The calamity behind the calm

gobletI don’t know if I read this somewhere or just came to it on my own, but if your table looks great when dinner guests arrive, they don’t pay attention to your last minute “I’m so behind” preparations. There’s an added distraction if the table is set with some thought, rather than a random scattering of plates and eating utensils. A centerpiece is a nice touch, as well. I needed this little bit of saving grace Easter Sunday.

I had invited our son, daughter-in-love, granddaughter and our moms to Easter dinner. No one was to bring anything other then themselves. This was like all my other holiday meals; simple, because I’m no Julia Child (I explain that in another post). The menu was ham (pre-cooked and pre-sliced), scalloped potatoes (from a box), wild rice (from a box), asparagus, green salad, rolls (King’s Hawaiian), strawberries, angel food/pineapple cake (super simple!), pineapple sherbet and carrot cake cookies.


As I began my dinner preparations, I discovered ants crawling around my sink. Great, just great! I sound the alarm and the husband grabbed the sprayer while I moved things from the counter around the sink to the island. (I think we must have built on an ancient ant hill, because those critters invade at least a couple of times a year.)

I waited for an hour to allow the ants to trudge through the spray and carry it back to the colony, then disinfected the counters, moved everything back into place and restarted dinner preparations.

While the ham was warming in the crock pot, I was going to make the carrot cake cookies (thankfully I’d made the angel food/pineapple cake the day before). I grabbed the mixer and mixing bowls out of the pantry and turned to place them on the island, but somehow lost my grip on the bowls. Yep, you guessed it! The two glass bowls went crashing down onto the slate floor and broke into a bazillion pieces. There I was in the middle of shards of glass, barefoot no less. Great, just great!

broken glassNo need to sound the alarm, because the husband was already on his way. “Where’s the broom? Where’s the dust pan?” he asks. Really?! He retrieved the broom and dust pan while I tried to dance my way out of the glass without getting cut.

I decided we needed music to calm my nerves, so I took a break to find the right mix then got back to dinner. What else could go wrong, right?

I made the cookies (using a non-mixing bowl) and set the table during the baking time. After the cookies were finished, I put the boxed scalloped potatoes in the oven, while the boxed wild rice cooked in the microwave.

The table looked beautiful, the potatoes, rice and rolls were warming in the oven and the ham was still warming in the crock pot, so the only things left to do were to roast the asparagus and make a salad. When I finished those two tasks, I was in the home stretch and could feel the victory of a dinner well-planned and pulled off. Now I just needed to just wipe down the counter where I’d been working and run the garbage disposal (vegetable scraps from the asparagus trimming and salad making). I ran some water and flipped the garbage disposal switch to send the scraps down the drain, but instead of going down, they came back up. Great, just great!

I sounded the alarm and the husband came running. “Where’s the plunger?” he asks. Really?! He retrieved the plunger and another crisis is under control.


Fifteen minutes later, my mom walked in the door, quickly followed by the rest of the family. Everyone gathered in the dining room where the focus was on the table set with my new china, an Easter-themed centerpiece and the food. No one was aware of the three crises (why do these things happen in threes?). I’m happy to say I pulled it off with a little *finesse, a husband/hero and an attractive table!

My holiday dinner finesse level:
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your holiday dinner finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

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