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Retracting An Invitation

by admin on March 27, 2017

We have family friends living about 200 miles away, and with small children in the mix, we don’t see them often. We missed them at Christmas, so we all agreed in January that they’d visit us for the Easter break.

My mental health has deteriorated since then. I am prone to bouts of depression, but it’s not something I talk about. Our friends certainly don’t know about it, and I don’t want to share.

Upshot is, I don’t think I can cope with this family visiting us at Easter. My DH thinks I should press on, it would do me good to see friends. I’m not sure and its making me worse. I just don’t know how to take back an invitation – any advice on that?  0324-17

Life doesn’t always go according to plan and things pop up that can change the calendar.   If you were to get the flu days prior to the friends’ visit or your husband was diagnosed with cancer, all plans for hosting visiting guests would change by necessity.

You can retract the offer of hospitality by saying,  “I’m so sorry but an unforeseen health issue will make it difficult for us to host you at this time.  We really want to see you, maybe Memorial Day instead?”   I will caution you to retract invitations with careful consideration because you cannot do this twice in a row without arousing suspicions that you and your husband may be manufacturing reasons why you back out of getting together with old friends.

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Feel Good Friday – Batman To The Rescue

by admin on March 24, 2017

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We are planning a small wedding in our home. It is going to be a very casual yard party for about 80 people.
The caterer offers foods A, B, and C for $18/person for event/corporate packages. Foods A, B, and C are $23/person for wedding packages. The foods description is IDENTICAL on the event/corporate page and the wedding page. I have seen similar pricing differences on most of the catering websites I have visited.

Will I be cast into the e-hell fire if I order the catering as though it’s for just a party? We are hiring appropriate waitstaff and certified bartender, renting chairs and glassware, etc. The only thing is that at the beginning of the party, we’re going to commit our lives to each other. The savings is very tempting. 0320-17

Welcome to the unsavory world of wedding product up charges!  What you seeing is not uncommon among caterers.   The only difference I could ever see was perhaps  nicer serving apparatus could be used, there could be a uncorking/pouring fee if the waitstaff of the caterer is expected to serve wine or champagne and a cake cutting fee if wedding cake is served.   Otherwise there is little to no difference between catering for a wedding and catering for a corporate event except one is labeled “wedding”.

As long as your catering staff will not be expected to serve wine or cut cake and you are happy with an event package food and display, I personally see no reason why you required to order a wedding catering package as opposed to an event package.   Clarify with the caterer what the time frame for their service will be.   For example,  I’ve ordered event catering packages where it was understood that once guests had finished eating, everything was packed up and the catering staff free to leave while we continued to party on.

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This a story of my lapse in etiquette and I am probably throwing myself under the bus for even submitting this. You can all tell me if you think I was completely horrible or if I was somewhat justified in my behavior. I have recently attended a dinner party at the home of my good friends, Annie & John. They are relatively good cooks – John especially cooks a great steak and they like to try new recipes and do some different things. The dinner was quite small, it consisted of my husband and me, Annie & John and 3 other people. We arrive and are the first there. There are appetizers and we chat with our friends for a little while. The other guests come shortly thereafter. As is the case with Annie & John nothing happens immediately. They are already somewhat prepared and nothing they made or are making will take any real time to cook. I understand It is a delicate dance when cooking so that everything is ready at the same time so the entire dinner can be served all at the same time. They are lovely hosts and I can’t fault the fact that they supplied a nice dinner and were friendly and talkative.

So, we wait a couple hours for them to get the show on the road. I understand that there needs to be some time to chat, it should be a leisurely meal not a frantic pace: time to eat a few appetizers – have a couple cocktails but this always seems to be their MO. It isn’t the first time we’ve waited hours before sitting down for dinner. So we wait, I expected to wait but the house is unbearably hot. It a warm day in summer, upper eighties, the air conditioning isn’t on and all the windows are closed. We have a cocktail – and they tell us that they are running quite low and are almost out of ice. The ice they do have smells and tastes funny. I thought perhaps it was just me and my drink – and I tried to discreetly to get my husband’s attention to ask if his drink tasted similarly while the hosts are out of the room. I tap the glass a few times and point at my glass and my great husband says quite loud – “why are you doing that? I don’t know what tapping the glass means!!” It is loud enough so that John hears and he comes and asks me if there is anything wrong. I say no – everything is fine, it’s all good. I should have just asked my husband later in the car on the way home but no, like a lousy friend and guest I ended up embarrassing myself and I’m now furious with my husband for being so obvious!!

We go outside, since it’s so hot and wait some more. I refrain from drinking any more of my cocktail and I really can’t make a new one because there isn’t any more ice which was probably a good thing. Finally, Annie tells us to come in for dinner. She serves us salad. John is outside now grilling the steaks and doesn’t come in for the salad portion. We finish eating the salad and sit there and wait. My husband gets up from the table to go outside because it has now been a ten minute wait and the sweat is pouring down his face. I look around and except for Annie, we are all sweating. Next Annie brings in the mashed potatoes. We pass the potatoes around and since the steaks still aren’t finished we end up eating those too. We wait a little longer and finally in comes John with the steaks. I’m thinking – well the vegetable should come out now – I mean – veggies don’t take all that long to cook – and they were probably done for some time since we waited so long for the steaks. No – we are well in to the steaks before the vegetables arrive.

Finally, dinner is over. We all make a beeline for the living room since the dining room is now very hot from all seven of us being in there together and from the heat of the kitchen. Well, for my next infraction: when we come into the equally warm living room I’m afraid I went ahead and opened a couple of windows. I understand it is their home and they have a right to keep it how they like it but it is so hot I couldn’t help myself. I could see that my husband is now exhausted and overheated. I thought this would help matters and we could enjoy the rest of the evening chatting with everyone in a more comfortable setting. Annie and John decide now that they will entertain us with pictures from their recent trip to Iceland so we grab what is left of our wine from dinner. For the entire dinner they had planned on 2 bottles for all seven of us and both bottles are both now pretty much exhausted.

I have to admit that yeah – I do want to see what Iceland is like. It is probably quite interesting. Well, the first hundred pictures were in fact, interesting. We also watch a couple of videos. The pictures are of the natural terrain and they have quite a few beautiful waterfalls, craters, geysers etc. Yeah, quite a bit. They decide now to serve dessert. We have a hour drive to get home and decide to skip dessert and go home. Once in the car, my husband says that it was just awful. He said, we ate our meal in increments and he was so bored with the thousands of pictures from their trip and there wasn’t anything more to drink. 0929-16

I can have pity on hosts who struggle to get every element of a meal prepared and ready to serve at the same time.  It takes practice.   This, however, sounds like torture.

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Feel Good Friday – Love On Ice

March 17, 2017

US Pairs Figure Skaters, Alexa Scimeca Knierim and husband Chris Knierim, 2015 US Pairs Champions, were forced to withdraw from the 2016 Grand Prix series and US National Championships because Alexa had not recovered fully from a prolonged illness that culminated in life saving stomach surgery in September. Here they are competing for the first […]

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Bushy Bushes

March 16, 2017

I have a seemingly simple question and would like advice as to how to go about handling it. I am fortunate to have a very short commute to work, less than fifteen minutes, the majority of which involves mostly back-country roads over/through some mountainous area. At the ‘T” intersection of one of the smaller roads […]

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