownies. And the Fuck Cancer cake, well, that’s in a class of its own.

Gave up on the tuna chunks, those have gone back in the frig, since there's already more than enough food to feed an army, but at least there’s now a sign on the door: “Please just come in! P.S. Fuck Cancer!”

10:32PM

MLSFBF Kat expresses disappointment that Deanna is a no-show. I explain that since Deanna refuses to ever have people over to her place, there’s not much point in her coming to mine, since the usual reason people come to my parties (i.e. to emulate me down to the last detail) doesn’t apply. Plus I think Deanna has a 40-mile trail run in WI or something today, though I don’t really get why that would factor in.

11:06PM

I go to the frig to get someone a beverage, and suddenly it hits me: I forgot to bake the crab dip. Gee, you’d think that would have occurred to me one of the other MILLION times I went to the refrigerator for something, especially since the dip is right on the top shelf, right in front, in a big bowl. I so have a brain tumor, don’t I…..

11:48PM

Bridget confesses that she thought I was kidding about the big-ass salmon and my intent to smoke fish on the grill. Note: the Huebners never joke about the smoked fish. I do give credit where credit is due, however, and tell everyone that the fish is made with my dad’s secret recipe, and that whenever I was having a party in my younger years, the FIRST question that anyone asked me after I told them about the shindig was this: “Is your dad making his smoked fish?” This is corroborated later on Facebook, when an old friend who I haven’t seen in years but who went to my parties in my youth commented “Your dad would be so proud of you!” Ah, memories. Thanks dad. You may have helped spawn The Cancer what with smoking like a chimney around me your whole life, but the smoked fish recipe makes up for that. Well, somewhat. Not that I’m bitter or anything. Much.

2AM

Annette and Joel want to stay and help clean, but I shoo them out; guests do NOT clean. Though you know, I’d say it’s a mark of what good friends I have that when they started showing up promptly at 7, and I was nowhere near ready, I just put them to work. Not only did they pitch in willingly, but they also shooed me off to finish my own party prep. These are truly good people. Friends, not guests. Definitely a difference.

There’s a bit of glogg left in the crockpot, and far be it from me to let fine alcohol go to waste. Bottoms up! A toast to my dear friends, and to all the girls from YSC, who I know join me in saying a hearty Fuck Cancer!!

Sunday morning

Hmm, how did I wind up with more alcohol than I started out with? I feel like I have more food too, based on how full the frig is. Good thing I was sending people home with food, or I’d really be up shit’s creek. The splitting headache is back, of course. But the accolades start pouring in, with many people remarking on how well-behaved The Kone was. What can I say – must be all that intensive training I put him through. Or, umm, something like that. Okay, I think he was just kind of full.

In thinking about my party, I’m reminded of one that I went to years ago with Steve when I was still working for Accenture. It was a married couple throwing this Christmas party in their new condo, and the guy was an AP or Partner with the firm – in other words, making more money than God, theoretically old enough to know proper etiquette. And the place was perfectly appointed (well, except for the crumbling exposed bricks, but that’s new construction in Chicago for you), and the party was one of those catered affairs, very chi-chi in its dimly-lit elegance, as people mingled and wandered around. At one point, the host walked over to us and asked us what we wanted to drink, and I wasn’t in a drinking mood that evening.

Steve: A glass of wine would be great.
Me: Could I just get a 7-up or ginger ale or something?
Asshole Host: In a cocktail?
Me: No, just a soda, if you don’t mind.

He walks off without another word, then returns a little while later.

AH, handing Steve a glass: Steve, here’s your wine, a lovely 1968 Blahblahblah Rothschild Blahblah.

And then he turns to me with a sneer clearly written on his face.

AH: And here’s the drink for the kindergarten set.

Which he unceremoniously plunks down on the table next to us, as he then walks off. Yeah, I know – lo these many years later, it still shocks even me, the unbelievable rudeness. What the hell does he know about why I'm not drinking, and why be an ass about it? And this story illustrates a couple of things – one of course is the obvious, which is that having money doesn’t guarantee that you have any class. The other is that if that’s what being rich does to you, then I’d rather be the way I am right now, i.e. poor. Because if you measure wealth based on the friends you have and the company you keep........then I am truly the richest girl in town.

4 comments:

Jen E. said...

party was rockin! torsten and I had a great time!!! I think everyonen did, you're friends were really fun! Thanks for having a fcancer holiday festival!

D said...

You and I both know there's no way that I'm reading a post that long. Glad the party was great (and I only know this from the previous commenter)!

Halfway Homie said...

Great Party, fantastic friends hope to be at the next one, especially if you're smoking a fish.

Deborah said...

Thanks for having us, Tasha, it was so much fun, and I'm so glad you're not pissed off about the spilled wine. I forgot to point out Jake's pink shirt in honor of you know what, but he told me that with your natural genius you would have figured it out... :-)