Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Holiday Preparations: Quiet Before the Storm!

So here we are in mid October and things are relatively calm. But there's a tidal wave of events about to overwhelm us, right? In fact I can already feel the stress building up.

The Social Season is full upon us and there's fund raisers, charity balls and frivolous galas to deal with. The holidays are closing in fast, starting with Halloween and ending with New Year's. We've got Christmas shopping to do and greeting cards to get out. And there's an endless parade of office parties, family events, holiday dinners and all the necessary travel plans involved.

Not to forget it's football season, and there's all kinds of game-watching events and celebrations to prepare for. And this year we can add into the mix all the Presidential Debates and a Presidential Election. So for the next seventy-five days or so we've all got our hands full, don't we?

We have a major fund-raiser coming up in mid November. Save-the-Date notes were sent out last month, and six-hundred invitations will soon be going out. That's a potential of twelve-hundred people. Even with the usual twenty-percent no shows, that's still about 950 guests. Rough stuff, but we've had bigger parties than this.

There's also three minor fund raising events. Two are ladies' luncheons, and one is an afternoon tea. But even these minor events can shake seventy-five to a hundred-thousand dollars out of these ladies in nothing flat.

So I'm taking a deep breath tonight and will try to remain calm and professional throughout the upcoming onslaught. I have terrific backup from the caterers and events planners, and a professional house staff around here that can deal with practically anything. So what's to worry, right?

Thanks for stopping by this evening,



  1. Andrew, Christmas shopping already!? Your employers are mad I tell you, mad. I haven't even started thinking about buying Halloween Candy...

    1. Hey Justin,

      In this world of the rich, major events are so frequent and time is so tight that shopping for Christmas gets squeezed in at any available opportunity, starting in September!

      And you are 100% right that my employers are mad! It's only their money that keeps them from being "put away" Ha! And by the way, there's only nineteen days 'til Halloween, so you need to get on that candy shopping right away! (Your blog article on "procrastination" notwithstanding!

  2. Hiya Andrew! (Psst. It's MemphisGirl)

    I was indeed wondering when your employers were going to kick it into holiday gear. Kindof late this year! But if it is as you say "trouble in paradise" that would explain a lot, no doubt. It also helps to know your staff is capable of handling everything you need done - although hopefully that isn't abused too frequently. I used to start my holiday shopping on Dec 26. Now with my family so small it doesn't take long. :-(

    How much time do you get during the holidays to visit with your own family?

    1. Hi, Memphis Girl. I know WooPak is you, and really enjoy your writing style on your blog. So clear, creative, direct and fun!

      Yes, we're a bit late this year. That is to say, I've only recently been brought in. The events planner has had all this since July, and the Missus did some shopping for her side of the family in Italy last month.

      And no, I won't have ANY of the holidays off. It goes with the job, and I knew that before I jumped in. So I have no right to complain, do I? But this part of the job really sucks!

      Your family might be small, but I have a feeling you'll be getting gifts for all the animals on your hobby farm, yes? At least the puppies.


    2. I hope you don't mind, WooPak, but I'm now reading your blog. I want a hobby farm of my own, so I can't wait to read more about it!

      Andrew, I really hope your employers can work it out. I know it's been over a year they've been having problems, but even though I don't technically know them, they do seem like a good couple. I mean, they let you post about them - that says a lot about their character, humor, and respect.

    3. Hey dk1421!

      How ya been? Yes, my employers are good people, the proof being they put up with me around here. And yes, they've been very supportive of the blog, although the things I have to hold back and CAN'T write about would suprise you! Ha!

      If you leave a comment on WooPak's blog, tell her hello for me. She's a great writer, isn't she?

      Hope all's well!

  3. Hi
    I know I'm off topic but...

    I have a bit of an odd question -- Do wealthy women still wear hose?
    I have an event to go to and when I thought about what hose to wear I realized I have not really worn a dress in ages. I also don't see other women wearing them. So what do the wealthy ladies do?

    Love your blog by the way, I just discovered it about two weeks ago.
    Thanks, Sophie

    1. Hi Sophie, and welcome!

      You've tapped into a raging debate among women as whether or not to wear hose. I'm not a fashion guru, but I do notice both at parties here. To be delicate, I would venture to say it seems to be "ladies of a certain age" who cover their legs. But in the corporate world, at least the more staid variety, hose and a business dress suit are still in play. There's even a high-dollar pantyhose on the market --fifty bucks a pair! Ouch!

      In social situations, it seems to be up to you, and how you feel most attractive and comfortable. No one's standing at the door with a rule book. But one thing for sure you can't do is wear hose with open-toe shoes.

      I don't think I've been of much help. But thanks for reading, and do stop by again,


  4. DK I'm happy to have you stop by any time. We southern folks are known for our legendary hospitality! (And our iced tea) I can't always promise exciting, but I can always promise true stories (life on even a hobby farm often includes death). But still, please feel free to chime in wherever you want.

    I find this blog fascinating in many ways. It's interesting reading the different things that different economic brackets do. I've been exposed to quite a few in my lifetime (never this high up) and find them all fascinating and educational for different reasons.

    I once was invited to a friend's parents home for Christmas dinner. I was 2000 miles from home, knew next to nobody in the small town I had lived in for 2 months. I was thrilled. I had no idea before I arrived, but to say that this family was poor would have been kind. I was humbled that they thought enough of me to share what most would consider a meager meal indeed. It was a cheerful dinner, everyone shared their home and table with a virtual stranger openly and lovingly. Talk flowed freely. And I had a good lesson in life that day. This family had less than anyone I had ever known, and yet they gave me, a virtual stranger, such a gift of acceptance and love, and what surely cost them dearly, 1/6th of their meal. Humbling indeed. The children told me openly they expected no Christmas, and were used to it, but were happy to have a Christmas dinner and a roof. I was taught that you do not go to someone's home empty handed, and since it was Christmas, I had brought each member of his family a little something. While just getting by myself, I hadn't gotten them much, yet each was so thrilled to have gotten what I had previously thought was such an insignificant "little something" that when i left, i was so upset that i pulled over and cried. Life lessons sometimes are painful.

    On the flip side of that, I once lived in a turn of the (last) century home and there were seven Christmas trees in our house! Yes. Seven. I meant to mention this home to Andrew because he is a fan of the classic and classical, but I'm unsure if he is a fan of opera (some are, some aren't. I am upon occasion, but not all opera). The house at one point belonged to Marguerite Piazza and I thought Andrew may appreciate the history. I loved the home. It had such character. Her children's names were all still on the intercom system.

    Everyone likes to dream of being able to do whatever you want - of having enough money to do whatever you want every day. Never washing a dish or scrubbing a bath tub. Worrying about bills or the emergencies of life, etc. but I believe each standard of living comes with a price. Even the billionaires.

    I always think of that family at Christmas and hope they are all well. I only lived in that town for 11 months and lost touch with them but I hope they win the lottery or strike gold. They deserve it, but they'll say they're just fine without all that.

  5. Thanks for sharing that, Woo Pak. I hope DK checks back in and finds it.

    The story about your friend's family was touhing, and revealing. I've said more than once on this blog that money in itself does not buy happiness. It can buy comfort, excitement, amusement -- and lots of it! But happiness comes from some other place.

    Madame Piazza's house sounds awesome! And I'm indeed a fan of the opera. More than once I've linked to Pavarotti in these essays. (Just type his name in the search bar above and several articles will show up.) I'm aware, btw, that she died just this past summer, in your city of Memphis.

    Hope you have a happy Halloween! Andrew

  6. Yes. I definitely don't know anyone who'd turn down the opportunity to be so well off :) Money can't do a lot of things but it sure can do a lot of other things!!!

    M. Piazza's home was spectacular. It was built in 1910 and came complete with a small old fashioned pull-door elevator. (Who wanted to climb to the third story ballroom in heels and a ball gown?!?) I was a bit sad to hear she had passed, but i believe a life lived doing what one loves is something to be celebrated, not mourned.

    So, Andrew, to the super rich kids to door to door trick or treating?? I don't get kids here. The houses are too far apart.

  7. You know, WooPak, the first year I worked here I figured there wouldn't be any trick or treaters in this gated/guarded community.

    But the fun thing that happens every year is that every vendor and contractor in town that serves these communities all have the gate codes, and flood the neighborhood with all their children. Ha! Such a delight!

    Otherwise, Halloween would be a total bust around here!