Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You're invited! (to a pity party)

Not that I want to give you a blow by blow account of my body fluids and what they have been up to lately, but hey, this hasn't been a fun past few weeks or days. It started with a cold, developed into a nasty allergic reaction to a drug (NOT fun), and ended up weakening me to the point of losing my voice and running into walls when I walked. Then we helped pack and move my son and his family 2 1/2 hours away (NOoOOooooo!), then followed a church assignment: I had to help put on a stake activity (not LDS? this equates to a party/with live entertainment, with a schmancy lunch for 200). There were four of us on the committee, and yours truly got stuck in the kitchen.

So after finishing up with the loveliness that was my "cold", I got to lift and work on my feet for 10 hours a day for a week and a half in a row, which took it's toll on my system -and if you know me, that means I didn't/couldn't walk for four days after that.

The move went well, we took two days to pack and clean/paint. The third day we packed the final stuff and drove to the new town. Through a comedy of errors Thor and I didn't have the address to the new place and drove around for an hour trying to find it. Eventually we hooked up on the phone and got directions. We unloaded what we brought and began to unpack some things until Mommy and her mother came later that night. I set up one bathroom and the kids' room as best I could so they could at least sleep in a bed. The guys put together the master bed and laundry room set up. Some of the front room furniture was arranged and we headed home at about 8:00 that night. By the time we got home we fell into bed.

Later came the luncheon for 200 and the "entertainment". Fortunately for me, and the rest of the committee, the program was planned and performed by another group and we just needed to do the set up and take down.

Three days before we went shopping. One of the gals has a retired fire fighter for a husband who (BLESS THAT MAN) volunteered to marinate and flame broil the chicken for us. His dear sweet wife asked if she could cut all the lettuce for us. This was the bulk of a lot of work! Each of the four of us made 100 mini muffins in different varieties, plus 8 -8 inch- round cakes. The other gals decided to make their cakes ahead of time, I waited until the day before to do my baking.

The day before two of the gals went and picked up plants, trees and shrubbery to be used as a back drop scenery for the entertainment part of the program. The tables were set up by a group of men (THANKS!) and the chairs were draped with chair covers, the tables with clothes.

That afternoon we four met at the building to assemble the fruit skewers and cakes. The idea was that each layer cake would be thick enough to divide into two inch thin pieces. We would take three layers and make one cake. The bottom filled with vanilla pudding the top layer with strawberry jam. The whole thing would be cover with a 7-minute frosting. What's that they say about all good plans??? Well, the cakes made by the other gals were extremely thin, some even thinner than the one inch needed for one layer. Most could not be divided at all. But when they took their cakes from their ovens, each of the other gals made more than their 8 required cakes. That was a good idea. Because I have worked with Chronicler, and because I have had much experience with making and decorating cakes I understood what was required to make a nice thick moist cake. I also used professional pans so the sides of my cakes were straight up and down. (I want to say here that I tried to warn and advise the other bakers, but to no avail...they knew better than I at the original decision making meeting. Things changed while we were struggling the night before.) Another difficulty we encountered was the choice of filling. While tasty and probable for a "eat the same day" cake...not so much if the cake needs to sit over night. The weight of the top layers, along with their instability and cracks made for quite a sliding catastrophe. The 7 minute frosting turned into 70 minute marshmallow goo and was waging its' own war against gravity. These cakes were the centerpieces for each table. We made 16 that night and went home at 10 p.m..

Most of the cakes managed to survive the night, however the marshmallow did as most marshmallow does and became a thick and chewy covering. During the opening greetings we noticed that our numbers had increased and we needed to add an additional table, with settings, and yup, another cake centerpiece. So I grabbed two more cakes from the fridge (thank goodness we did not throw them away the night before) and grabbed a can of frosting from a cupboard and managed to make a similar cake (#17) for the newly added table. We also had 12 more servings to come up with.

At the last minute the other two gals were asked to join two numbers in the program, one each; so they were unable to come back and help serve. We had one hour to get our lunch assembled. Luckily we had a simple menu and most of the prep work was done. I got busy portioning lettuce so we could add dressing and ingredients rapidly and with accuracy. The other gal set out the plates in table groups and as I got the lettuce dressed she added chicken, croutons, etc. We put crescent rolls and fruit skewers on the plate and held our breath until they were all set.

The two other gals had long left the kitchen and so we got working rather quickly and efficiently to get as many plates up and onto serving trays as possible. We were stacking plates by table size and hoped that when the time came we could just walk out a tray at a time and the natives would remain happy. For the most part that is exactly what happened. There were a few folks who somehow forgot that there were only two women working the kitchen and had something pleasant to remark. grrrr Oh yes, and the one gal who insisted we made her plate "to go" because she had a shopping trip to go to with two friends who, btw, "need a plate as well". I wanted to throw food at her, but we had plenty so I just asked her to wait until we got those who were staying fed. She groused a bit, but at that point I didn't care.

I just kept cleaning and serving and cleaning and serving and tried to keep the final clean up as little as it could get. For the most part we just had to throw things away and clean up cake plates. The majority of the other dishes I had already finished by the time it was time to clean up and go home. We had to fold 200 chair backs, gather linens to wash at home and get all the borrowed trees and bushes back into trucks. All in all it was a long couple of days. But the event was a huge success.

The following four days I had a very difficult time walking and ran into several people and walls! I waited until Monday to do my share of the laundry... I was pooped!

I hope that you feel pity for me. Send chocolate. Somebody call the Waaaambulance!

I have a few projects in the works and hope to blog about them soon.

In the mean time I am excited for my niece. The one who thought babies would be something the other girls would experience. Congratulations to the first daughter, to her hubby, and of course gramma and grampa. This is a stranger event than expected -they have the first boy in the family for a long time. Wooohooo! New babies are such fun! He's a real cutie too. Go check him out at Chronicler's.

add to sk*rt

5 comments:

The Pea said...

It's nice to hear from you in any sort of party mode. I am happy you surrvived and hope you keep feeling well!!!

chronicler said...

I would not have been as gracious as you in light of the events of the party. I am glad you survived and wish so much that they would see what a gift they have in you!

It is fun back here, and way tiring in the hospital. They wake you up every ten minutes and expect you to recuperate! we should be going home tomorrow.

Lisa M said...

Oh wow! What an ordeal! I hope you have rested and that you are basking in the glow of admiration.

I've been down trodden as of late, wallowing in lothing for those that can't for any reason go the extra mile.

THANK you for restoring my faith in humanity.

I'm glad you are feeling better!

NO WALKING INTO WALLS!

Goodness. Must you need rules for every little thing?

We love hearing from you!

Glad you got the boy moved and that all is well there.

I too am so happy for Daughter Number One, and have worried my guts out, about the event at hand.

How marvelous is our creator?

Much love and Affection, my dear.

s'mee said...

thanks ladies! It's nice to be back among the living. One more luncheon this Saturday, then not too much until Women's Conference. Whew!

Oh, and that 'walking into walls when the body shuts down' thing has happened since high school. Rather entertaining. : >

Maren said...

It is good to be recovering. We are still trying to get our rhythm back with our routines. That's not being so easy.

And, congrats on the new baby in your family. He is beautiful.