This is posted on the main site. HolidayHell0426-06 I've done a bit of editing to correct the typos I included when I submitted it.
This is a Christmas dinner story. John and Mary, old friends of my SO [now my husband] invited us to Christmas dinner. It was to be a small, low key event. The only other guests would be June and Ward, Mary's elderly parents, and Daisy Mae (Mary's cousin) and her fourth husband, Abner. A nice adult dinner, no children, no big celebration. My SO is disabled and tires very easily, so this was just he kind of event that suited him.
We arrived at the appointed time to find Mary very upset. A whole half hour before dinner, Daisy called up and said "we're just leaving now, I'm bringing six people, Bye." Leaving Mary spluttering on a dead line. Turns out that Daisy had indeed invited herself & her husband a few days before and Mary was happy to include them, but not a noisy crowd, including a toddler. Mary was frantic. The table had only been set up for six and there was probably not enough food, and Mary was just not prepared for such a crowd.
Daisy arrived shortly thereafter with five of her entourage--her two grown sons, her teenage grandson, #1 son's girlfriend, and girlfriend's two year old son. Girlfriend was dressed in a very skimpy cocktail outfit, Don't worry about extra food, explained Daisy. She'd brought hors d'oeuvres. Leftovers from her party the day before--some very old boiled shrimp, a half eaten veggie tray plus leftover dips, and some pastry-covered Brie that had been reheated one too many times and was now shoe leather.
John offered a selection of wines, which the entourage refused. "We are Scotch drinkers!" John delved into his liquor cabinet and found two bottles: El Cheapo and Old Expensive. Only Old Expensive would do for the entourage. Abner took one look at the already opened bottle of Old Expensive and accused John of pouring the cheap stuff into the expensive bottle just so he could foist it off on his guests. Once that was settled, Daisy, her husband, #1 son and girlfriend settled down to getting drunk and whooping it up.
Toddler began behaving like a toddler, getting into everything. He climbed onto my SO's wheelchair and when I asked Girlfriend to curb him, she complied by bringing in a wagon full of Toddler's Christmas gifts, all of which were designed to make lots of noise. My SO and the frail June and Ward began to look like they had serious headaches as the noise level gets higher and higher.
I went into the kitchen to help Mary finish dinner, #1 son popped his head in. Did we need help? If so, he'd order Girlfriend to come in and assist us. Uh,no thank you.
Dinner was served as a buffet. The entourage pushed ahead of June, Ward and my SO in his wheelchair. Since seating was limited, John announced he was having dinner in the living room and suggested the other men join him. #2 son, bless his heart, realized there was not enough food and declared he had already eaten. No one believed him, but it was a nice gesture. (He later told Mary that, on the way over to her house, Daisy had confided that they weren't invited, but she had said nothing to Mary until the last minute because "that way, John and Mary can't turn you away.") Daisy Mae makes loud jokes about the testosterone club in the living room. People are bouncing up and down and running around. Mary's parents are looking stunned. Daisy says to Uncle Ward, "I see you need a walker now to get around. You must feel awful being crippled."
Uninvited guest #6 shows up, gets food and replaces Teenager at the dinner table. . I never was introduced to her so have no idea who she was.
My SO has had it. It has been one of his bad days and he cannot handle the noise and bustle. I feel like a cad for deserting John and Mary, but I've got to get him out of there, I make personal and profuse apologies to each person, especially Mary, and we leave. #2 son offers to help us get out the door and get the wheelchair loaded. Everyone else is just interested in getting loaded.
But wait! There's more! Two days later we discover that my SO's fatigue was due to the fact that he was coming down with shingles. Shingles is a very painful disorder caused by a resurgence of the virus that causes chicken pox. Someone with shingles can transmit chicken pox to a non-immune person. I do not know how to reach Girlfriend to tell her that Toddler has been exposed to chicken pox, so I have to ask Mary to do so. Mary calls #1 son, An hour later, Daisy calls Mary. Daisy is livid. "How DARE you! Don't you know that they don't have health insurance? And Abner and I have never had chicken pox either. How could you do this to us?" As if we somehow knew that my S/O had shingles and was contagious and we were amusing ourselves by spreading disease across the land. She then slammed the phone down.
Epilogue, No one got chicken pox. Mary and John told Daisy and Abner that they are no longer welcome in John & Mary's home. My SO survived shingles.