I’m frantically cleaning for tonight’s neighborhood progressive dinner. The house looks (and smells) better than it has in a while. Everything sparkles. Everything shines. A Glade plug-in fills the first floor with a fresh, springtime scent. A manic spray and swipe of Pledge across every surface adds a lemony hint to the field of flowers.
For progressive dinner newbes, here’s how it works: As a group, we start at one house for cocktails and appetizers. From there, we split into groups of eight for salad and move again to enjoy the entrée with a new group of eight. The neighborhood reconvenes for dessert.
“We’re hosting why?” Chaz asks. He reminds me that we nearly missed the deadline because we don’t receive the newsletter with regular frequency. (We pay neighborhood dues but don’t live in the subdivision.)
It might be easy for us to pass on hosting duties since we don’t technically live in the neighborhood, but in my heart, we do. For nearly six years, we and our friends have cared for children, camped in state parks, hosted Friday night happy hours, welcomed new babies, grieved the loss of parents. One house length is negligible when it comes to building community.
“Because they needed someone,” I say of the last minute request to host.
“And you said yes.”
“And I said yes.”
I know he loves a clean house and secretly thankful for any excuse to get me scrubbing. He admires my handiwork and asks, “Did you clean the baseboards?”
“No.” I give him the stink eye.
“And it looks great,” he quickly adds and hightails it out of the room.