I've just had this entry from Jana about this week's party.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am always late to parties. This is largely because I have four children and a husband who must be gotten ready, in addition to myself. I thought surely that this time, with me being the only one invited, I would arrive on time, perhaps even early.
The evening of the party arrives. I am busily applying my makeup when my oldest son enters the room. "Where are you going?" he asks.
"To a party," I reply, not wanting to be specific.
"Can I go?"
"No, you're staying here with Daddy and your brothers."
The six year old and three year old come in. "We want to go with you, Mommy!"
"No," I reply testily.
They begin whining, and I herd them out of the room and lock the door.
"Honey," I hear Hubby's voice say, "what's for dinner?"
I roll my eyes. "I have that party tonight, remember? Can't you make some pizzas?"
"We're out of cheese. What else do we have?"
I run down a list of possibilities, but I can tell if I leave without making it myself, they are all going to be having cold cereal for dinner. I finish with my makeup and go down to the kitchen. It takes me about half an hour, but I cook up a nice pot of spaghetti for everyone. As I'm reaching for my coat, I smell something. The three year old needs a diaper change. I toss him down on the floor to clean him up. There's another five minutes gone.
I wash my hands, brush my hair one last time, and reach for the coat again. The baby starts crying. I realize with dismay that I haven't nursed him yet. I go pick him up and spend another fifteen minutes nursing him and getting him settled. I hand him over to hubby, and then give everyone a kiss. "Oh," says hubby, "could you stop at the store on the way home? We're out of milk, bread-"
"Sure," I interrupt. "Do you have some money?"
Another five minutes passes as we search for spare change. I scrape together the amount I'll need, stick it in my coat pocket, and finally put the coat on. I signal the Enterprise that I'm ready to board.
The shimmering light of the transporter envelopes me. I find myself in the transporter room. I quickly dash toward Ten Forward, anticipating a relaxing evening of adult company. As I approach the doors, I hear the closing strains of "Close to You." The doors open and I see Captain Picard and Beverly on the dance floor, kissing. As the song ends, the band leader announces, "Good night, folks, and Merry Christmas!" The few remaining people and aliens begin to say their good nights. I walk over to the bar.
"Guinan, any chance I could still get a drink?"
"Sorry, I've shut everything down for the night. Are you just getting here?"
"Yes," I admit sheepishly. I turn and walk over to the Captain. "I'm so sorry to be so late, Captain Picard. I meant to be here earlier, but you know how it is with kids and- well, I guess you don't, but anyway, I'm sorry. Merry Christmas!"
I slowly make my way back to the transporter room and go home. Maybe next year I'll hire a sitter.
There's always a latecomer!