By Maridol Ranoa-Bismark

“Mom, my classmates want to hold a Christmas party at our house,” my son told me in a voice that was half-pleading, half-threatening.

Uh-oh, I told myself. Time to make a list in between deadlines. The good news is I won’t be doing any of the entertaining and my son’s friends wisely thought of going potluck. The bad news is I will have to coordinate a couple of things that my son is too busy with school to do. I scrounged around for the telephone number of the chair and table rental company and called the nice lady who owned the home-based business.

December is party season, she told me, so she might not be able to deliver the goods at my doorstep. I tried to calm my nerves and begged her to please send her delivery truck since I lived only five minutes away. Besides I’m a faithful customer, entitled to certain privileges; problem solved.

Next, I checked for paper plates, napkins, and drinking cups. Finding our supply running low, I sent someone to get these party musts for me. I then asked the help to resurrect our neglected water jug and wash it clean. The plastic tablemats also had to be washed clean and wiped dry the day before the party, so that it won’t smell “ugh.”

Then I checked the powder room. Is there a bar of soap in the sink? Is the toilet free from cobwebs and other signs of non-use? Is the roll of toilet paper enough? Is the bathroom mirror smudge-free?

Oh, and the dogs! Since we have three, I asked the house help to keep them in the cage and curtail their master-given rights to roam the house in the meantime. It’s the height of bad manners to set them loose and scare the wits out of our young guests.

D-day. The tables and chairs arrived as expected but what’s unexpected was their condition. The delivery guys already left when I discovered that the white monoblock chairs had smudges from a previous party! I turned to the tablecloths. I was shocked all over again when I saw food stains and wrinkles. Obviously, the tablecloths haven’t been tossed inside a washing machine! Thank heavens I had enough time to call the chair rental company and ask for a clean set of chairs and tablecloths before the guests arrived.

One last word: Going potluck means guests have the license to take over your kitchen. So make sure your supply of cooking gas is enough to last until your guests’ kitchen adventures are over. Mine did. And I heaved a sigh of relief.

You think your job is done when the guests are bidding you goodbye? Not quite! Your guests being kids, you have to make sure that they can get to their respective homes safe and sound. When they’re gone, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Now, where is that mop to clean the floors full of smudged footprints?

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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