Oakes' View:

A recent Thursday night about 9:30, already in my jammies, curled up in bed watching the TVO’ed treasures from the week before and reading (this guarantees I will simultaneously miss plot twists in both the books and the TV shows, resulting in irritation and annoyance to such friends and family members who catch me in such errors).

Anyway, Connor phoned to say the UC Santa Barbara crew team would be competing in a scrimmage that Saturday morning in Newport, could the team crash at our place Friday night? Well, the last time this happened they ate me out of house and kibble (practically, I was tempted) so I asked how many guys?

He assured me the team had dwindled as the speed rose: “Maybe 16?”

“But there were only 10 last time!”

“Last time only half the team stayed with us.”

Looking at my pre-historic Day-at-a-Glance reminded me I was gone the next a.m. all day through 6-ish, and then had plans to go out with friends at 7 p.m.

So I got up and dressed and went shopping. Faye helped me make those big hotel trays of brownies in between her homework. I made a whompin’ huge pot of bolognese sauce and a couple of those amazing green bags full of salad.

I figured I was OK. Faye could keep on eye on dinner as it simmered on the stove the next evening, Friday, till they got here. Faye agreed, reluctantly.

The next a.m. I set the dining and breakfast room tables, and took off for my day’s activities. Returning home earlier than expected, I took the opportunity to lay out dinner and get everything ready except the spaghetti. I still figured I’d be long gone before the boys arrived and Faye was (snarlingly) still willing to keep an eye on the food.

But they arrived early. They’d decided to leave at 5 a.m. the next day to go rig the boats. So I boiled up the spaghetti and I served it, six pounds of it, plus all the other food. It was a good thing I was there. As they were helping themselves, I heard Con call out, “I think we’re gonna run out of spaghetti!”

I looked, and they were. I fast cooked up another six pounds and took back the running-dangerously-low monster-pot of bolognese sauce, surreptitiously dumping in four big cans of Trader Joe’s marinara sauce and putting it on the heat. They finished that too. The brownies finished them off.

Then they took up a collection for Watchmen tickets, they gave me the $$ and I gave Con my Discover card to pre-purchase the tickets. I left and had a lovely dinner with friends.

I was up at 3:30 to make ridiculous quantities of bacon, pancakes and fried eggs. I stopped counting after two of those enormous Costco boxes of Bisquick, four dozen eggs, maybe six half-gallons of milk and several more of orange juice.

I got them all fed and on the road by 5 a.m., got the kitchen and the entire place put back in order and had time to slip back in bed for an hour more sleep before we had to leave for Newport. The next day we got a call from Con that he had my Discover card and had forgotten his shaving kit and some other stuff (his laundry! The kid had the nerve to bring me his laundry!).

So we drove up to Santa Barbara to make the trades. Royal and I stopped for a late lunch along State Street, and it was just the lovliest day, so that worked out fine.

Oh, what happened in the scrimmage? The Santa Barbara team came in second, every race. I swear it is because they were all four pounds heavier, stuffed with food.


LAUREN OAKES is a resident of La Cañada Flintridge and mother of three. She writes occasional columns on a variety of subjects. E-mail her at laurenoakes@charter.net.

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