Thursday, June 23, 2011

Practically Growing a Bushy Tail

Last week, the kids and I helped out some friends with the garage sale they were holding to raise funds for their international adoption. We were glad to do it, because I think the world of these folks and their desire to build a family (plus a million other reasons). We didn’t sell a lot of water (our given task) despite the oppressive heat, but the kids made a decent monetary contribution by purchasing a good portion of their toy section.

I’d been meaning to invite them over for dinner, so I went ahead and did just that. And immediately, the fretting began. What should I make? But my best dishes are winter meals, and it’s like the surface of the sun out there? Are they allergic to anything? Are they picky eaters? Are they uber-health nuts who will wrinkle their noses at anything with more than 200 calories? Do they indulge in adult beverages? Will they be offended if I indulge in adult beverages? Will the kids drive them crazy? I could only answer the last question: more than likely.

Ultimately, we settled on green chili cheeseburgers because that seemed like the ultimate summer dinner and we were unlikely to screw them up (even though they weren’t exactly unique or in the least bit fancy). I threw together a pasta salad that I knew the kids would never touch, and baked my aunt’s amazing chocolate chip cake. So, with trepidation, I laid it all on the table.

Everything went well, I think. The conversation kept up at a reasonable pace, and food got eaten (and taken home). Nobody rushed out the door. And while the kids definitely drove me crazy, our patient guests never showed a bit of annoyance. At the end of the evening, they told us that they’d neglected to bring the tools they borrowed, so I took that as an opportunity to ask them to come back another time. I did not hear tires squeal in hasty retreat.

But it can’t end with a satisfied hostess happy with a job well done, can it? Not with me, anyway. I analyzed and reanalyzed, going over the entire evening and replaying parts in which I’m sure I offended someone or sounded unhinged. And then this afternoon, we found the tools returned on our front porch, which lead me not to think, hey, they were in the neighborhood and dropped our stuff off, but, hey, they wouldn’t be caught dead in our house again and got the monkey off their backs as soon as possible. I believe this is what Erica would classify as Squirrelly Thinking, and she’d be right. I know this train of thought is paranoid and likely nuttier than a jar of Skippy, and yet I can’t help myself. I just want people to like me, but I’ll always assume that it isn’t really possible, that I’ll betray my weirdness in new and uncomfortable ways every time I get the chance. Clearly, I am cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Maybe I should’ve indulged in that adult beverage…

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