Last night's dinner at Jay and Harry's was a success. But damn, it took pretty much all day to put it all together and I was right down to the wire before we walked out the door trying to finish up. I mean, it was to the point that we got halfway down the street and I had Joey turn the Pimp Mobile around so I could make sure that I had turned off the stove and oven. Nothing says Happy Holidays like taking dinner to friends and coming home to a house that has burned to the ground.
We had a great time, though - although the kids were all up our asses all night. What is it about kids - you give them a playroom right in the very next room with every toy imaginable, and they STILL want to be all up under you? My mom was totally right on this one. But they had fun, and we got to do a little gossiping and laughing. It was late when we got home and I pretty much threw all the dishes and pans up on the counter and left them until this morning. Not smart, but hell - I was tired.
This morning, our mission was to get started on our Christmas shopping. We've pared the list down considerably from past years when Joey felt compelled to get his second-cousin-three-times-removed-that-he-hadn't-seen-since-1986 something like a Leatherman Limited Edition Cat's Ass Thingamabobber that could only be found at the far reaches of the galaxy. Now I think we're down to a far more reasonable list that will probably expand before all is said and done, but at least Cousin Leroy is off the list now. The other issue is that we aren't spending as much money this year as in past years - honestly, we don't need much of anything and when most of our families can buy whatever they want anyway, the WOW factor is pretty much gone. And let's face facts - if there's ever a chance that we will get our bathroom renovation off the ground early in 2008, we need to be cutting back some of the expenses. Well, everything but bling but hey, I can't sacrifice but so much!
And off we went. The first stop was Toys R Us to pick up a toy catalog, but also to let Monkey Man spend a $15 gift card he got for his birthday. I have to say, I was pretty impressed that he was able to pick out three different things with the $15 and not go over his budget. Not to mention seeing his eyes bug out as he pointed out a $150 robot that he wanted and we told him it was the equivalent of TEN TIMES what his gift card was worth was definitely an interesting moment. I think he really gets it now.
Then it was Dick's Sporting Goods, Lowe's, Best Buy, Sears, Macy's, Bath & Body Works, and by that point I had had enough. Well, really, Joey had had enough but I played along because I knew what was waiting for me at home.
Cookie Hell 2007. As in I volunteered to make 3 dozen cookies for the PTA Teacher Appreciation Cookie Exchange. Kill me now.
To make matters worse, I got an email Friday that they were way down on donations this year so they begged for more cookies. The pressure was on. So I cranked out a double batch of peanut butter cookies (which now requires sanitizing my whole kitchen due to Monkey Man's allergy) and a big batch of Cinnamon Sugar cookies. Yummo. Then a run to the store to get little tubs to put them in, labeling them, and I just deposited them at one of the Badass' houses so she can drop them off for me in the morning. I ended up donating six dozen cookies since I am a competimommy overachiever of the nth degree. Nothing like a good dose of Working Mom guilt to bring me to my knees.
So between yesterday and today, I have spent a good portion of my weekend in the kitchen. And unless it's a quick-fix dinner, the kitchen will be closed for the big part of the week. Chef Liz is done, cooked, toast. I remember the old days when I would go into a three-day cookie baking frenzy during the holidays, have the house decorated to the hilt, and be up all night long for days. Now I'm lucky to get the tree up, the wreath on the door, a few little tchotchkes put out, and bake a few dozen lousy cookies. My back hurts, my knees are aching, and my hip feels like someone kicked me.
And keep in mind that I'm doing all this without the benefit of alcohol this year. Don't try this at home, because I definitely don't recommend it.