By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin
Our home is where it’s at. The get togethers, brunches, lunches, bbqs, and surprises, too! Mother’s Day ice cream afternoons, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Welcome Home Celebrations, Graduations, Bon voyages, and more. This is where it’s happening for my family.
Along with these happy times also comes with what I call the “INS” and the “OUTS”. The “INS” is all the stuff I have to buy and bring in to the home. The groceries, flowers, drinks, party ware, balloons, gifts, etc. The other day I was at the grocery store filling up on party stuff, drinks, snacks, food, and cake. Older women looked into my shopping cart and smiled. I told her I was having a party. She told me it looked more like a basket of “WORK” to her. I laughed and shrugged it off, but in truth, a party is a lot of work. A LOT!
So, the “INS” is all the stuff that needs to come into the home in order to make the event fun. The food, drinks, gifts, balloons, party ware, people and more. The “OUTS” is all the stuff that will leave the house after the party. The people, the gifts, the memories, and the bags and bags and bags of garbage. It’s similar to an accordion. The instrument is opened wide to expand for all the INS. The sound comes out which is the party. It is squeezed tightly to close and the OUTS are gone. This is played over and over again in my home.
It can be very exhausting, especially when the events are close together.
Once a party or two takes place in my home, a super duper cleanup is required. This is when I usually find what I call, cups in the corner! Those are the random items left over in the strangest of places in or around your home. Like a foreign object in your space. These items are most often in a strange corner, under a couch, on a high shelf, or outside in the yard. How do these items get there? Someone places them there, just for themselves or they rolled on their own. It might take months to find them all, but they are definitely out there, somewhere.
Recently, my Mother-in-law told me that I make such nice events; she thinks all the family parties should be in my home. Her compliment was two folded. “Darling, you make such nice parties, you should always do them in your home.” What her statement really meant was, I should get all the INS, get rid of all the OUTS, and search for the Cups in the Corner … FOREVER!
So in this case, hard work pays off with more hard work. Is this joyful, or am I confused?
As this is not a problem which requires a solution, I feel this is a job with little benefits. The title I have been bestowed with by my family is I’m, “The Martha” of the family. I think this has something to do with Martha Stewart. Honestly, I’d rather be called, “The Queen of the Latrine”. This sounds more fitting.
The question is, “How to get bigger and better benefits from a payless job?” My latest idea was to assign the family troupes jobs and not be responsible for all the INS. At the latest family event, I asked one member of each family to bring a specific dish or item to the home. This was not a “Pot Luck Party”, as I had control over what was coming in. I knew exactly what my guests were bringing. This helped a lot. I still had a ton of work to do, but the INS were not all my responsibility.
When the party was over and the OUTS were gone, I was still exhausted. I sat with my legs elevated for a very long time and wrote a post party rant (a writer’s expressive outburst).
The next morning while doing a mini super-duper clean up, I joyfully found a cup in the corner. How cute! It was a blue cup of beer. I found it way on top of a cabinet. At this point I forgot my morning black tea. Cheers to All!!!!
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column.
She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.