Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?

My Husband Threw a Dinner Party, but I Wasn't Invited

Guess Whos Coming to Dinner

“Honey, do you mind if we host a dinner fundraiser at the house for XYZ solar energy non-profit organization next month?” queried Handsome Hubby (HH).

“Of course not, darling,” I devotedly replied. “My casa es tú casa,” I oh-so-wittily added.

“You won’t have to do anything,” he assured me. “It will all be catered and the organization’s staff will be on hand to handle anything that comes up.”

“Of course, darling.”

Pearl Mesta, Smesta

Of late, we have become quite the Pearl and whatever Pearl Mesta’s husband’s name was of hosting events at our home. Our home isn’t large. We can only do gatherings of 40-ish folks for receptions and buffet dinners or just 16-18 for sit-down dinners, but still, we throw a pretty good “do” – if I do say so myself.

As the days ticked down for the solar fête, my husband looked a bit worried.

“Problems with the dinner caterer?” I asked.

“Noooo” came the hesitant reply.

“Unexpected conflict on your calendar? If so, no worries. I can host solo if need be,” I graciously offered.

He got a strange, stricken look on his face.

Huh, I wondered.

“Huh? I asked.

“It’s just …,” HH hemmed.

“It’s just,” he hawed.

“It’s just … Well, we’ve gotten a slightly higher number of favorable responses than the organization expected and, uh, well, uh …”

“You need to move the event to another venue?” I asked, trying to move the conversation along. It was getting late.

“Well, not exactly. XYZ solar non-profit organization feels so strongly that these intimate dinners in donors’ homes are highly effective. They really want to keep the event at our house. It’s just we’re one person too many for the table. Uh, uh. What do you think about not joining us? Would you mind?”

“Would I mind not eating dinner in my own house when 17 other people are here for a three-hour catered lux meal?” I asked in a “slightly” shrill voice.

“It’s for a good cause,” HH murmured. “We hope to raise a lot of money for solar energy.”

I thought of saying something about putting the money and the dinner where the sun don’t shine, but I’m a lady. So, I didn’t say it out loud. Instead, I plotted revenge and made plans to go for pizza with my kid, who also was on the “do-not-invite” list for dinner in our home.

Not in the Room Where it Happened

The big night came. The caterers arrived. The XYZ solar organization staffer came. She set out the name cards all around the table. She looked up at me, down at the RSVP list, and back up at me.

“Aren’t you joining us?” she asked in an embarrassed voice. She looked at me. We both looked at HH.

My energy efficient and ever-practical hubby hurriedly explained about wanting to make sure there was maximum space at the table for potential donors. “Besides, the conversation will be all-solar. It will be pretty boring for Karen.”

The solar staffer mumbled “a-huh” and suddenly found a pressing need to help the caterer in the garage.

Romance, Where Art Thou?

The truth was – I wasn’t really insulted about missing yet another dinner talking with energy renewal zealots, but it did sting that HH viewed me as expendable.

It seemed another sign that romance had faded in our 30-year marriage. We no longer drive each other to the airport and kiss passionately good-bye, nor do we pick each other up after trips. To be honest, we don’t even do much more than lower the TV and shout “Hey, bring me a glass of water when you come downstairs,” when the other returns home after a business trip. No longer does my husband tell me – without fail – that I’m the prettiest girl in the room at a party or a restaurant. And no longer do I bother to put on makeup when we go out to a movie.

But still, it hurt a little being excluded from a dinner in our own home.

Pizza Dinner for Two

My daughter and I left for dinner before the guests arrived – and I might add, I did put on make-up to go out with her. We had a lovely time and lingered over dinner, chatting about this and that. We went for a walk afterward and killed some extra time. Yet, by the time we got home – entering discretely through the downstairs backdoor – the dinner was just getting started. The guests were going around the table, telling their names and extolling their personal commitment to solar, God and country. Clearly, it was going to be a long evening. I thanked the sun, the moon and my lucky stars that I had the foresight to bring my reading glasses, my laptop, and a good book downstairs beforehand.

I could hear the clatter of dishes and the drone of the conversation. How many courses was this meal? When would the fundraising pitch be made? When would dessert be served? And how could I signal to my husband not to let the caterer offer a second cup of coffee to the guests?

Finally, the evening ended. The last guest left. HH lumbered downstairs, carrying a piece of leftover chocolate pastry as a peace offering.

“We raised $150,000,” he said with a weary smile. “And I don’t know if this helps get me out of the dog house, but $50,000 came from the guy who was the last RSVP – the person who got your seat at the table.”

Revenge is Sweet

“That’s nice, dear,” I said and smiled sweetly. “I got a lot of work done. In fact, I just finished reviewing plans for the event my organization’s holding here next month, you know the one that Lewis Black will be performing at? Well, guess what? The RSVPs are expected to pour in. We may even have to turn some folks away. I know you won’t mind giving up your spot at the event, right? After all, it’s for a good cause.”

With that, I took a big gulp of the chocolate cake. Revenge – and chocolate cake – are sweet.

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Update: Of course, I relented. Handsome Hubby is always on my A-List. And, I know, solar energy fundraisers aside, I’m always on his!

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