Monday, August 22, 2016

LXXVII. Una Fiesta Para Presentar Nuestra Casa Nueva

Housewarming Party

Invitations were emailed to one and all.
The idea for a housewarming party came about before we even took up residence here on Calle EncarnaciĆ³n Rosas. The idea gained steam once we did move in, and when friends asked about our place we said we’d love them to see it when we had our party, to which, of course, they would be invited. For me, the idea of a party to present our casa nueva was especially compelling because not only am I proud of what a great place this is for us to live, but it's also the first house I’ve ever owned. 

I also came to see the party as marking the end of a nearly three-month period during which we have been planting and re-planting the garden, painting here and there, repairing the patio lights, buying cushions, sofas, rugs, and one last pair of chairs, having dirt and broken pots hauled away, the oven fixed, getting a table cut down in size that we had made for the printer but turned out to be too big—stuff like that. I came up with a line to describe our situation that I once thought was clever, but have repeated so many times it’s become stale. The past couple of weeks I’ve been saying it with an I’m-weary-but-there’s-light-at-the-end-of-this-tunnel intonation: “We’re almost to the point where the house has become less of a project and more of a home.” 

The housewarming party is meant to mark that turning point. It’s on a lot of friendly people’s calendars for this coming Saturday, now only five—and there's so much yet to do!!—days away. I’m in charge of completing aforementioned projects, making and sending out invitations, putting together the party music playlist, hustling around town on errands like picking up a case or two each of beer and soft drinks and another of wine; my culinary wife has come up with a list of nearly a dozen tasty hors d’oeuvres (that’s botanas in espaƱol) and begun making six dozen meatballs, a half gallon of peanut sauce, a quart of blue cheese/walnut dip, etc., etc. We’ve enlisted several friends to help each of us.

The invitation list ran to nearly fifty; right now we have thirty-two confirmations, about half and half gringos and mexicanos. The invitations were emailed two weeks ago and I just sent out reminders. 

As the fiesta day draws near my obsessive-compulsive tendencies have kicked into high gear. Correspondingly, my stomach has become chronically acidic, and neck muscles have begun to contract from the tension. The smallest details have assumed monumental importance in my middle-of-the-night wakefulness. Painted-over nails in the wall from which pictures had once hung have become unshakeable irritants. This pre-dawn I was trying to remember where I had put the architectural plans for the house that we had found in a cupboard when we moved in, convinced that the “success” of our party depended on its recovery.

I found the plans after this morning’s coffee. While my spouse was just out in the village I pulled one of the smaller nails, patched and painted over the hole. What mostly remains to be done is simply remember what my wise wife says is the reason we are doing this: “The party is not only to present and welcome friends to our new house, but to thank them for helping us, over the past year, feel at home here in this sweet little village”. 

I’ll try to keep that in mind next time my neck tenses up bad or I start thinking crazy shit in the middle of the night...