Extended family exhaustion AND rhubarb wrap-up

It continues to be an immutable fact that I would be a hermit if I weren’t forced by the real world to interact with others.

Last night we had a cookout for The Husband’s brother. It was my idea, strangely enough. We haven’t gotten together with that bit of family for some time, and I always have these lovely pictures in my head of an idyllic gathering. There was nothing wrong with the gathering itself, but the lead-up wore me out.

I have a hard enough time dealing with a horde of people invading my space (and yes, I KNOW I’m the one who initiated it). So there was that.

Then The Husband thought it would be nice to invite his mother, as well. Of course it would. How could I be churlish enough to think otherwise? But inviting his mother means someone making a trip to go and get her, and then trying to get her in the house (she’s VERY not mobile these days). And sometimes she’s a real bear, so you don’t know what you’re in for.

But Middle Sister and The Boy would be here to help get the house and the food ready, so I can deal – right?

Sure…except that The Husband discovered on Friday that he was going to have to work on Saturday. Never happened before, but of course this was the one time. He made plans to be home by 4:30 – piece of cake. And then he called at 4:30 and said, “Well, more like 6:30.”

And then Middle Sister had a friend over. They went to a festival and then came to our place for a movie. No problem – I was glad she was having fun…except that she completely forgot that she’d promised to have her friend out of the house and be in the kitchen helping me by 4:30. Oops. I called down to her in the basement at 5:15 to remind her to at least go pick up Grandma.

The Boy went out with his girlfriend for the afternoon but promised to be home by 4:30 to assist…except they went to a movie on the spur of the moment and it got out later than he thought, and he didn’t get home until 5:30.

By this time I was in a food prep and house prep frenzy. I was feeling pretty hard done by and more and more cranky by the minute.

The happy ending to the story is that everything got done and all went well. I had temporarily forgotten that this bit of family is ALWAYS at least half an hour late to everything – normally this habit makes my blood boil, but it was welcome last night.

imageIn the midst of all the panic I was preparing the much-discussed rhubarb crumble for dessert. Choosing to make a dessert I’ve never tried before with a fruit/vegetable (according to my Google search rhubarb is actually a vegetable) that seemed extremely questionable seriously contributed to my stress level.

Turns out rhubarb is a bite in the ass to prepare. It’s smelly, has to have endless strings pulled off it (the field-grown variety, which is what I had), and it weeps red juice all over everything. Oh, and the leaves are poisonous – what fun! The longer I stood over it, peeling and chopping, the worse my sinking feeling grew – I was sure it was going to be a disaster.

But – lo and behold – the finished product was VERY good. Though the recipe required 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the rhubarb was tart – but not too tart. Warm, gooey, and bubbly, it mingled deliciously with the oatmeal/butter/brown sugar crumble on top and with the local dairy ice cream served alongside. Definitely a success.

I’d like to think there’s some kind of metaphor in this story about worrying and getting all worked up and then having everything turn out well in the end.

But the best I can say is that I survived the evening and did not embarrass myself by serving a disgusting dessert.

The end.

Image credit: pixabay.com

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