So I make my way to the kitchen, intact balancing the hot dish on my arm and hanging onto the champagne for dear life after having offloaded the present to the hostess. Standing room in the kitchen is about a little over 50 cm square from bench top to bench top and when I arrive it is crowded. I get bailed up by a couple I haven't seen in years and proceed to start a conversation amidst the chaos. The hostess offloads the hot dish and I am desperate to pop the champagne and I have suddenly launched into a spirited conversation with the couple who I haven't seen in a while. The bloke is eyeing off the champagne cork concerned I don't take out his eye in the process of popping it or worse take out the overhead lighting. People suddenly stand clear.
In the meantime the bloke whose been eyeing off the champagne cork accidentally spills his glass of red wine all over his white shirt and hastily elbows party goers out of the way to reach the sink in the kitchen to get water and sponges to soak up the stain.
There are plastic champagne glasses and wine glasses available which are badly constructed as the bases keep falling off and they are very unstable to drink out of.
I grab a more stable plastic glass, the champagne and I grab the hostess since it is her birthday and I want to pop it in her honour and we go outside to minimise any damage to people, light fittings or kids - success, the sweet sound pops signalling good times and celebrations. The hostess presents two unstable glasses to fill up. The one stable glass I found has been cast aside.
Reluctantly I take one of the unstable glasses and I wish the hostess a very happy birthday. We go back inside where the kitchen is now overflowing with guests and still more people arrive with food to put into the kitchen.
The flow of party goers moves out of the kitchen to make way for the newcomers and spills out into the lounge room, where we navigate around the long table assembled with a collection of smaller tables and move around coffee tables and poodles while kids run through gaps made by adults and chase one another into the other parts of the house.
We all shuffle around, keen to shake off that awkward feeling I'm sure many readers can identify with. Small talk prevails while the hostess buzzes around adding more presents to the pile of gifts precariously sitting atop of one another where one slight movement at any moment would see them tumble and fall over the lounge room floor only adding to the frenetic atmosphere.
There is a quiet lull in the room as party goers leave to go elsewhere in the house and the bloke who spilled red wine all over his shirt tries desperately to disguise the stain by crossing his arms across his abdomen but realises he can't hold the position all night and after speaking with his wife, he gets up to get his jacket out of the car.
In the meantime, the room is quite calm and fills up again with people. I encourage party goers to sit in the lounges and as I wave my arm, I spill portions of the champagne on my shirt. I race to the kitchen and get behind the bloke's wife who has also got up and is getting a refill. I laugh and say 'I'm not stalking you,' and she laughs and says those glasses are really unstable. She moves to one side as I announce I am after a sponge.
After this, I dig around the kitchen cupboards and find a stable glass and pour a rather large glass of champagne. I make my way back into the lounge room where poodles and coffee tables block my way so I retreat, go back through the kitchen and find a chair on the other side of the room and sit on it.
Success, I have a solid chair and a glass of champagne which is not spilling, I relax and finally start enjoying myself. However, it is short-lived as the hostess announces we are all going outside to eat and there is commotion as the large table which I am sitting next to has all the food taken off it with the tablecloth removed revealing a series of smaller camp style tables which are upended and folded up and taken outside to be set up.
We all make our way outside and happily chat as the tables have food added to them.
Anyhow, the hostess calls out ‘time to eat,’ and I put my glass on the table which is slightly angled on the down slop, however I place it firmly in the middle of the table believing it to be quite stable.
Just as I fill my plate with food, I am chatting happily with the hostess and suddenly the glass goes flying as one of the younger guests, sitting on a computer chair swirls around on it, upsetting the table and there is the sounds of glass shattering.
The hostess swings into action armed with a dustpan and broom states that everyone needs to keep away because it is glass. Chairs are moved to block kids getting through and the hostess sweeps frantically.
By this stage I am cringing but retain composure and sit eating and carry on a conversation. After a while the hostess too sits and eats and for the rest of the evening there are no more dramas.