Saturday, November 26, 2011

Time, Where Art Thou?

As the sands through the hourglass, so these are the days of my life! Yes, my life was a drama or rather a combination drama/comedy.
My sister Bev had called me this morning crying hysterically. It seemed she’d planned a very lavish Thanksgiving soiree (that’s what she called it, anyway), but the kitchen help she’d booked had never shown up. They had the dates mixed up and so had booked another party for the same day.
I’d driven as fast as I could, without getting a ticket, from Oswego to Madison; no easy task let me tell you! I felt like a super heroine running to the rescue…once again. I drove into her long driveway, turned the engine off and hit the pavement running. The front door was locked and no amount of pounding got any results. I ran around to the back door and with dramatic flair flung it open and stopped in shock. It looked like a flour bomb had gone off in the kitchen. It seemed that the flour brigade had known exactly where to set the bombs, because I swear to you there didn’t appear to be a clean spot anywhere and right in the middle of the floor in the fetal position was Bev. Floury tears mixed with mascara made tracks down her face and she looked so pitiful.
Okay, I know it was unforgivable and time was running out, but I laughed until I cried. It took a good 15 minutes or so to get myself under control, so I could ask what the menu was. Finally, between my sister’s sobs and hiccups, I managed to get an idea of what she wanted. I shooed her out of the kitchen and got to work.
I didn’t bother cleaning up first; I didn’t have the time. I pulled the turkey and the ham out of the fridge, washed the turkey and left it covered in a towel to absorb the excess moisture and made a glaze for the ham. I let the glaze sit for a few minutes and made the stuffing for the turkey and quickly chopped walnuts, onions, apples and celery and combined it all. Darned if I didn’t have that turkey stuffed in a flash and in the lower wall oven. I turned and and made my way to the ham, collecting all the ingredients for the pecan and apple pies, the pumpkin flan and the rolls. I brushed the glaze on it and stuffed that porker in the other oven.
After a 5 minute breather I started an assembly line and instead of beating each of the ingredients for each recipe separately, I threw them all in at once and beat them at the same time, except for the pecans of course; that was a real time saver. Of course I kept stopping to look around, shake my head and giggle just a teeny bit. I finally had everything in the ovens and six timers going with sticky notes to indicate what each one was for.
I relaxed for a full 10 minutes, before I started making the dough for the hors d'oeuvres and put the ingredients for the champagne punch in the chiller. I started peeling russet potatoes for the vichyssoise my sister loved (I never could understand why they had to give cold potato soup such a strange name). I put the leeks and onion in butter over low heat and finished dicing the potatoes and assembling the rest of the ingredients, before placing the wine she’d chosen in the wine fridge. I finished assembling the pastries and put them in the refrigerator to wait for an empty oven.
I took a much-needed deep, cleansing breath and thoughts of disposing of my sister and hiding her body flitted through my mind, but I knew I didn’t have the time for that. I turned around and caught sight of my reflection in the microwave door; it was not a pretty sight! There was flour all over my face and I realized that I’d been kicking up flour with every step I took.
I finally had time to clean so I hauled Bev back in the kitchen, stuck the vacuum in her hands and made her vacuum every inch of that huge kitchen. She kept crying and muttering under her breath, “There’s not enough time” but, I pretty much ignored her and rolled my eyes. 
I wiped down the walls, cabinets and counters and by the time that was done, the pies and rolls were done and the flan was ready for it’s 2 hour visit with the fridge and it was time to put the pastries in the oven and baste the turkey and ham.
Finally, I sat my sister down and fixed two sandwiches with fresh sliced roast beef, cucumber, avocado and bacon on a French roll with homemade sauce and served it with fat free potato chips on the side and a big tall glass of Lily style Peach tea.
I looked around and sighed with relief, everything was sparkling clean and I could have eaten off the floor. We started giggling like teenagers and ran into the laundry room, throwing our clothes into the washer and taking turns in the shower. I was done in plenty of time to remove the pastries from the oven and baste the turkey and ham yet again.
I took a leisurely walk into the living room and found floury footprints all the way up the staircase. I quickly took the hand vac and cleaned all that up and started setting the table for the twenty invited guests, as well as the sideboard for the hors d'oeuvres and set out fluted goblets for the punch and wine. Once all that was done, I was back in the kitchen to baste the ham and turkey one last time and got to work on steaming the fresh asparagus and prepared the ingredients for the hollandaise sauce. I took a few minutes and put everything that needed to be kept warm in the warming drawers and proudly surveyed all my hard work. I must admit to being quite proud of myself, but I kept thinking there was something I’d forgotten.
I was done; finally I was done!! I felt like I could stand at the top of a mountain and scream it out at the top of my lungs. Yeah, I was truly hyped. I’d done everything and still had three hours to spare, but wasn’t there something I’d forgotten? I was sure it would come to me before too long.
I hummed one of my favorite songs and finished washing up anything that I’d used. All of a sudden, I had a feeling of impending doom and heard my sister behind me clearing her throat, gulping and clearing her throat again. Slowly I turned step by step (okay that was a Stooges thing); I turned and faced her and saw the grimace on her face. I swallowed and asked, “Now what Bev?”
“Lily? Umm, what day is this?” she asked. For a minute there I thought she’d lost her memory and didn’t know what was going on. This was Bev, anything was possible with her.
“It’s Wednesday, remember?” I asked gently. The grimace got worse, her eyes teared up and she said very quietly, “My party’s tomorrow.”
I thought the fixed smile on my face would split it in two. I grabbed a huge sticky note, wrote down what had to be done to keep most of the food in an edible condition for her party tomorrow and what time to take the ham and turkey out. I looked around until I found the ugliest roll of duct tape I could find, grabbed a huge bit of it, put it on that note, grabbed my purse, shoes and clean clothes and ignored her walking behind me blubbering her head off the entire time. I got to the back door, turned to her (she was still right behind me) and taped that big sticky note with duct tape right on her forehead and walked out the door.
I hit the pavement running, jumped in my car, revved up my engine and I was gone! I still felt like there was something I’d forgotten, but I was way too upset to remember what.
Anyway, I muttered to myself all the way out of Madison and I made myself a promise; I was never going to forgive or help my sister ever again and the next time she came by my house I was going to stick a potato in her tail pipe…the potatoes!!
Well, I’d made myself a promise and I wasn’t about to break it. Okay just one last time I promised myself, as I wearily turned the car into the nearest grocers to pick up more ingredients and cleaning supplies.