Back when I was single, I did a fair amount of entertaining. Sure, this consisted mostly of setting out my guest’s choice of Hot Pockets, smoking after-dinner cigarettes, and discussing the finer points of owning a stick shift or automatic, but twenty-one-year-olds are deep like that. Still, the atmosphere was relaxed and, putting our heads together, my friends and I came to the stirring conclusion that, with a little elbow grease, we’d all have entry-level jobs by thirty.
Now that I’m married with three kids of my own, my definition of “entertaining guests” summons memories of the time I found two, unexpected moles under my thigh. Husband and I don’t usually invite company over, but we have very good reasons for that…
1. The bathroom. My children have decided I enjoy being watched while I use the bathroom. They’ve also decided you enjoy it to. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to pretending your Haley Joel Osment. The dead aren’t watching you, but the twins just saw you use the last square of Charmin.
2. The surprise in your shoes. Remember that time you stepped in crushed muffin? Would you like to? We can also do something in a “squished danish.”
3. What you’ll eat. I know how to make two things: chicken nuggets with a side of corn or macaroni with a side of corn. These appease the natives. I might get wild and make you a Hot Pocket of your choice, but you’ll forget to eat it because watching the kids sneakily try to pelt the dog with Banquet’s finest will both horrify and intrigue you. It’s like The Hunger Games with more chicken and less reading.
4. The wet spots on the couch. It’s best not to ask what it is. Husband and I have just started classifying the size, shape, and smell of the suspected spot. So far, we’ve identified five hundred different varieties. If you discover a new one, you get your photo in our Big Book of Stains: With pictures!
5. Interrupting conversation. I’ll get back to you, one of the kids needs something…
6. Floor show. Wait, what were you saying about politics? Your grandma turned how old on her ninetieth birthday? We might as well pipe down. The children’s production of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: I can sing this louder than you can talk” just started. I hear they sprung for new costumes this year.
7. Bedtime. We could kick back and have a few nightcaps after dinner, but we also have the option of listening to the children scream from their beds like hostages being used in some sort of trade. Either way, we’ve got scotch.
8. Tub toys under foot. We swear we didn’t mean to leave that miniature tug boat in the bottom of the shower, but, since you were brave enough to stay the night, we’ll help you dislodge it, wherever it got stuck when you slipped on it.
9. Little faces when you wake up. I’m a huge Stephen King fan. He wrote a little story called Children of the Corn, something I get to reenact every morning when I wake up with the kids staring directly into my eyes. You’ll get the ultimate fan experience as well. Being literate isn’t necessary.
10. Breakfast. I thought you said you liked danish?
Feel free to stop by and stay at our house… You may not have a fantastic time, but we can always use a babysitter!