To forestall the annual Christmas whine list this year, I have decided to call in the troops - and by that, I mean our lovely caterers. No more slaving away in the heated kitchens getting that last cake frosting perfected, frying up that last plate of fried noodles or heaving the punch bowl out of the cabinets.
And certainly no wild-eyed madcap matron waving her hands frantically trying to ruthlessly micromanage every last detail of the preparations.
So yes, God bless the caterers. Though I have to say hiring them turned out to be a fortunate coincidence.
Paul : So what's it gonna be? You coming? Do I have to wrap one extra gift?
Cousin : Maybe I'll come, maybe I won't.
Paul : Maybe I'll toss you out the window.
Since quite unexpectedly a decidedly large portion of my extended family has decided to descend on the party en masse. Though I extend a cordial invitation every year - after the usual nagging prompt from my well-meaning mother, the reply is usually a firm repudiation citing other pressing engagements. Which has been the expected norm for the past five years at the the least.
So you can imagine my growing consternation when I received this call from one of the cousins barely a few days back.
Cousin : Your Christmas party is on the weekend?
Paul : Think I sent out the invitations on the family newsletter a while back. Dates and details all there.
Cousin : I think I'll be there.
Paul : You will?
Cousin : Yes. Is that going to be a problem?
Paul : No prob. Will get the gifts ready for you.
Cousin : Thanks. And also my parents, my husband, my baby, my sisters and their respective spouses.
Paul : ...Excuse me?
Cousin : And my little dog too.
That's not even the last cousin on the list. A few more left cryptic messages via email and messenger telling me that they might be able to make it for the party as well.
So many years of silent absentia and unexpectedly they all decide to converge at my place for Christmas? Starting to think it's some wild incomprehensible conspiracy? Are these kings of orient bearing gifts traversing afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star?