I was heading out the door for a (futile) look for bike locks at Dollarama when my phone rang. It was my friend A letting me know her fiance’s birthday was today, the day of our dinner party. He was turning 16 (with a few decades experience… and a year to grow on). I promised I’d make a cake to go with dinner and mentally decided to run into Metro for a cake mix. I have an amazing from scratch recipe but it’s better for cupcakes than layer cakes.
I got home at the four hours until company mark and did a quick clean and sweep of our place before placing one scented candle in the middle of our table and the other on the fireplace mantle. The candles were a gift from A and S so I figured they’d be appreciated.
Just over an hour later I stepped over Jeremy’s HotWheels track (asking them, once again, to put it away) and took two aromatic pans out of the oven. Fifteen minutes later I looked at an irreparable mess. I joke that frosting is an amazing glue but there’s a limit to what it can do.
I frantically messaged several of my friends and one (thankfully) suggested making cake balls. I can do that! Smushing cake bits into frosting then rolling it into balls is in my skill set.
My hands closely resembled mud mitts when Jeremy exclaimed something unprintable. I turned to see our dining room and half of Smudge coated in purple wax… the scented candle still rocking in the corner. Thankfully no one (and nothing) was burned but this was two hours until company time, we had exactly two cake balls and a room that looked like it was decorated by Jackson Pollock.
A frantic call to vet gave me the instructions to a) put some ice on the wax and b) when informed the cat was now one third wax, to wait for time to take its course. At that point Smudge was trying to moon walk out of the wax and Jeremy was scraping the floor with my good metal spatula.
“Leave the wax for now,” I asked them. “It’s time to take Angel to the vet for her shot.”
I was giving Jeremy an extra 15 minutes to get ready, knowing they’d need it.
“I’ll need a harness,” they announced five minutes later.
“Umm why? She doesn’t need a harness in her carry box.”
“But I’m anxious and want to carry her,” Jeremy announced.
“And you have to walk across a busy road,” I protested.
I was up to five misshapen blobs and our company was coming in just over an hour. The cat was still purple, there was a coated spatula on the dining room floor, and I hadn’t even started dinner.
“But the carry box is breaking,” Jeremy informed me frantically. “I can’t put her in there!”
“Why didn’t you tell me before now,” I blurted.
Once Jeremy calmed down, they left with Angel in their arms at three minutes to her appointment and I settled in to making the rest of the cake balls. I declared enough at 15 balls… if anyone wants cake-ball batter, I have half a bowl sitting in the fridge complete with a teaspoon.
Time to make dinner and, I realized with dawning horror, I had nothing but a jar of marinara sauce and noodles. I was going to make fresh rolls but that time got taken up with purple wax and exploding cake. And I had been planning on buying fresh veggies for the sauce and a bottle of frizzante but I was so pleased to remember the cake that I forgot.
Jeremy walked in with Angel and almost immediately right back out again with a list of exactly three items. Pop, leaf lettuce, and four nice soft dinner rolls. There wasn’t any point in adding veggies at this point. I didn’t have time to cook them.
“That’s not fair,” Jeremy blurted. “I just got home.”
“Do you want to wash the baking dishes and set the table instead?”
“Fine, I’ll go,” they sighed at fifteen minutes to company.
The grocery store is a five minute walk away. Five minutes later I could still hear Jeremy chatting with a random stranger… eight floors below. They got home one minute before our company arrived with a container of mixed greens, four bottles of pop, and four bags of potato chips.
“Umm, Jeremy, where are the buns?” I asked as I looked (again) through the bags.
They sighed. “Buns are boring Mom! That’s why I got chips. Only boring parties serve bread.”
“And what are we going to sop the leftover sauce up with?” I asked and they stared at me blankly.
“Chips are still cool!” they retorted, waving a bag of jalapeno chips in the air.
The guests were great and everyone enjoyed the cake balls (thanks K!) but, much to Jeremy’s disappointment, it’ll be a while before I invite guests over for dinner again. Smudge and I need to recover.