2. My friends were, in fact, delicious. Especially the two year old, who got to run around in only a diaper (I'm not the only one without working AC), play with his big brothers and sing at the top of his voice. At midnight.
The oddest part was that they are S'phardi, so they follow an interesting custom. It's customary to have dairy for Shavuot, but festive meals are supposed have meat. So, the first course was dairy - cheese ravioli and stuffed shells. We then removed the disposable plates, forks and tablecloth used for that course, and reset the table (and made sure to eat something pareve in between.) Then we had the meat course. It was weird having both in the same meal, I can tell you. I believe Hasids follow a similar custom? kressel, am I right?
Our custom is to serve entirely dairy meals, trusting to special foods and wine to make the meals festive. We do try to have one meat meal just because all-dairy can get tiresome. (Conversely, during other holidays, we try to have one dairy meal for the same reason.)
The problem was, it was very hot and humid. So the goal was to minimize cooking time and heat-producing appliances. Before yom tov, I prepared the salmon pasta, which required cooking, and the yogurt-cucumber soup, which did not. Sunday night, I made an experimental dish I got from Alton Brown (pause for sighs of appreciation.) I cooked a pot of spaghetti and tossed it with olive oil, chopped garlic, about 1/3 pint ricotta cheese, a few soaked and sliced sun-dried tomatoes, a handful of pumpkin seeds and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. It was delicious and I will do it again. (The ricotta cheese was my idea. It made it a meal, I thought.)
Jonathan left for shul around midnight for the shiur our rabbi was giving, and I slept. He go in around 7 and we both slept the rest of the morning. Shul, what shul? Matan Torah? HA!
Lunch was an omelette - I mixed the eggs with thawed spinach and filled them with cheese and grape tomatoes (which last I halved and cooked with butter first.) We were going to have salad, but it was hot and we were full. I did serve fruit salad with yogurt, but the fruit salad had gone off. Monday slid into Tuesday, Jonathan went to shul and I lit my candles and my yarzheit candle since second day yom tov is a yizkor day and went off to our friends' house.
I had to go to shul on Tuesday since it was a yizkor day. However, I left right after the musaf repetition (question - for those people who don't do the additional services or repeat the amida, how do you do the priestly blessing? Or do you just not do it?) so I could finish my lunch preparations. This turned out to be a good thing because I deliberately left the door unlocked, which meant that one of our guests, Michael, who had gone to a different synagogue, could just walk upstairs. He was concerned that we were alone, which is a violation of the laws of yichud, but I assured him that it was fine, since the door was unlocked and my husband could join us at any moment. We chatted as I sliced olives and onions and crumbled feta cheese. Jonathan did show up soon enough with our other guests, one of whom had forgotten.
The food was, generally speaking, a success. Since we hold that you can remove fuel from a fire on yom tov, and that that includes turning the gas off, I could turn off my burners. The only fire in my kitchen was my yarzheit candle and the longburning one we use as a source of flame to light the burners and the candles. (Flames cannot be started nor directly extinquished, but they can be transferred.) In cooler weather, I leave my oven on at a very low temperature unless I need it, but not this holiday. So, an all cold menu worked very well. And then it was just hanging out until yom tov was over.
Then we tried to turn on our computer. And apparently something is wrong with the hard drive. Jonathan couldn't even get it to boot to bios. He just called now. With the help of a friend's cd boot disc, he could get to a read-only status. That's fine. We have more than enough CDs, so we can now back everything up. And he has the convention program book all backed up already. He can pick up a new hard drive and a UPS and we will be fine.
Baruch hashem. Also, thanks to our friend.