Well, Lent has come and gone and with it, Easter Sunday. Always an interesting day. As usual, my parents come for dinner.
Except this year we weren't having dinner, so they came for Brunch. You know what this means? It means I lose the four hours of frenzied cleaning that takes place in the morning before any guests show up (at least the announced ones). It means that, as I finally sit down in the living room to talk to said guests I see big dust bunnies clinging to the unvacuumed drapes. It means sheer exhaustion for me, no matter HOW carefully I plan and no matter HOW long before said event I start bitching and yelling and crying to try and get that apartment full of "y" chromosomes to realize that we have GUESTS coming and please, for Crissake, will you start picking up your unread magazines and unfolded underwear so I don't have to do it and would you freaking mind doing it sometime PRIOR to my getting up that morning?
Like that's gonna happen.
As usual, every effing thing that was piled up on every flat surface in the dining and living rooms was simply swept off in armloads and thrown into our bedroom, where they continue to reside. The living and dining rooms are, if hardly a joy, at least roomier right now, the hubster immediately pulled off the oh so classy vinyl tablecloth with the colorful spring flowers and there it sits on the sideboard. Yeah, I know, I used vinyl. I didn't have anything especially springlike and, at least here, Easter Sunday dawned bright, sunny and 80 degrees.
My carefully crafted brunch went to hell quickly. I ended up spending the entirety of Saturday cleaning. The kitchen was gleaming, the carpets were scrubbed and I made about three different trips to the store, prices being what they are now. I took one of the kids to work at 10 and picked him up at the following 10. He was sick and working 12 hour days, he wasn't a lot of help and I understand that.
The hubster helped by sitting at his laptop all day the week prior to the holiday, attending several parties in the evening and then coming home tired and sleeping til 10 the next day.
Now, here was my plan. THEY would de-clutter the apt while I worked from 9 - 6 every day before Easter. As we were closed on Good Friday, I would do the heavy cleaning, go to the market and attend services at 7:30pm.
Saturday I would shuttle the kids, get my haircut, maybe take in a movie and, on Saturday evening I would put together my brunch, which consisted of brunchy things that went into casserole dishes and were shoved into the fridge the night before. Then on Sunday morning I would get up, put the ham in the oven, write down the times to put the other breakfast casseroles, go to 8:30 Mass, stop by the market on my way home and pick up the fruit platter I had ordered earlier in the week and arrive, most likely, at about the same time my father and step mother did...except I would be in my Easter best, toting a gourmet platter of exotic fruits.
Well, at 1am on Sunday morning I finally finished two crappy Easter baskets having dyed the eggs about 10pm. I thought to hell with this crap and collapsed in bed. I had been working and running errands for two solid days and the hubster was whining about my not sewing up a pocket in a jacket he wanted to wear to yet another party. My Sunday plan now consisted of getting up about 7, cleaning the bathroom, showering, wearing the cleanest of the dirty jeans, dashing to Mass and picking up the fruit plate. The Church I attend actually had a 5:30 sunrise Mass, I considered that and decided, well, if I was up, I would do that.
Sunday morning dawned sunny and bright. I rolled over and fell out of bed. Assuming this was a sign of some sort, I waddled to the kitchen, passing the hubster in his pajammies, sitting at his laptop with a cup of coffee. I fell into the kitchen, poured myself a cup and lurched back into the living room where I looked at the digital clock.
I was seized with religious fervor and began my Easter prayers by shouting "HOLY SHIT, they'll be here in 45 minutes".
I shoved the unglazed ham in the oven, grabbed a scrub brush and, while on my knees (another homage to Easter) scrubbing the bathroom floor I yelled in the general direction of the boys room "Get UP, get UP, the Easter bunny came and your grandfather is on his way!"
We shoved the vacuum cleaner and the carpet cleaner into the bedroom with everything else (including, inadvertently, the cat) and slammed the door closed on the mess. About 20 minutes after my father got there I had to send him and one of the boys to the store to pick up the forgotten fruit platter. I ruined the first batch of Hollendaise but the second one worked out better and, frankly, if it hadn't I didn't really give a shit. My father asked me when I had gone to Church. I said I was going to 5pm, which, be default, had become my new plan.
My father and I drove my younger son to work at 1pm and we then were all finally able to relax for the afternoon, dishes done. It was a very pleasant afternoon. Very. Except that the hubster had said he would be at an event 20 miles away at 4:30. On EASTER? I said when he told me about it. "No worries" said he, "if I don't get there, no big deal, it's Easter Sunday and we have plans."
That was all well and good until about 3:30, when he started looking at his watch and glaring at me. Then he went and got his windbreaker and flamboyantly inspected it and laid it out on a chair in the living room. At 4:15 he rather ostentatiously announced "my, it's 4:15...it's SO late! I need to be in the valley in 15 minutes."
My parents too the subtle hint and left. The instant their car cleared the corner we were out because, of course, I had to drive him. He could have taken a bus an hour earlier which might have avoided all the glaring and throat clearing but this way he didn't have to look up the directions in any detail. Off we went. But first, we had to go to Staples for a very special type of spiral notebook. Staples was closed. It WAS Easter Sunday. Back on the freeway, all the time I'm trying to get him where he wanted to go and hoping the Church in the vicinity of the place we were going was also having a 5pm Mass. Normally this wouldn't be an issue but Catholic Churches have a tendency to close on holy days, 5pm Masses are a rarity. But THEN we had to stop at a Target, so he could find...yep, a spiral notebook. We pulled in to the empty parking lot, the hubster was outraged. "They're CLOSED!" "Yeah...it's EEEEEEEEEaster!" I replied.
He settled for the legal pad I had in the car and we spent about 15 minutes trying to find out way into the street we needed, it being one of those streets that dead ends every other block so one has to go around and come in the other way, only to find out that you're still a block away.
A 20 minute trip took an hour. It was 5:20 and I was just going to go home, but my conscience was acting up and I turned right, to check out the neighborhood Catholic Church. Lo and behold, they WERE having 5pm Mass and, even at 5:25, there were some stragglers pulling in to the parking lot so, deciding better late than not at all, I pulled in with my older son.
The priest was a charter member of the slow talkers of America. He was just finishing the Gospel and proceeded to give us a 23 minute sermon on the history of Easter. We woke up about 5:45. The cantor directed us to turn to hymn number 596, "Lord of the Dance."
I was sure I had heard him wrong. I turned to hymn 596 and there is was. "Lord of the Dance," a slow and dreary re hash of "Simple Gifts." Fr. Slow talker then announced we would use Eucharistic Prayer #1 and proceeded to give us some sort of history of Prayer #1. Pope Clement had something to so with it, don't ask me WHICH Pope Clement, or if there was more that ONE Pope Clement. I decided that Fr. Slow talker must be a convert. If he was born and raised a Catholic he would have known that Eucharistic Prayer #1 is not known by the name "Prayer #1" but "Oh no, the LONG one."
After Communion he announced that the Parish had an Easter gift for us. Now, for some reason, two men had come down from the altar carrying Trader Joe's shopping bags right after communion and I thought "Hot Damn...Two Buck Chuck for EVERYONE!" But no...the gift was that there would be no announcements. Fr. Slow spent 10 minutes telling us how nice it was that there would be no announcements.
He finally turned to the congregation and intoned "The Mass is ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Hallelujah!"
Truer words were had never been spoken, and I responded "Hallelujah!" like a Baptist.
We staggered out at 6:35 and headed home. As I stretched out on the love seat, shoes up, feet off, a ham sandwich in one hand and the remote in the other and turned on "60 Minutes" I told my son "Never again." "Not until my birthday" he responded.
He knows me WAY too well, that one.