Let’s face it: we all know by now that I like to have a good time. I might have even paid my college roommates large quantities of money to keep their traps shut about our escapades and I thank GAWD every day that Facebook didn’t exist when I was a coed. Frankly, between you and me, I pray that the photos of my fortieth birthday party never see the light of day, thankyouverymuch.
When I need to, when I absolutely must, I can pull myself together and I can make Martha Stewart look like a hot mess. No joke. If you need a gal to throw a giant, fancy, knock it out of the park party that will make the guest swoon, I’m just the Pinterest obsessed, Martha shaming woman for the job.
Such was the case a few years ago when I agreed to host Hubby’s annual office Christmas party in our home. Invite forty people to a catered, white glove service, top shelf liquor shindig at the busiest time of year all with two toddlers underfoot? No problemo, bitchachos.
Bring it, I said.
And I done brang it, folks.
Starting in August, I booked a caterer and not just *any* caterer, mind you. The best, the nicest, the creme de la creme of caterers who would help me orchestrate a taste symphony that would make my guests give me a standing ovation.
September found me pouring over menu minutiae and guest list details that would rival a White House State Dinner.
October was a blur of linen purchases, guest favor decisions and calculating exactly how much champagne we’d need to bring in for this fancy foray of fine dining (more on the champagne in a bit….ahem).
November found my home impeccably decorated, complete with my Christmas presents purchased, wrapped in coordinated paper and under the tree (I said SUCK IT, Martha).
Finally, after months of meticulous planning, the big day arrived. On that blustery first Saturday in December, I. Was. READY.
It was GAME ON, bitchachos.
Coach Keeper had a game plan and every play was meticulously crafted. My team was assembled, my water boy, er, Hubby, knew his role and I could hear the crowd cheering in my ears. I was going to WIN at fancy office Christmas parties, I tell you.
Precisely fifteen minutes before our guests arrived and after I had squeezed myself into my new party dress, I descended upon our first floor Christmas wonderland. Lights twinkled, the fireplace crackled, the ice in the champagne bucket shifted. The chef (yes, we had a CHEF, yo). I told you I don’t mess around) was putting the finishing touches on the carving station. The house smelled heavenly with just the right mix of prime rib, Yankee Candle “Home For The Holidays” and pine wafting through the air.
It was magnificent.
My eyes scanned the food: the crudite, the carving station, the waitress adding garnish to the passed hors de oeuvres. And, of course, the piece de resistance: a chocolate fountain, resplendent with gorgeous waves of creamy chocolate cascading into a lovely sterling silver bowl.
Pinkies up, bitchachos: this party was real classy like.
As I stood in my strapless taffeta party dress, hair perfectly coiffed and make up expertly applied, the head waiter approached me with what he called “The Hostess Cocktail.” He told me that he always presented the hostess with champagne to celebrate a job well done prior to the start of a party. I gratefully accepted the champagne and drank that sucker with gusto. Because nerves, obvi.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention now that I consumed that huge glass of champagne on a twelve hours empty stomach as I’d forgotten to eat ALL DAY LONG while preparing for this Christmas extravaganza. I should also probably mention that champagne, on a good day and a full stomach, makes me instantaneously drunk.
Christmas party with 40 of Hubby’s employees.
You can see where this is going, ahem. I blame the waiter and his stupid Hostess Cocktail for what happened next.
True to form, the champagne worked it’s magic and I was accidentally and instantaneously drunk about ten minutes into our fancy party. Hubby’s colleagues were greeted by a flushed, fast talking, very friendly hostess in a red dress who may or may not have been slurring her words.
And that was only 730, people.
From what I’m told, the party was lovely, well, save for the gal in the mulberry colored dress acting a drunk fool. I’m told I was the life of the party and, my belief in a benevolent God is strengthened by the saving grace that I remember NOTHING from that evening. It’s better that way, from what I hear.
My complete and total humiliation came to a frenzied crescendo when, apparently, I decided I wanted to sample the chocolate fountain.
WITH. MY. FACE.
Yes. OOOOOOOH, Sweet Baby Jesus in a cute manger bed, yes, I put my face IN the chocolate fountain at our fancy party. And not just my nose, people. It was an all in, full chocolaty facial coating.
What was left of my pride died a slow, painful death that evening (so I hear) and the shame was heavy as I stumbled into the wreckage that was our kitchen the next morning. Having no recollection of the evening’s events, my complete and total humiliation was sealed as Hubby wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. “People I work with” and “You’re the boss’ wife for God’s sakes” and “YOUR FACE WAS IN THE FOUNTAIN” spewed from his mouth in much the same manner the chocolate flowed the night before.
Oh, how the Mighty Martha Wannabe’s Christmas star fell that December night.
After enduring a much deserved dose of The Silent Treatment from Hubby, I quietly resolved to apologize to each employee individually.
I also resolved to leave the fancy party planning to Martha. And, as I washed the chocolate out of my now ruined party dress, I died a thousand social nightmare deaths. Hubby went to work that Monday barely speaking to me and still very angry.
Later that night, when Hubby walked in from work, I tried to keep from blurting “OMGwhatdidtheysayaboutmeandOMGdidyougetfiredbecauseofme??” and instead said, “Hey” in a very repentant tone. He told me, begrudgingly, that his coworkers could not stop talking about me, that the topic of conversation ALL DAY was about my antics.
I tried to keep the tears from spilling over as he said that my antics were the highlight of the year in office water cooler gossip. Fresh shame washed over me.
Hubby sheepishly admitted that he’d gotten into a lot of trouble at work for being angry at me. His coworkers delightedly told him that our party was the best they’d attended in years and it was refreshing to see someone actually have a good time at a work function.
In fact, the entire office unanimously agreed that I was now “one of them” and they promptly told him that no party was to happen henceforth without my attendance. They demanded that HE apologize to ME for something that clearly was beyond my control. I believe they even said, “We thought she had a stick up her ass. We were so wrong!!”.
It was a Christmas miracle, I tell you.
Since that fateful December night, I have hosted many a Christmas function but I’m sad to say that the chocolate fountain never made another appearance at one of my parties again. Some things are best left in the past, creamy flowing chocolate or not. But, I’m willing to bet a huge bag of chocolate chips that Martha has pictures of her own chocolate fountain she’s praying no one ever sees….
I haven’t laughed this hard in a long, LONG time. Here’s where I get all English teachery on you: the juxtaposition of the FANCY and the OOOPSIE are divine, and the imagery–LOVE. You painted a picture with this one, pal!
P.S. I had a chocolate fountain at my wedding. We’ll leave it at that.
I have to say it’s kind of a shame you don’t remember sticking your face in the chocolate fountain, because I think all of us have fantasized about doing that at one time or another and it’s the kind of experience you’d want to be able to relive over and over in decadent detail if you actually managed to get away with it.
What I don’t think you know and I know……you are loved by all and we are all human. I was there and you were by far the life of the party for all us party crazy people that work with your husband. Those were such wonderful years and I miss them all, and I especially miss ALL your Christmas parties.
It’s SO dangerous to read your stories when I’m in the office. Explosive guffaws, snorts and chuckles are really not appropriate in a law firm! But OMG, I was crying with laughter on the inside, I can almost TASTE that chocolate facial! Love it!