Saturday, January 22, 2011

Planning and Pouting

Okay, smart and savvy womenfolk (yes, that means you!): I need some help.

Back when my little sis said she was expecting, I offered to throw her a shower. She happily accepted. I won't bog you down with all the back story, but that shower is coming up next weekend. And I'm at my wit's end. (Don't worry--in real life, my wit doesn't have an end.)

The particulars are these: My sister lives in L.A, a 2.5 hour drive (sans traffic) from here. A friend of hers whom I don't know offered to host at her house, in L.A. Another friend (none of us know each other) offered to help. Then I was handed a guest list of 42 people ("don't worry, most of them won't come") and told to have at it.

Though you may be aghast, I'm not great on the phone, especially with strangers. I really dragged my feet about contacting these two other "hosts." It just seemed so awkward. But now I was saddled with a wedding-sized gathering and quite nervous about how to get everything done, and more to the point--how to pay for it.

I sent out an e-mail to the others. I'll call them T and C. C wrote back that she will handle all beverages and flowers. Pretty specific. T said we had "free rain" of her place and sent an extremely long list of kitchen utensils that sounded like "Serving spoon. Chip n' dip. Crudite platter..." but went on for several pages. I wasn't sure what to do with this. So I sent another e-mail.

"Let's all say what talents and resources we'd like to contribute to the shower!" I euphemized. Hoping the issue of money would somehow come up. It didn't. Now I was even more worried.

If I didn't live so far away, I would go on a spree of baking, cooking and prepping and all would be well. But because the shower is in the morning, I need to drive up the day before. Which means all perishables will need to be purchased up there.

Last week, I sent another e-mail, asking if the two other gals planned to meet up with me on Saturday to shop, cook, decorate and plan. C said no. T said she would be out of the town until the party. She said she thought we'd agreed I had "food and extras" all covered.

I talked to my sister. (Confession: I texted her over and over saying "Call me immediately. Are you ignoring me??? until she called.) She said she would help me and not to worry. I refrained from writing back to T and C because I had a few choice words for them and those were not the words I wished to choose. Eventually, T wrote herself, asking where we were with everything. I told her I'd figure it out and that my sis was helping me.

She wrote back that she would rather cancel her trip than have my sister lift a finger. (She also said some other mysterious things that led me to believe either a) she doesn't realize the person in question is my sister or b) T thinks she's throwing a shower for someone else, because she told me that Sis "doesn't like cake" and "hates being the center of attention.") I wrote back and explained--for like the fifth time--that I live far away and don't have contacts in LA. I can't possibly shop and cook for that number of people by myself if I have to come up a day early. I can't prepare a meal on a hot plate in my car. She seemed mollified in her last message.

My gut reaction is to wash my hands of her and just accept that I won't be able to control anything about this party. My sister will help, and we'll get some bagels, throw together some Costco fruit salad, and I'll pick up cupcakes in San Diego that may be slightly stale by the next day. I've planned some games (even though T made it pretty clear she thinks they're tacky) and prizes, and I'm going to make homemade chocolates in the shape of baby things for favors. What else can I do?

I mean that literally, not rhetorically, Readers. If you were in this sticky wicket, what would you do? I've got a week for damage control, so don't be shy.


erin said...

I've had two baby showers (one for Rosey and a second for Elijah because I'd had three girls and he was obviously the first boy) and the best part about the first one was this board that my mom made with all of these baby photos of guests with numbers beside them and then we had to guess who the baby in the photo was. I saw a photo of my grandma as a baby for the first time and it really blew my mind!

The other fun thing was this sheet we passed around where everyone donated a dollar to guess the baby's due date, time of birth, sex, weight and height. The person who won (was closest all around) when the baby was born got to keep half the money and the other half went to the baby's saving's account.

We had both catered, so I can't help you food wise.

We didn't really play any games and the opening of the gifts took so incredibly long that it didn't really effect the shower.

It was really nice just to have a bunch of people there to hang out with that were excited to see me and the wee babe in me belly. I think that's the idea, so as long as you 'shower' your sister with love and affection, that's all that matters!

Missed you lately!

erin said...

Oh and people like T are negligible in the long run. Do your best, ignore her and be glad you don't have to host a ton of women at your own house! Can u imagine!?

42 women in your home! T is silly to have volunteered.

Oh and don't help her clean up, that will show her.

And congrats on soon being an Aunt!

Stephanie said...

You need a plan, and quick my friend. I'll email you.

Joan said...

Oh dear! If you know any of the guests well enough( or even if you don't) ask them to bring a plate. We have recently had a baby shower for Cath and many of us brought a plate-- sandwiches, cakes, slices, sliced fruit. It worked out fine. People were too busy chatting and watching the opening of gifts to play games,even though a few had been organised. Hope all goes well. Love to Lindsay.

DrSpouse said...

Oh dear. No experience of baby showers but plenty of parties and flaky people...

I hosted my 40th in a rented house we had for the weekend (though it had a kitchen). We got party platters (the specific store doesn't help but meats, salads, rolls, can't remember what else. Wholefoods is the nearest equivalent I can think of). For my MIL's 90th we did similar and got cupcakes (we are an hour away, bought them the day before - they were fine). Turn up with food, ignore games, the hosts are doing drinks, any gung ho party types can organise spontaneous games if they wish, keep it simple.

Michelle said...


I think Joan's idea is a good, fair one. You have a disclaimer--you live so far away. Would they pretty please just bring one thing???? Might work. Especially if their are some relatives in the mix. Will your mama be there?

So throwing some money at the problem probably isn't a good solution, huh? Maybe (HA!) you could find a reasonably priced caterer there. I know, that won't happen. It's LA. Still.

Hmmmm. Can you think of anything to make that would do well happily thawing in your backseat on the ride there? Google some awesome finger foods that freeze well. If you lived here, I have about ten coolers I'd let you borrow. I could probably even throw in a redneck truck for hauling. You could do that--just put some chicken salad-ish dishes in the cooler and be off with your bad self. Find some fancy little rolls, throw out some deli meat and cheeses. Costco fruit salad. Take your stale cupcakes. You could do this!! You traveled to China to get your precious child. This shower will be a breeze!

How did I do? Feeling empowered? Is "flower girl" also providing plates? Cups? Ugh.

Now I'm stressed for you.

Paul and Heather said...

All that ends up really mattering at the baby shower is that all her friends and family are there, and all the cute baby stuff she gets. The rest is gravy. Bagels, fruit salad and favors you have covered as well as cupcakes. Let the other chicks deal with the rest. I helped with a baby shower for a girlfriend once and I swear the other chicks were ready to go postal over what the hell the favors were going to be. Their udea was stupid and mine was awesome, but in the end I was like, who the hell cares...and all was fine and my friend had a great time. Don't stress...just have a good time and hug your big, fat, preggo sister and she will have a great time.

Jen said...

Poor Miss Samantha. What a fix! But I think your other readers are right: what you've got planned sounds fine. If you are able to contact anyone who's coming, ask if they'd bring something to share for the table. People will want to! The favors sound ADORABLE, and your sister will love them.

When I hosted my friend Alex's shower, my favorite thing was that I got a small index card box (if you can't find any that you like, you can cover them with your own paper) and filled it with colored, heavy-stock cards I got at the art store. I asked everyone to take a card and to write something for the parents-to-be (it was a shower for both of them). I can't remember exactly how I put it--write down your good wishes or something like that.

Games can be fun, but with that many people, you might not need them/be able to herd everyone into anything. The identifying photos activity and others like it are great, though, because people can just do them whenever.

Good luck! She's going to love it.

And I agree--don't stick around to do the dishes. :-)

Logical Libby said...

Unfortuntately, it's you sister, so you're stuck. I would look on yelp for a bakery near the house and place an order for a sheet cake.

And the dishes are all hers...

Jen said...

Good luck this weekend!