There Comes A Moment ...

You know how there's that moment in rafting, when you've been floating along steadily and then the speed starts to pick up and then you see the rapids and you brace yourself and then you're sucked into the white-water and shooting along willy-nilly through the rocks and over the little waterfall? Well. Party-planning is like that.

By the way, I TOLD MY HUSBAND. I had to tell him. He was saying things like "Don't stress about it, we'll just move when we get back from the "surprise vacation". And "You don't really need the second stove installed before vacation, you're just going to have to be patient". AND "We don't need all the bathrooms to be finished before we move in". So I told him. And he laughed. A lot. And promptly "got on board my boat" as far as planning goes. Now he has a NEW exciting list of "what needs to be done by when". And a new appreciation for the scream that comes when I check my email and find ... interesting ... news. He did tell me that the best part of the "surprise" was watching me not-tell-him for a year. Apparently THAT really amused him. And now its really amusing him that he gets to watch me shoot-the-rapids-of-party-planning.

Yes, The-Crazy-People-Trying-To-Thwart-Me are stepping up their efforts. Making one last vain attempt to throw me from the raft! (In keeping with the above anaology) But, the poor silly amateurs have met their match in me! Admittedly, I've let my guard down a little and hence the current state of affairs. Nothing I can't handle ...

(1) You know how the four-day-house-party-surprise-family-reunion was supposed to start on Thursday? Well, several people (in a vain attempt to be first) have decided to arrive on Wednesday. Which is fine. The one that actually asked saved $800 dollars on tickets by flying Wed versus Thur, and he did volunteer to stay at a hotel next to the airport until Thus if I wanted. Which I thought was silly, so I told him we'd be delighted to see him on Wed. Fortunately, these people don't talk to each other that much about nitty-gritty details of their lives. SO the other two groups that independently decided to come on Wednesday don't know they won't be first.

NOT TO MENTION, the one person I told about the early Wednesday arrival called me back and has decided to come on TUESDAY. Its a good thing I like that person lots, and its a lesson to me that even people I like can exhibit "CrazyPeople" behavior on occassion. Got to remember: You can trust them, but only trust them to be themselves. Hmmmm. Is that the same advice I gave Danielle when she was on her rotation in the psych-ward? Hmmmm. Gives one pause doesn't it ...

(2) Heeeheeeeeheeee. Did I mention that the party is in two weeks and yesterday I got an additional FOUR rsvp's from families that have decided to come afterall!?! Because its not like these people have had a YEAR to tell me they were thinking about coming! Which involves changing the count for pillows, and towels, and shirts, and dishes, and rafting, etc. Oh, and it changes the sleeping diagram, and parking diagram, and the rafting diagram, etc.

The good news is that the four people who decided to come after all, made the decision after seeing my husband at a funeral last week. They hadn't seen him in 15-20 years, and apparently they think he's turned out to be someone who would be fun to hang-out with for the weekend. They're right. I think thats nice that they've figured it out. And, I've got to admit, I really like ALL four of the "extra" people. I am beyond delighted that they are coming.

(3) DId you notice that not only do I have an extra FOUR people for all meals, I have an extra TWO DAYS of meals (Tuesday and Wednesday)!?! And now the race is on to be the last people to leave, so who knows how many meals will get tacked on at the end!?!

On the other hand, I'm always worried about "what if I give a party and no one comes?". That doesn't seem to be the case this time. And that makes me kinda gigglely! All the time. In a vaguely hysterical kinda way.

(4) My husband and I went to lunch by ourselves yesterday. (Which was wonderful! Its been almost a year since we've been "out") I needed to be centered before I descended on the printers and asked them to move heaven-n-earth to get me the extra t-shirts in time (which they are going to do!) . I needed to be "in the zone" for making the alterations to the charts. (And I've had the brilliant idea of using the wrong side of wrapping paper to make a wall-size time-line in the hallway for the event! Who says college is a waste!?!)

Anyway, so we're sitting there at lunch and my husband asks me the oddest question while just trying to be helpful ...

Husband: "Ummm. Have you thought about what you're going to say if W,X,Y, and Z want beer?"
Me: "What do you mean?"

Husband: "You know W,X,Y, and Z will probably want a drink. What are you going to say to them?"
Me: "Ummm. Well. Something like ... The best selection is at the gourmet store across the street from Walmart?"

Husband: nodding, "yeah, ok"

You might wonder why I found that interesting. My best guess is that he's subtly trying to prepare me for the onslaught if there's drinking. "Hmmmm" you might be thinking "an onslaught of drunkeness at Lucy's party. Interesting." No. NOT an onslaught of drunkeness at Lucy's party. An onslaught of unpleasentness from the tee-totalers also in attendence. (By the way, I also find it interesting that he didn't mention the other four relatives that drink. That might be because some relatives that are tee-totalers make it such a HUGE deal that those "other four relatives" keep it under wraps so completely I don't think my husband even knows they drink!) Me? I've spent fifteen years watching these people as if I were Jane Goodall. I know lots about these people! All of which I'll be using to make their visit as pleasent as possible ...

Including the drinking people. I see no problem with beer at lunch if you just can't eat pizza without beer. Some people can't eat burgers without soda, some can't eat pizza without beer. WHATEVER! And as we are firmly in the middle of wine-country, I'm having a local-red-wine-sampling with the italian food (at the special request of a guest). Am I going to force it down the throats of the tee-totalers? No. I happen to be a tee-totaler. I think drinking is bad for you, and tastes bad, and leads you to making bad choices, and etc. But I don't think that drinking is a sin. (Incidentially, I think that being DRUNK is a sin.) And I do think that bullying people is a sin. After doing a lot of praying (and some of the bizarre conincidences about this party has me aware that God has definitely got-my-back, so to speak) I feel kinda prepared to be a charming but firm hostess. The guests will NOT be abusing other guests who, due to their position in the family heirarchy, might feel unable to defend themselves.

Not that I plan on being particularly agressive. More a use of mommy-skills, which iis not so much about punishing the bully as "fixing it" for the victim. I'm all about "making it ok emotionally" for my kids. I can do that for adults too. God wants us to be peacemakers. And being a peacemaker is not just about covering up the problem, ignoring the pink elephant in the corner. Its about making it ok for the pink elephant to come over to the center of the room and play nicely with the rest of the stuffed animals.

Not to mention that it really helps that my husband told me a few years ago "Don't ever pull your punches on account of me" after I didn't say something because I knew the blow-back would end up on him. Its nice to have some loyalty and support from your husband. Lots of husbands aren't like that. Mine is extra-especially-sparklely. Which is what makes this whole party for him worth every single moment of craziness!


T-shirts?! Charts???!! Yikes, you really are a gal with a plan!

Makes me feel like my domestic crises don't amount to much: my biggest anxiety at the moment is that I had venison wieners for lunch, and will be having brats for supper, and there's something that just feels not right about having hotdog-like items for two meals in a single day.

Paul Burgess | 05/19/2007 - 06:58 PM

I'm stressed just thinking about it, but I know you'll pull it all off wonderfully. All I have to pull off is a Sunday afternoon with my inlaws. I'm sure I don't have the grace it will you give classes?

Leni | 05/20/2007 - 04:50 AM

Paul: HA! I am indeed a gal with a firm grasp on Excel. Spreadsheets are a gal's best friend! You know, I distinctly remember getting a migraine when I was a little girl and realized that I couldn't put my books on the bookshelf in order by author and title simultaneously.

Leni: Here's a freebie tip for you, one I've been working on recently -- it helps to imagine them as babies. Sweet innocent babies before they got twisted by crazy parents and a hard life. What do babies want? For someone to care, to love them, to pet on them a little. SO ... take to loving and petting their inner baby! It'll do wonders for both them and you! At least, it'll be wonderful after they stop wondering if you've gone addle-witted and relax a little bit.

Yeah, its hard to imagine them as babies. So you may need to do some research first. Start asking them a lot of questions about their childhood. Look for baby-pictures. Make notes about their favorite colors and foods and actors. Really, Jane Goodall isn't a bad role-model. Don't start with trying to love them, just start out slow with trying to understand them!

Lucy | 05/20/2007 - 09:56 PM
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