I’ve been getting ready to host a bridal shower for my darling niece Lauren. I love Lauren, and I love parties. I love hosting parties for Lauren! Lets’ face it, I love hosting parties. Period. When my girls were small, we had birthdays with themes: Hollywood galas, scavenger hunts, murder mystery dinners. I would plan for months and months, then execute with nary a hiccup. Pomp and circumstance had nothing on me. Fluff and accouterments were on my speed dial.
I decided on a Greek-themed shower — a nod toward the island of Santorini, where Lauren and Crimson will honeymoon. Just like when the girls were little, in my heyday of party planning, I’ve been doing my homework. Only now I’ve got the added benefit (or curse) of the World Wide Web, the modern-day Arachne, where all sorts of provocative party ideas are continuously woven and spun. Pinterest and Etsy are the hostesses with the mostesses in this seductive web, shouting “Salutations!” at every click of my mouse. I have found myself mesmerized by fruit-infused waters and Mediterranean food platters, cream-centered cupcakes and burlap bridal bunting. And now that it’s just under two weeks till go time, I have found that what I thought were friendly salutations by a couple of mild-mannered Charlottes were really charlatans of the ““Step into my parlor, said the spider to the fly” variety. I am wrapped tighter than a tick in a tourniquet. I am destined for a Pinterest Fail.
What was I thinking?!?! I have twin boys, for God’s sake! Toddler. Twin. Boys. The Scylla and Charybdis of party planning. You know, those two sea monsters Odysseus managed to outsmart — pretty much the only mortal to ever do so? And here I am, the good-intentioned sailor out to navigate waters I think I can handle because I’m experienced. I’ve thrown parties before. I’ve done shindigs. Hooplas. Gatherings. Should be smooth sailing. But I’ve underestimated my opponents. They’re Scylla and Charybdis, for the gods’ sake. And I’m the foolish mortal insane enough to think I can pull off a shower, a BRIDAL shower — with cocktails and place settings, menus and color schemes — amidst the tandem whirling, twirling tantrums and takedowns of Scylla and Charybdis! What was I thinking?!?!?!
Cooking is pretty much nonexistent in our household. Not because I can’t cook, but because I CAN’T cook. I can’t open the pantry door because the boys come running like a herd of hungry Hydra heads. They want chips. They want fruit. They want Oreos. They want cereal. They want bread. They want. They want. They want. We keep a lock on the pantry door. No lie. My husband has to run interference when I need to get out the ingredients for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’ve never seen anything like it. So how do I prepare a Grecian feast, replete with olive-cucumber bruschetta, spanakopita, orzo salad and baklava (Damn you, Pinterest, and your trembling, silvery siren song!) if I can’t even open the refrigerator unless the boys are out of hearing distance?!?!?
My housekeeping is not a total loss, mind you. I’ve gotten good at diversionary tactics to gain an advantage and win small, incremental victories. Laundry gets done because the boys love to forage in the garbage can. It usually buys me the time I need to open the laundry room door and get things out of the dryer. I make sure there’s nothing too dangerous in there before I give them access to the rubbish in Pandora’s box, I promise. A few banana peels and eggshells never hurt anyone, salmonella aside. But why use a decoy for the LAUNDRY room, you wonder? Well, the brooms hang in there… and my boys will fight over the brooms for hours on end. It’s like a Clash of the Titans remix. I also have a few tried and true tricks to get things done in the bathroom. While I wash my face, they surf my vanity. It’s only three feet high and they do have young, flexible bones. And I don’t think it’s too terrible that I let them suck toothpaste out of the tube so I can have four minutes to shave my legs. I only let it happen once a week, after all. The rest of the time I’m a close cousin to a Centaur, which I think Mike is okay with… since a Centaur is a sexy beast. Of course she is.
So while I’ve carved out a few precarious routes to housekeeping and hygiene success, I am still very concerned. If I can’t open the pantry or fridge, how will I ever cook up a formal Greek spread? And if I can’t shave my legs, much less apply makeup and do my hair, how do I possibly think I can get the house decorated and presentable enough to warrant the kind of celebration my sweet niece deserves? There’s not enough garbage and toothpaste in the universe!
Did I mention the shower color scheme is cobalt blue and chalk white — I’ve been painting wine bottles white and hording Skyy vodka bottles since April. It has been my favorite activity, procuring these bottles. Only one glass of wine a night. Ok, sometimes two… And speaking of painting, while spraying some wrought iron chairs this weekend, I inadvertently painted the balls and heels of my feet a sparkling sapphire, simply by walking on the drop cloth. To borrow a friend’s comment, I looked like I’d been making Smurf wine. Tate couldn’t stop staring. And touching. Parker was slightly afraid. Two days later, they still randomly ask if my feet are “stinky” and my toe creases still have flecks of Santorini in them – and so does the floor of my tub. I’m counting on scrubbing bubbles to come to my rescue, if I can ever find three minutes and our lost tubes of toothpaste to work on it…
On Sunday, for some glorious reason, the boys were exceptionally well-behaved, so I took the opportunity to do a trial run on the cupcakes and gyros. There were merely two broomstick battles and one table dancing injury, thanks to Mike’s generous assistance. It only took me seven hours to complete the recipes. Seven hours. To make two recipes. Out of eleven. Next weekend — shower weekend — I will have no Mike. He will be at a coaches’ retreat. I think he’s quite happy he’ll miss it, my attempt to outsmart Scylla and Charybdis. But I won’t be alone. I’ll have a whole houseful of out-of-town family, including my girls, my grandbaby, my baby sister, my mom and my beloved niece. Together, we must create Santorini-in-a-shower, complete with blue domed cupcakes and a spread fit for the gods. We can do this, right? We can juggle babies and burlap, bar drinks and baking. We can avoid a Pinterest Fail and conquer the universe – or at least a picturesque Greek island in the Aegean. Right?
I think I need more wine… bottles. I need more wine bottles.