Roll With the Punches

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I love you honey… but

The day of the party frustration, I think it happens to everybody at some point. For me and my crew we always arrive at the customer’s house hours before the party starts. If we are roasting a pig on-site we arrive about 6 hours prior to the serving time. So it is normal for us to pull up to a customer’s house around 9:00am on a Saturday morning and this is about the time the tension is starting to build, especially if it is a younger couple. They are new at life and most likely new at entertaining and throwing a party. Like most they have bitten off more than they can chew and they have a lot to do and a short time to do it.

Logically there are two reasons why you can fall behind the 8 ball when it comes to getting all your ducks lined up in a row for this party that is going to happen. One is in reality most normal people are not used to doing all this crazy work. We have our routines and going on a scavenger hunt all week trying to gather all the “stuff” you need to make this gig happen, while at the same time juggling the day to day grind can certainly leave the most enthusiastic person with a “cup runneth over.”  I think most people under estimate time and how long it will take to clean the backyard, the house or decorate (if needed), these are just a few examples.

The second reason is good ole procrastination or simply put “bull shit.” And it might not be you that is the artist here; it could be the spouse that is throwing the BS. Either way it all leads up to frustration and at some point the pressure will blow off in one form or another. It could be the keg gets tapped very early or the wine tasted so good I think I’ll have another… and the guests are still two hours out.

Yeah this is what I see. Remember I have been standing is a backyard cooking a pig and catering for the past twenty years. It might as well be the same backyard because after a few years they all look the same. And the people are the same, if it is a young couple I can all most predict every time how it will play out. Same with an older couple although the outcome is most times not as dramatic. Older couples have the life experience to know “you need to role with the punches.” They also know it is life… you can’t always get what you want.

So back to the younger couple, because the pressure is building and that is more fun to watch lol. She is stressing because it is baby’s first birthday and she wants everything to be storybook perfect. I understand it and I get it, it is a big day for her to entertain and celebrate. But he’s out there with his buddies trying to put up a canopy and nothing is going right. Remember what I said about “stepping out of routine”… who the hell puts up canopies enough to know how to do it efficiently? Well I do, but that don’t count lol. Seriously though we find ourselves in these little dilemmas that we never thought would happen. So the next thing you know she’s looking at him like he’s just out in the backyard having fun with his buddies and he’s not listening when she says you were supposed to pick the cake up from the bakery 20 minutes ago and they’ll be closing soon. Yeah that keg is getting tapped real quickly.

So my advice is always try… notice I say “try” to allow enough time for the unexpected because it will happen. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, getting  friends and family to help is of course an obvious given. But friends and family can be a big fail because… well they’re friends and family.

But here is something that I have seen that can usually work like a charm. Friends and family do not always put forth their best effort because when you start barking orders at them, well now you sound like their boss and they though it was going to be a party. So I have seen this done several times and really it is nothing new. A host will find someone they are familiar with to help. Not a friend or a family member, but more of an acquaintance I guess you could say. They help you when you’re having a party and you in-turn do the same back for them. I have seen this in action and it seemed to work wonderfully.

I was working a party and I see a lady helping the home owners set up the party; she also had her teen daughter there. But it looked a little odd and something was out of place because it is usually a friend or family member and this lady knew very little about the house or the garage. She was working hard and fast so I thought she must be the hired help. However she knew homeowner’s sister and she seemed to get along with the dog very well. Later on she was serving food and cleaning so I asked her directly if she was the wait staff. She laughed and said “yes & no.” She was a friend from church and she actually worked with the homeowner’s sister. She said she was working for free because they (party host) will do the same for her when she has her son’s graduation party. She explained they had been doing this for years and they also looked after each other’s pets when they travel. She said we’re not really close friends, but we know each other from church. At another party I seen the same thing and the man had a few guys he worked with, who he called “work buddies” but they rarely saw each other outside of work. But they agreed to help clean the backyard for a party and he would return the favor.

Parties are a lot of work, plan it out, find help you can trust and most of all roll with the punches.

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