Everyone Will Have Reservations at Your Holiday Party

Sometimes I like to be topical and trendy.  Right now, it seems like everyone is talking about holiday this, party that, oh, I’m gonna make these cheese balls with quinoa all over them and not eat them because I’m lactose intolerant, but you go ahead.  Since I don’t really have “parties,” because that would involve a lot of “people,” I thought it might be fun to help you plan your party.  

 I spent some time thinking about a theme, because no one wants to have the same party as everyone else, right?  I spent some time focusing on the word “hospitality.”  I laid down in the middle of my floor and chanted that word for an hour using the voice of my ancestors.  The long line of introverts behind me declined to help.  “Hospitality,” I whispered.  Inspiration struck.  Hotels!  A hotel themed party would be the very essence of hospitality.  Looking around my suburban home, however, I couldn’t make it work.  I just didn’t have enough rooms to give everyone their own room and still call it a party.  Plus, some people might not be entirely charmed by spending their evening in the bathroom or the basement crawlspace.  If you have a 40 room mansion, this might not be a problem you have, but you wouldn’t be talking to me either, so whatever.

 How could I get more people in a small space?  I still wanted the hospitality feeling, but I needed efficiency.  I scrunched my knees up, covering my ears so I could think, and lightning struck!  I could take my inspiration from the airlines!  Read on to see how you could throw your own party just like a major airline. 

Invitations

First, you have to invite all your friends to the party, of course.  You’ll want to make sure you set your groundwork here.  Make a list of all your friends.  Then, divide up the list between your Best Friends and your Other Friends.  For maximum efficiency, I suggest something like the example below. 

Be sure to check the appropriate box before sending to prevent confusion.

Be sure to check the appropriate box before sending to prevent confusion.

Handling RSVPs

When your friends RSVP, you’ll want to make sure you exchange some important information.  Absolutely confirm if they are bringing a date or any other baggage.  This is the perfect time to let them know they need to arrive at least two hours early. 

Greeting Your Guests

Your guests should start arriving long before the actual party is to start.  Have them form an orderly line outside the front door.  You will want to put the Best Friends closest to the house to ensure they get inside before anyone else.  This is a good time to make sure no one has brought an unexpected guest.  If anyone in line is not covered by a confirmed RSVP, inform them they are on Party Standby.  If there is any room after all confirmed guests have entered the party, these unexpected guests can enter on a first-come/first-served basis. 

Walk down the line and observe what people are carrying.  Anyone with a hostess gift should be pulled out of line and searched for other contraband.  Since most people don’t have metal detectors at home, you’ll have to improvise here.  If you’re curious about what your coworker has in that stupid designer purse, or you want to see if Bill from high school is still carrying joints in his pocket, make a high-pitched whining noise as you “wand” them and insist they dump out their purse or pockets.

 

Weeeoooooweeeeooooweeeoooo. Sorry, I'm going to have to search that.

Weeeoooooweeeeooooweeeoooo. Sorry, I’m going to have to search that.

No matter how clear you are on the invitation, there are always latecomers.  At the time the party is scheduled to start, lock the door and don’t let anyone else in.  That’s the price of being a Rude Roscoe, my friend, see you next year.

 Party Down

The key to a party that everyone enjoys?  The atmosphere and the refreshments!  First, you’ll want to make sure everyone’s comfortable.  Because we’re trying to get as many guests in as efficiently as possible, I’ve done a model layout for you.   

You may want to have a special area with larger squares for your Best Friends.

You may want to have a special area with larger squares for your Best Friends.

 The refreshments are another area requiring careful planning.  It’s important to have enough for everyone, but not necessarily the same things for everyone.  I suggest creating multiple areas for drinks and food.  Find your Best Friends and quietly suggest that they might want to check out the refreshments on the linen tablecloth, behind the curtain. 

Please enjoy all this, my Best Friend, and let me know when you need a refill

Please enjoy all this, my Best Friend, and let me know when you need a refill.

Holler “Grub’s on!” loudly to the Other Friends and gesture to the folding card table where you’ve set up the cheap stuff.

One per guest, please, if I have extras you may ask for another

One per guest, please, if I have extras you may ask for another.

Entertainment

Let’s face it, people are not coming to your party for the entertainment.  Go to a Redbox, close your eyes, and point to the display of movies at random.  Rent this movie.  Play it with the sound completely off in your living room.  If someone cares about what Vin Diesel is saying, they can stand very close to the screen and read his lips.

 Winding Down

If you’re following along, you should be having a really adequate party at this point.  People will be awkwardly mingling with the person in the assigned seat next to them.  Your Best Friends will be drunk and joining the Mistletoe Club elsewhere in the house.  It’s important to end the party with the same tasteful efficiency as you began it.  Put on a pair of blue nitrile gloves and carry a small wastebasket liner to each party guest.  Grab their cups out of their hands and throw them away regardless of contents.  Once you’ve done this, announce to everyone that the party is over, thank them for coming, and wish them an enjoyable holiday season at their own homes. 

 Important Last Note

Once you’ve signaled that party is over, make it clear that everyone is to leave as quickly as possible by standing at the open front door with a basket of party favors.  Hand one to each guest as they leave, counting as they depart.  It wouldn’t do to have a party guest stranded in your house overnight!

 This may sound like a lot of work for a couple of hours of party time.  While I’m sure you’re sold on the money-saving refreshment tiers, you might wonder if it’s worth going the extra mile for your guests.  Yes.  You have to stop focusing on the journey, and look toward the destination.  You’ll avoid the “same old holiday party” trap.  People will be talking about your party for years to come.  Bonne fête! 

Thanks for choosing our party. Please come again.

Thank you for choosing our party. Please come again.

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Regretfully, I Am Not Qualified For Your Position

I spent a lot of time yesterday cleaning up dog vomit. The dog has bad ears and they get infected without my noticing because I am a terrible dog owner.  Since she is twelve, and blind, she doesn’t do much normally—so “lethargy” and “inactivity” are sort of her natural states.  Hard to notice when her activity level goes from .5 to .2.  Antibiotics to cure the disgusting ears have all kinds of other disgusting side effects.  Poor doggy.  Anyway…  I don’t often think, “I have a college degree and 15 years of experience, and I am doing THIS,” but it crossed my mind more than once during Festival de Papertowel and Rugcleaner.  Let’s stipulate that I am slightly overqualified to clean up dog vomit.  There are, however, a list of things in the world that I am not qualified, nor will ever be qualified to do.

 

  • Consignment Boutique Fashionista: This was what started the whole thing. A consignment shop had a “Fashionista Wanted” sign up, and I thought, “Well, they don’t want me.” I treat my clothes and my cars the same way. I find something reliable and use it until every single last drop of goody has been wrung from its sad, tattered carcass. My 2007 Honda has 125,000 miles on it and I’m hoping for at least two more years. Some of my shirts probably have almost that many miles on them. It’s not a successful garment experience unless you’re too ashamed to give it to Goodwill. If an actual “Fashionista” went through my closet, I’d probably have to foot some therapy bills or call the police.
I put this on right after I took the picture because it was slightly chilly.

I put this on right after I took the picture because I was slightly chilly and it’s still perfectly functional.

  • Hoarder: Now you’re probably imagining that my closet is just one massive pile of rags. NOT SO. I am not constitutionally capable of hoarding stuff. I also lack the mental self-trickery to think that I will need *that* someday, or that I won’t ever have another one of *those* again, or that I can fix *this* up and it will be worth something on eBay. No, no, and NO. It’s all just crap. Throw it away. If you need all those things to preserve every precious memory, then maybe a couple of them aren’t as precious as you think.  I get mental when the trash can is full and the possibility of throwing something away doesn’t exist. Really mental. Like…if we forget trash day, Mr. YSBH has to take to can to the transfer station or it ruins my week. My career as a professional hoarder would be cut short about three times a year when I looked around and said, “What is all this junk??? Gah! Get me a shovel!”
We keep moving this box of unopened organizers because we don't have anything to put in them.

We keep moving this box of unopened organizers because we don’t have anything to put in them.

  • Physics Instructor: I’m a smart gal[i]. I learned and learned when I was in school, and I embraced all the learny things. Except trigonometry and wave theory. To be honest, I decided not to. I am certain that I am fully capable of learning those two things (really, they are sort of the same thing, you can’t get one without the other), but I would have to memorize it. It doesn’t make logical sense to me. Trading in financial derivative futures, and the required reporting? SURE. Light waves bouncing all over my room? Nope. I decided that it’s MAGIC. The idea of things bouncing all over my room all the time makes me uncomfortably crawly. Just writing about it now is making me restless. Magic in the air (which is also not moving unless there is a breeze, thank you very much) allows the sounds and sights to enter my head as needed. This also explains why Mr. YSBH has “selective hearing.” HE’S IMPERVIOUS TO MAGIC, YOU GUYS. While this theory works really well for me, I betcha it wouldn’t go over that well in a high school science class. Then again… kids today, they might not know the difference.
I don't even really understand this, and I made it up myself.

I don’t even really understand this, and I made it up myself.

  • Parent: Speaking of kids, I am completely unqualified to be a parent. This is the one job on the list that I actually have, and I can’t even quit. “Sorry, kids, but this gig isn’t working out for either of us. I’m just going to move on so you can hire somebody who is a better fit.” I took Child Development in high school. For the assignment where you were to come up with fun games for preschoolers using household objects, I turned in “Look at the Man in the Sun,” which you were supposed to do with binoculars. I was the one person the preschoolers did *not* want to read to them during the field trip to the day school. Somehow, they let me bring two of the little snowflakes home from the hospital, though. Amazing. I’m setting the bar pretty low on this one, honestly. Were they clothed and sort of fed when I dropped them at preschool with their buckets? YES. Gold star for me, because they both had buckets and snacks and shoes on the correct feet. As for the more advanced parts of this job, I’m totally winging it until I get my performance review. Which I am still waiting for, BY THE WAY—do you know when those come out again?
Run away! Run away!

Run away! Run away!

[i] Yes.  I said “gal.”  I’m taking back “gal.”  I don’t actually know what’s wrong with “gal,” except maybe it’s a little familiar.  In the wrong context, sure, that would be offensive, just like a man can be called “buddy” in an aggressive way.  I’m a gal, she’s a gal, wouldn’t you like to be a gal, too?

Our Socks Have Had a Rough Summer

I was clearing the lunch dishes the other day (so it was about 4PM), and the sliding glass door off the main floor deck opened. Thing One, a left-handed four-year-old boy with a rather eccentric take on life, poked his pointy head in.

“Mommy. Follow me and I will show you how to wash my socks.”

He was holding in one hand: A filthy, dripping wet sock.

I was instantly intrigued. I have tried many things. His socks are never clean, unless they have not been worn. This is because he likes to take his shoes off, but not his socks. He doesn’t want to get his feet dirty, after all. They would get VERY dirty without socks. This summer, we have decided that socks are just going to be semi-disposable.

This pair is trying to escape

This pair is trying to escape

I followed Thing One and his dripping sock down the stairs to the patio. There he had this:

Nothing works better for scrubbing socks than a bucket full of mud!

Nothing works better for scrubbing socks than a bucket full of mud!

And this:

Daddy's wine decanter brush, because we want to give the filthy sock the best gentle care

Daddy’s wine decanter brush, because we want to give the filthy sock the best gentle care

He then proceeded to dip the filthy sock in the water and scrub at it with the decanter brush. All very reasonable, and completely devoid of soap, but points for trying, right? Next, he handed ME the filthy, muddy sock.

“Use teamwork to wash my socks.”

Despite the fact that this made me want to die laughing, being the Mommy required that I hold the ruined footwear still while he scrubbed at it with the decanter brush, “Like this.” I told him that teamwork is a really good way to get something done, proving that I am taking all of this very seriously. (I want Mommy points for that.)

At this point, the sock looked something like this:

The proof is in the results!

The proof is in the results!

Thing One looked at the sock with no small amount of consternation, handed me the decanter brush, and ran off to do something else. I believe he has a bright future in management consulting.

See you later, sock golems

See you later, sock golems