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I forgot a lot of things during that crazy period that was the pandemic: the password for my office computer, the size of my pants, small talk skills, how to walk in non-sneakers… the list goes on. But I never thought that I would forget to entertain.
What used to be a reflex – throwing together a lunch for a crowd – is now more like an Olympic event. Planning, cooking, setting up, drinks and ice and worrying about budget and dietary restrictions. And figuring out all of the above during the workweek, when I’m very busy.
I didn’t have that insight yet when I offered to host a dozen (fully vaccinated) friends for a small outdoor reunion on my patio. I was so delighted at the prospect of seeing these guys that I didn’t even realize how badly I was unprepared. The truth slowly emerged as I randomly started looking for the stuff I needed. Here’s My Story, And — Spoiler Alert — How I Was Totally Saved Walmart+The expedited delivery service I signed up for was a terrific number when the purchase was made in person.
Unknown? Walmart+ It’s like Amazon Prime. For a small flat fee — $13 per month or $98 per year — You can place as many orders as you want. You get your stuff fast – overnight, or in some cases, the same day. There are no additional charges. Signup is easy – a risk-free trial takes you 15 days, but a quick three-question survey will take two more weeks.
It’s Tuesday, and this is the first time it occurred to me that I have a party to host at noon on a Saturday. It’s a nonstop week at work; Although I’m still away, I’ll be busy until Friday night without stopping. I start worrying. I mute myself at the zoom meeting and shout to my teenage son: “Go to the basement and find a drink dispenser, honey!”
“Moom,” just I listen, and my mind is in sync with reality. Duh. My hosting assistant/minion is of no use to me. He is on crutches from knee surgery. I forgot (bad mom or busy person? You decide). I lower myself down the dilapidated basement stairs, with cucumber water dancing in my head and finding the beverage dispenser box on a high shelf. Proud that I thought of keeping the box and packing the plastic behemoth, I climbed onto a ladder stool and wrestled it down. But something doesn’t seem right.
Oh no – when I open the box, it’s filled with unmatched Tupperware. Where is my drink dispenser? I can think of three neighbors who might have… or did I just drop it and break it? My post-pandemic brain can’t remember. I have had two years of outdoor partying. I scramble back to my desk (aka kitchen table), finish my Zoom meeting, then head straight to Walmart.com. i think exactly what i need – Nicer than the dispenser that left me, at a great cost to boot.
Buy it: Better Homes & Gardens 2 Gallon Round Glass Beverage Dispenser With Clamp Lid, $14, walmart.com
Before I hit “order order”, it occurs to me that there are other essentials I can better check on.
I search for my external speaker in a messy drawer or between wires and objects that look like they might be speakers but simply are not. A few texts and I learn that my daughter stole the speaker. So technically not theft, but taken out of my house and brought to him. He is alright. It is always a pleasure to give gifts to children, as long as I know what they have stolen. I consider myself a new one.
this Adorable Anker Bluetooth Speaker (Slightly longer than six inches) was critically compared to Bose (!) In terms of audio quality. It’s bright enough that I’d never have trouble finding it, and it might just put off “borrowers” because it’s so different from black speakers that yes, in fact, one could clearly be mistaken for something else. Mother is red.
Buy it: Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, $ 44, walmart.com
I step outside to check the courtyard. Why is it so hot here? Technically it’s not even summer yet. In the afternoon my guests would be completely baked, so the umbrella I had wanted to buy for years is finally going to come into my life. i got one It, though expensive, has a perfect five-star rating from buyers, as well as tilt and angle capabilities. I’ve been bitten in the butt (not literally, but almost!) by cheap umbrellas, so I’m drawn to one I can trust. I go with navy, but the red option is attractive too.
Buy it: Sunnydays Solar Powered LED Lighted Aluminum Patio Umbrella, $109 (was $137), walmart.com
When I’m out I do a quick check of the garage for citronella candles. Most have gone missing. What’s left is made of an interesting texture that I soon see as a weave of dead insects and dust. Back on my Walmart cart, I stock up for the season half a dozen of these. Buh-bye mosquito. you will never see.
Buy it: Insect Repellent Citronella Candle Assortment Pack, $4, walmart.com
I send some work emails but they are terrible, because my mind is wandering with menu options – easy dishes that I can make in abundance and in advance, to go with burgers and hot dogs. I decide on a favorite side: orzo with blistered cherry tomatoes, broccoli, garlic, and pumpkin seeds—the color alone makes it mouthwatering and unreasonably impressive, and it’s best at room temperature. Checking my shelves and fridge, I noticed I had everything except pasta and pepitas. not a problem: Walmart+ can bring me A big pack of my favorite brand of orzo, plus organic salted pumpkin seeds In an instant.
Buy it: Colavita Orzo, Italian Pasta (Two-Pack), $4, walmart.com
Speaking of burgers, it occurs to me that my grill hasn’t woken up from its long winter slumber yet. I exit again with three minutes to go before my next conference call. As I wipe the cobwebs off my grill, I look at my ruined wire grill brush. Really bad. It has been a tough year for all of us. Back on my laptop, I pop a fresh scraper / scourer In my Walmart cart. It’s less than five bucks, but it will make a difference in the world.
remember to be reusable
By necessity, we all relied heavily on disposable goods during the pandemic. For days taking out paper towels, food packaging that went a step further, cleaning wipes, paper cups. what you say. It was a boring but minor thing compared to the serious thing the world was facing. But now I’m starting to think more about how I can make less waste. Instead of falling back on a red solo cup, I take a set of a These colorful big size plastic glasses. The variety makes it easy for people to keep track of their own drinks. And at 24 ounces, these tall boys last a long time before you need to walk away from the fun for a refill. Add to Cart! My Walmart window keeps popping up next to my Zoom window, and no one is the wiser.
Buy it: CreativeWare Creative Bath Twist 24-Ounce Assorted Plastic Tumblers (10-Pack), $15, walmart.com
The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) appeared on my newsfeed this week – apparently she’s getting in shape and feeling great. I am happy for him. Plus, I’m grateful for all the lovely things from her line in my kitchen. I want bowls for chips and pretzels – plus I always like more color at the table – I noticed It’s set at a friend’s house And now I have an excuse to buy it. It’s melamine – lightweight and unbreakable. And each bowl comes with a tight-fitting lid, so it doubles as food storage. love
Buy it: Pioneer Woman Classic Charm Melamine Bowl Set with Lids (Six-Pack), $13 (was $15), walmart.com
Saturday comes. Wow – I didn’t realize how much I missed being friends until the patio was buzzing with my favorite people. We made it in the shade, literally, thanks to the new umbrella. The drinks are flowing (I decided to go for something stronger and more colorful than cucumber water – hello sangria!) People are laughing and talking and getting louder in a way that only happens outside and only in summer. Happens in I am practically in tears.
Not only have I pulled it together in time, but I feel fully prepared for future entertainment. I invite my family over for next weekend. With ease and magic Walmart+ — which fills in the blanks of my gaping entertaining toolkit — I’m excited to enjoy every opportunity to host the people I love.
Now if only Walmart would clarify later….
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