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East of the River: Party people

When you host a party, it’s difficult to have fun. There’re so many things you have to worry about—from the cleanliness of your house to the comfort of your guests. There’re so many things to prep for leading up to the event that it would be nice just to relax and enjoy the event. And though kicking back is never really an option at your own party, hosting is its own kind of frantic fun.

I wish every party were treated like your wedding; you do all the planning and prepping and then on the day of everyone rushes to your side so you don’t have to stress. Parties never end up that way, though. During a party, you’re go, go, go until the last guest is out the door. And then you still have to clean up after.

Every year my husband and I throw one big crawfish boil. Our different friends and family get together and coexist in one space to eat spicy bugs. I always have a good time, but I’m so busy during the whole boil the party seems to fly by in a minute.

For the last two years, the parties have started in a fairly nightmarish way. The most recent one, last weekend, I was 30 minutes late to my own party. Of course, most of my family arrived right on time, and there were about 15 people at my house after I got back from the store. Usually, I’m frantically doing last minute cleaning or prepping and can invite everyone in and get them a drink. Since I was still out buying the drinks, I couldn’t really do that this year.

Last year, my husband’s friend who is a massage therapist got me on the ground for a stretching session. He was certainly helping my sciatic nerve pain, but it was hard to relax knowing guests would be arriving any minute. When my family came in I had to greet them while some strange man forced me into odd positions. I tell ya, there’s nothing like making eye contact with your father while your legs are being spread awkwardly about.

I always enjoy getting to socialize with my friends, but realistically, I never get to spend enough quality time with anyone. You always hope your guests will mingle and enjoy getting to know each other while you run around your house finding things for people.

“I need a Band-Aid.” “Where’s the bottle opener?” “Do you have a cheese knife?” “Can I borrow your makeup?”

Of course, you want your guests to be comfortable and happy, but every second there’s a new task. It’s easy to forget to worry about your own needs and several hours later you realize you never peed or ate.

Luckily, my husband and I have a good crew of helpers. As the boil master, he always has a few people there by his side in case he needs any assistance. And though my Mom and several of my friends are good worker bees, I always end up running around.

For my wedding, it was easy to demand things of friends because A) it was my wedding day and B) it wasn’t at my own house. At a crawfish boil, I’m the first response for anyone who needs anything. It’s easier for me to go run and get it than try to explain it to someone else. So even when people offered, I usually didn’t accept the help.

At my wedding, I was all too content not to be the one rushing out to get anything. When I was changing into my after party dress after our reception, I asked one of my close friends to borrow deodorant. I was so used to being doted on all day when she brought it over to me I lifted my arms, waiting for her to apply it to me. The look on her face was priceless.

A couple of times this weekend I do remember asking my friends for help, but I was so frazzled I couldn’t verbalize what I needed. I just remember pointing at things and hoping they would understand what I wanted. It became the running joke that when I needed something I would just point and say: “I don’t have words today!”

I always wish the hours could stretch when I host a party. In the end, I know I had fun but I always wonder where the time went. And though I get stressed during the party and a little sad after, I’m always ready to do it again next year. And let’s face it, I’m only going to clean my baseboards whenever guests are coming over so why not have a party in the process?

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