Christmas Open House 2:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m.

It’s 1:01 a.m. 3:33 a.m.  (I talked to Sam for an hour after I started writing this)

I just finished my Chinese food.  I ordered it at 11:30.   It arrived at 12:30.  You can get anything delivered in New York.  You just may have to wait a while.

I’m exhausted.  On Friday night I got home at 4:00 a.m.  Got to bed at 6:00 a.m.  Got up at 11:30.  Went to bed last night at 3:00 a.m.  Got up this morning at 8:30 a.m.  If you do the math it’s only 11 hours of sleep in two days.  I need eight hours a night or I’m miserable.

But so goes the life of a party planner.

Before I start I should say that I don’t have a single photo to show you.  I never even thought about taking pictures until Chuck’s sister snapped a photo at 7:30 p.m.  By that time 90% of the guests were gone, the food was ransacked and there was nothing I wanted to show you.

The party was a huge success.

Chuck and I played the part of hostesses perfectly.  We were a great team at keeping things fresh and filled.  Keeping the guests entertained.  Making sure no one set the place on fire.  I know Chuck had a great time today.  We sat around for about an hour after the party talking about the people who had come and gone.  We’ve both heard about a lot of our friends over the last two years so it was nice to finally put names with faces.  After they were all gone, we played, this is that person, this was that person.  This person is crazy.  This person is sweet.   This one is cute.  I’d totally go for this guy…if he didn’t have a boyfriend.  It was nice after the party sitting in the living room lit by the tree just chatting.

As for the party:

Set up this morning wasn’t nearly as stressful as I thought it would be.  Chuck got up early to put the ham in the oven.  Luckily he’s an early riser so it works out well.  I got up around 8:30 started the coffee and got right to work.  We kind of both jumped in head first getting things put away.  We still had the pie barracade up, the table was covered in stuff that wasn’t edible, and there was much to do.

We started in Chuck’s room.  We were moving things around to make another seating area.  He has a really nice futon that he sleeps on that we were going to fold up into it’s sofa position so that we could make seating for about 10 people in his room.  What we didn’t realize is the mattress he’d bought a year ago had never been folded.  And really didn’t want to be folded.  The moment we started the folding process it became a scene from a Laurel and Hardy sketch.  We would fold it.  It would unfold.  We would fold it.  It would unfold and slide off the frame all together.  Then we’d start over and just repeat the scene.  Finally we decided that perhaps if we weighted it down then it would perhaps get used to being folded and stay.  So we gathered piles and piles of hard back books, folded the mattress and then piled the books on top.  And it stayed.  Our hope was that when we took the books off five hours later the mattress would like it’s new position.  To jump to the end of the story…that’s not what happened.  We took the books off, and it stayed for about two minutes and then it popped right off the frame.  We were finally able to get it situated and then once some of Chuck’s friends arrived he instructed them that at least one person had to be sitting on the futon at all times to keep the mattress in place.

By far that was the worst problem of the day.  And we spent more time laughing about it than anything.

The big joke of the day, was that because Chuck’s room now looked like another living room, I was to walk into the room every 20 minutes or so and say, “This isn’t how it’s usually set up.  This is Chuck’s room.  WE ARE NOT BOYFRIENDS!”

By 12:30 we were pretty much done with things.  The table was set.  The desserts were scattered around the apartment.  The ham was glazed and cooling.  The lasagna was in the oven.  All we had to do was wait till about 1:30 to make the final sweep to finish things up.  And so we both grabbed Diet Cokes and Chuck planted himself in the chair and I was on the sofa and we were watching TCM.  A 1960’s Disney Movie was starting so we kind of vegged in front of the television.  I think I woke up around 1:00.  Chuck was already up and at it again.

At 12:45 I was lighting the last of the candles when our first guest arrived.  They were 15 minutes early but we’d kind of expected it.  A real problem in NYC is that the minute you travel to a neighborhood outside your own or is not from 72nd Street to Tribeca it becomes impossible to know how long it’s going to take to get there.   And if you are traveling say from Brooklyn to our house it can take more than an hour to get here.  So chances are you are as likely to be early as late if the train god’s are in your favor.  Which is what happened with our first guest.  We weren’t bothered.  I was just happy someone showed up.  I always get nervous at my parties because I worry that no one will come.  It’s silly I know, but I’m not in therapy for nothing.

A little after 2:00 the next guest arrived and it was steady from then till about 6:00 or so.

And I think everyone had a great time.

First they all loved our apartment.  For a middle of the country apartment our apartment would be just okay.  The kitchen is tiny, the bathroom is tiny, there isn’t a lot of closet space, we don’t have a fireplace, a balcony, or a garage.  And it’s not the best neighborhood.

For a New York apartment we have a GREAT apartment.  It’s not a Central Park West Apartment.  But if we lived on CPW I would have flown each and every reader of my blog to NYC to be at the party.  But for a middle class NYC apartment our’s is perfect.  Yes the bathroom is small.  Yes, only one person can be in the kitchen at time.  (We took turns today doing things.  And you had to ask permission to get to the fridge for a Diet Coke if it wasn’t your turn).  There isn’t a lot of closet space.  We don’t have a balcony, fireplace or garage.  What we do have:  SPACE!!!!  And WINDOWS!!!!  And CHEAP rent!!!!

When we looked at the apartment we were very unsure about the area.  We were even less sure when the super let us in to the building.  It’s lit by industrial flourescents and is anything but warm and inviting.  Like every prewar NYC building that’s not on Central Park West, it’s been lived in.  By working class families.  The stairwells and hallways aren’t perfect.  They are swept and mopped but they are not scrubbed.  Occasionally grafitti shows up on the wall.  So we step into the building and look at each other.  And we climb the stairs to the third floor.  There’s no elevator.

And we stop at #2D.

And the super opens the door.

And we entered the apartment.

And we looked at each other and said, “We’ll take it.”

The living room was fucking huge.  HUGE.  By middle america huge.  If your include the kitchen which is part of the square the room is 25 feet x 25 feet.  That’s 500 square foot of living space.  We could chop the room into 5ths and charge 700 bucks a month for a 100 square foot room.    And this is just for the living room and kitchen.  The living room itself is L shaped, because of the cut out where the kitchen is.  When we first moved in we had the living room, dining room and my office in that space.  After I healed from breaking my foot we moved things around and I put my desk in my bedroom, opened up the living room and dining room and the place is more functional and looks better.  So whenever anyone walks into our apartment the first thing they say is, “Damn, this place is huge.”  The rest of the apartment is nice as well.  We have lots of windows, and the bedrooms are good size.  And it’s just a nice place.

And it’s decorated nicely.  I’m a firm believer that rooms should looked lived in.  I don’t want to spend time in a room that I can’t put my feet up on the coffee table.  It doesn’t mean that I will, but the room needs to look like it get’s used.  I don’t have a lot of use for rooms that are for show.  Take a picture of the furniture, and then let me put my feet up on the coffee table.  I also like eclectic.  I don’t like rooms that look like they were put together by a designer.  And there should be some fun about it.  And that’s our common space.  My furniture is overstuffed and super comfy.  And just as good for guest to sit on as it is for me to take a nap on.   There is fun artwork, and a metal table that I designed and built myself, and lot’s of other stuff.  And it looks homey.  Add that to being big and it’s a great space.

I like to go on about our apartment because:  1.  I think it’s a cheap for what we get.  2.  No one expects it.  3.  Our friends finally understand why we moved to Canada in the first place.

So they loved the space.

And even more.

They loved the food.  You know about all the baking the two of us did this week.  I don’t know if I mention the lasagna and ham.  Chuck got up this morning and baked and glazed a ham that was beautiful.  Martha Stewart couldn’t have made it look any better.  And it tasted divine.  Although, I have to admit that I only got a sliver that Chuck gave me when he pulled it out of the oven.  When I finally had chance to get some, it was gone.

And even better than the ham.


Chuck used his father’s recipe for sauce and his mother’s recipe for lasagna and damn that shit was good.  We got through three trays of the stuff that had been pre-made and Chuck was just about ready to throw together a fourth if we needed it.  I’ve never tasted better.  And the way our friends were cooing over it, neither had they.  The first tray disappeared in about six minutes.  Of course that was because Theresa had three or four helpings just for herself.  (More about party etiquette tomorrow).

We also had a salad with a homemade citrus dressing that Chuck whipped up in about three seconds.

We were supposed to have bacon wrapped asparagus but when I opened up the asparagus this morning, it wasn’t so fresh.

And then there were the desserts.  And the things we thought would be popular weren’t and the things we weren’t sure about flew off the plates so fast we couldn’t keep them filled.

Pies:  People picked at them but really didn’t eat them

Cakes:  A lot of people tasted my jam cake in slivers and seemed to like it but no one really ate it.  I still have an entire Red Velvet Cake in the fridge.

People really weren’t doing pies and cakes.

Regular cookies:  People liked them and at them but they weren’t the hit of the party.

The hit of the party:    Peanut Butter Roll    Frosty Winter Bars

Peanut Butter Roll is essentially peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar.  In yummy goodness.

Frosty Winter Bars:  Cream cheese, coconut, graham crackers and sugar in yummy goodness.

At one point I went to fill the plate of the FFBars and the entire plate was gone.  Not just the bars.  The entire glass plate was missing.  Someone had taken the entire plate into another room for ease of access.  I could have made an entire extra batch and we’d have gone through it all.

So we have about 14 trays of cookies left, 3/4 jam cake, 4 whole pies, 2 half pies, and entire red velvet cake left.  Chuck is going to be very popular at his office this week.  We are hoping it means extra Christmas bonus.

Even though we have a lot left, we certainly did go through a lot.  We looked on the whole thing as a learning process.  We’ll know better for next year, what worked and what didn’t work.  I actually think we should do a post mortem to take some notes in case we ever want to do this again.

In all we probably had about 40 or 50 people pass through today.  They came in waves.  My friends at first.  Then Chuck’s.  Then some of each.  Then my friends left to go to work.  Then some of Chuck’s friends left to go to another party.  And then more came.  We had a good number of people till around 6:00 and then it really started to thin out.  And by 7:30 there were only six or seven guests.

And at 8:00 everyone left except David and Ruby

The party ended at 8:00.  It was on the invitation.  And not to be rude I talked to them while I started to clean.

And at 8:20 I asked them if they’d like to take some cookies home with them.  And without waiting for a response I filled up two boxes and handed them to them.

At 8:30 I gave them plastic bags to put their boxes in.  And continued to clean.

At 8:40 Chuck corners me in the kitchen and wants to know how to get rid of them.

At 8:45 He turns off the Christmas Tree.

They are still sitting there.

At 8:50 I say to them, “I’m glad you guys came, and I don’t want to rush you off but we have tons of cleaning to do.  So unless you want to spend the next three hours doing dishes, why don’t you let me get you your coats.”

And they politely said their goodbyes and left.   (More about etiquette tomorrow).

The clean up took about 90 minutes and everything was washed and cleaned.  I need to move some of the furniture back around this week but I’ll do that while Chuck is at work.

And I poured myself my first drink of the day.

A glass of red wine.

I collapsed on the sofa.

And smiled.

It had been a great day.


8 thoughts on “Christmas Open House 2:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m.

  1. sortedlives December 15, 2008 / 06:32

    Sounds like a fun time all around. Glad everything went well!

  2. Lemuel December 15, 2008 / 07:56

    It sounds great! Maybe what I should have done was convince my friends to keep going when we were ready to leave Bethlehem and drive on to the City. We would have made it before your party ended.

    I laughed and laughed with your tale of Chuck’s futon. Funny!!!!

    Your last two guests reminded me of guests at our first open house many eons ago. They were an elderly couple who lived just across the street. They came at the opening bell and never left until after the end time. They just sat on chairs in the living room the whole time. We needed to clean up and be somewhere else in an hour. the next year we shortened the hours (from 1 to 7 to 2 to 5).

    BTW, if I ever come to your place, Chuck HAS to make his lasagna! No question ’bout that!

  3. javabear December 15, 2008 / 12:12

    Sounds like great fun. Definitely take notes for next time. Glad is was such a lovely success.

  4. Peter December 15, 2008 / 13:57

    It’s great that your party was such a huge success. I agree that you make notes on what went well and what didn’t go well with your guests [food-wise]

  5. urspo December 15, 2008 / 21:50

    congratulations on the party – it sounds exhausting but jolly good fun.

  6. Sarah December 15, 2008 / 22:56

    The futon story is too funny. While I’m happy you found a solution that worked for you, I think it would have been really funny if it had exploded off the frame at some point. But that’s just me. Anyway, even without the exploding futon, it sounds like it was a good time.

  7. Rick December 16, 2008 / 06:25

    Sounds like a fun time. And only one glass of red wine?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s