Jon took over the kitchen Sunday morning; there was no stopping the man. When Mario and I got home from our run, we found him hunched over peeling potatoes into a glass bowl. He had spices out, jars open, and utensils scattered. It was quite a breath-taking (and rather attractive) sight. Patty gave him the recipes to her potato salad and her baked beans, and he would not let anyone else see them or work on them. Once he decides to cook, everyone else must scatter away from his kitchen space. After tasting his potato salad, I am happy to give him all the space he needs. He is a heck of a cook. That is how he wowed me when we were dating – he’d bring me soup while I studied for the bar.
Maria and Mario and I cleaned rooms and the kitchen, and got ready for Gracie to come over. Maria loves to babysit that girl but Maria is a tough bird. Gracie does something bad and Maria says “Grace Ann Wells! You should not do that!” She is everything I am not! Discipline, structure…. god help her children. Grace arrived at 1 pm, and yelled “Aunt Mary!” She was glued to my hip the rest of the day except when she took a two-hour nap in the middle of the afternoon. Maria read her The Fly Guy before her nap and when we all left the room, she babbled for fifteen minutes and then fell asleep. That is a foreign occurrence for Jon and me. We would have to rock M&M to sleep, rub their backs for 20 minutes, lay with them, you name it. All of those hurdles before any sleep would occur. And then, 9 times out of ten, they’d be up within a half an hour anyway. So Grace is a piece of cake.
While the gals napped, Mario played Ben Ten games on the computer. He had his Cheez-Its next to his side as he intently concentrated on his next move. His concentration allowed me to get the house decorated for Maggie Jean’s party. Of course, I had felt that we had it all under control the night before but then inevitably, the day of, I find myself scrambling to get everything together. Maggie, our graduate, arrived to the house at 4 pm after sitting in 90 degree heat for four hours. Julie and Liz were with her – Liz having sat through graduation on Friday in Cincinnati. We broke out the celebratory beer and chips and dip, and let the party begin! Maria was instantly mesmerized with Maggie’s friends Sarah and Annie. Mario acted silly with Maggie’s dad, Denny. Gracie stayed on my hip the entire afternoon, which I loved. Liz kept telling me to put her down but I just couldn’t do it. She was so happy hanging out with me that I had to soak in the love.
My aunt Terrie and aunt Ann arrived a little later. They had not seen the house since we bought it. They each brought me a house-warming gift from Pottery Barn (high-class aunts, I will say…), and gave accolades galore about the house. So sweet. I was so excited that they came up to Columbus because I don’t get to see them often. Terrie is in Marietta, Georgia with her hubby and three boys and Ann is in Washington DC and Dubai with her job and beau. When I was little, Terrie and Julie used to invite me over to their apartment on the West side of Cincy for sleep overs and I remember listening to slow sappy 70’s love songs on the radio. Time with them was a treat – hanging with the older girls. Ann is only a year and a half older than me (the youngest of eight) and I looked up to her like a big sis. She was into serious heavy rock when she was in high school and I used to just sit in her room and watch her get dressed to go out as she banged her head to Motley Crue. And now here we all were standing my kitchen as adults. Life is strange.
At one point in the evening, we brought out Dairy Queen cake for Maggie. We were all joking about what to sing to her, what the cake said, etc. and I all of a sudden felt a rush of gratitude and joy for having the day with my aunts and cousins. I just wanted to lean over the table and smooch ’em all on the lips but I figured that may not have come off as I would have planned so I just smiled at them all and lit the candle for Maggie to blow out. After cake, Julie and Terrie helped me figure out the weeds versus plants in the garden. I have a lot of weeds but weeds look like plants to me; in fact, I think I am prone to liking weeds more than plants and flowers. They are tough cookies – not dying for anything and growing back even stronger than before. There is something you have to respect in the weed. But we pulled ’em out nonetheless. We would have been out there all night if Jon wouldn ‘t have announced that there is poison ivy in the garden. That blasted Ter and Jul out of the garden and into the bathroom to wash off. I would have felt like a total heel if they had gotten poison ivy.
The aunts left a while later – all three of them heading to Starbucks to get a coffee for the road. Little do they know how much I think of them and appreciate their generosity in traveling up north to see me. And Julie constantly opening her house to me and the kids when we are in Cincy. It is a rare gift to receive. With their departure, we just had Maggie and her friends left at the house. Maria and Mario were in heaven – Mario danced to I’m Sexy and I Know It and played ball with the boys, and Maria brushed the boys’ hair so that they could “pick up rich girls.” I am sure they were wondering what they had done to deserve a night at our house.
Everyone hit the road around 9:30 and the kids hit the sack pretty quickly. I got to watch my HBO show, Girls, and eat the rest of the DQ ice cream cake. What a great life.