Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An ordinary horror

Theoretically perhaps, I understand how it happens. There is some hazy, lingering memory of being seated at a desk in school while a voice prattled on and on about if-then relationships. Two decades later, I find myself standing in my mothers kitchen and it all begins to make ugly sense.

In one bat of Fatale coated eyelashes, my world goes from something as gorgeous as this:

to this ordinary but unmistakeably grotesque horror.

And it is all hand-wash only, naturally.

Dr. Sanger, my long-ago teacher can take heart, I think I have the hang of it now:

If we make a lovely meal and set the table with good stuff, then we will wash dishes forever.
If we wash dishes forever, then we will have to dry them as we wash, and then Amy cannot go home because she needs to dry dishes forever.
If we hire someone to do all this, then we will be very put out by their presence and be under the gun because they need to leave at a certain time, after all, it is a holiday.
If we go out to dinner, then we will not feel it was a real holiday.
If we get take out, then we really will not feel it is a holiday.
If we use paper plates, then I will be carried out on a stretcher hyperventilating with daggers in my eyes promising to be back and straighten things out drill sergeant-style.
If I have to come back and straighten things out, then that holiday will be talked about in infamy forever.

Easter dinner, in our home, is a lesser meal than the blessed brunch. However, having both on this past Sunday left us with those two huge piles of dishes twice in one day. Which was enough to set me down here before you to ask: How do you get the holiday meal dishes finished?


tintin said...

I never wash that bucket the chicken comes in.

Shelly said...

At moms and my mil we all pitch in and they're done in no time at all...but at my house...I simply can't allow guests - even if they're family - to help with the dishes. I want to relax and visit, the dishes are stashed out of sight and I do them alone....after the guests are gone, I pop in some fabulous music and plan the next party while I wash and dry...and yes... there have been times when I have had to finish up the next morning.

Bonnie said...

This year, I didn't use the "hand wash only" china. Normally, though, I just wash in batches. I wash until the dish drainer is full and then I dry. Then, I wash again. If I have to go to a third dish drainer full, I'm taking a break and if that means the next day... well... then it's the next day and if there is to be more company, then they just have to understand. I hope...

TWJ said...

My wife does the meal with help from me as requested. After all is said and done and the guest have left I complete the washing with help from the children. However, one thing I always do is try to wash the pans and so forth as we go. This way only the china, glasses, and silverware are left.

Pemberley said...

How about craigs list? "helper needed to wash dishes with utmost care, dry and put away, clean up the kitchen, all while being silent and invisible."

Marsha said...

After the Christmas which required *three days* of dishwashing because of the no-dishwasher thing, my sister-in-law and I decided together that, henceforth, celebrations would be in the form of cocktails and "small plates". Prior years found us missing entire holidays in a blur of shopping, cooking and cleaning. The new protocol? We each make three or four hors d'oeuvres, a dessert and a pitcher of a new cocktail to try (the children have sparkling juice). A sideboard is decorated in a seasonally-appropriate way and everything set up with my Depression glass plates (white swirl pattern - goes with nearly everything) and that's that. The family eats at leisure, breaking up the meal with singing, games, walks around the property, whatever. At the end of the day we have ten plates, ten glasses, a few cocktail forks and some napkins to wash and that's that. We end the day as happy and relaxed as the rest of the family. I wish we'd done this sooner!

Nancy @ Live love laugh said...

Whe guests offered to help, I would slways say no and that it will only take me a minute! I used to have the energy to stay up all night then. Now I say still say no and often I am still doing dishes the next day...but I'd rather do them in my time. It also gets me to change up the china cabinet!

Splurgie said...

Who are these family members who offer to help? My sister-in-law wouldn't know the working end of a dish towel if it smacked in the %*@.

jsimplylive said...

My goodness...this is one of the reasons we do not do holiday meals at my mom's anymore: no dishwasher :) But even with a dishwasher, it gets crazy. But bottom line, we all pitch in, washing, drying and putting away dishes.

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

All of my favorite dishes and serving platters and glasses have to be washed by hand. It's a huge job and I always insist on doing it myself. I leave it until everyone is gone. Luckily, this year we were guests instead of hosts. Your first photo is gorgeous.


pve design said...

My sister quipped, "You don't mind if I use paper plates" - to which I swallowed and said, "It is easier than washing up after 22." - The devil entered and the paper plates left a mark on her table, even with placemats. Never mess with the real thing as this happened to me early on and I had to have the table (my room-mate's table) restored.
I will wash up any day with that vivid and horrible memory.