Another Christmas, another Christmas luncheon hosted by our resident staff association. As I am their humble yet fearless leader, guess who got to have the most fun with planning, decorating, cooking and setting up?
Actually, I don’t mind doing these shin-digs – not that I’ll broadcast that around the library, because then they would want me to be president again next year and that’s just way too much fun for one person. I think the joy should be spread around a little bit. But for one year, I can enjoy throwing parties with other people’s money. If they would let me serve alcohol, I’d do this for the rest of my life. But even though our personal corner of the government (the DoD) is getting a new boss, I don’t think that’s gonna fly.
The staff association was in charge of turkey and dressing, so the night before our little sliver of Christmas heaven I bought two 10-pound boneless turkey breasts and sliced them. I also bought two pans of frozen cornbread dressing and baked them at home. Then I made some mashed potatoes and a green bean casserole for my personal contribution. And at 9 PM that night, my hubby stood in the middle of the kitchen and asked in that “oh-good-you-decided-to-cook-something-besides-pasta-or-a-pb&j-for-me” voice: “So when do we get to eat?” while he searched desperately for a can of cranberry sauce to spread over all the holiday bounty in front of him. And I had to remind him that none of the food was for us and watch his face fall as he sighed that “I-thought-it-was-too-good-to-be-true” sigh and picked up the jar of peanut butter. So I promised him various bedroom favors to make up for not getting fed that night. I think he was happier that way, anyway.
But I digress.
The best parts of throwing these little get togethers are the comments that I get afterwards. Two people are quite predictable in their “suggestions”: last year’s president and vice-president (one of the two happens to be my boss), but they are by no means the only people who enjoy sharing their own version of post-party-poopiness with me. This time, I was more prepared than I was after the cookout. I actually had a pen and piece of paper ready to record the wisdom spewed at me for two full hours before and after the party, although I didn’t take the time to write down who said what.
“You know, last year we put the tables down the middle of the room, and it really seemed to work better than I think this will. You might want to re-arrange it.”
“Why is the dessert table at the back of the room? Don’t you think all the food should be together?”
“Why in the world are you serving unsweet tea? Don’t you think that was a waste of money?”
“I’m sure you did the best you could.”
“You bought the wrong kind of turkey breast. You should have got the kind with the skin still on it, so it would have had more flavor.”
My response to each and every critique was the same, voice inflection and all: “You know, you have some really good ideas. I think I’m going to recommend that you be appointed president next year.”
My vice-president and coh-hort in the madenss was Mr. X. He relayed this conversation with librarian S.I. to me:
S.I.: “You all did a really good job with the Christmas party.”
Mr. X: “I’m glad you had a good time.”
S.I.: “I didn’t say that.”
And then I had this conversation the morning after the party with LC, who was the vice-president for the staff association last year – which means she was very involved with planning last year’s Christmas party. I knew some good snark would come out of her mouth, so I actually wrote the conversation as it happened, since I was working on this post when I saw her headed my way. You must inflect a heavy dose of sarcasm on every word that I uttered:
LC: “You did a credible job.”
Me: “Wow – what a compliment.”
LC: “Well, of course it wasn’t as good as last year.”
Me: “Nothing ever will be.”
LC: “But it looked like fun was had by all.”
Me: “Maybe we just have a lot of really good actors working here.”
Ahhh…The Christmas Season!