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The Price of A Garden Party

The price for volunteering can be well… High.  Somehow, I had forgotten. You see, I was asked to decorate one of 6 tables for our annual Garden party and I said “Sure! I’ve Flowery plates, bright colored napkins. I’ll just toss some wine glasses up there and roll with it.

Easy. Peasey, right?

The rolling with it ended up not rolling so well….

For starters, I cannot and will not EVER just throw something together. I’m a planner. Which is why I showed up to decorate four days early – and was sadly sent away. “The landscapers need time to put the back drop in, they’re bringing in massive trees! Your table is right in their path. You can’t decorate yet! Wait until the day of the benefit, then you can come back!”

So I left and came back the minute they opened the doors Thursday morning.

The first thing I noticed was:

The were no trees whatsoever.

I panicked. “But sir!” I pleaded! You had all week to put up those trees. I need time to decorate my table. I don’t know what I’m going to do for my center piece yet! I’m not a designer, I’m a goof who has cute plates. That’s it! I need more time!” I holler at the poor man dragging a dead branch from his tree!

“Don’t worry, Sissie, you’ll have enough time. There are expecting 500 people tonight , I think he just wants the trees to be perfect. It’s ok. Where are your chairs?” Ellie, a designer decorating the table next to me asked.”

Gulp.

“500 people?” I ask as I choke back the vomit in my mouth. “Errrrr ummmm chairs? The email said we could pick from white ones, gold ones or cane colored. So I just figured they would already be here and I could just grab some….”

“Uh oh.” Ellis says. “You had to order the chairs a month ago. I don’t think you can get any this late.”

More panic….. Costing me more years of my life…

“It’s all be alright lil lady. I’m sure you’ll do a fine job. We’ll be outta your way in about 2 hours.” The nice landscaper said.

Gasp! Two hours? Chairs?!?!  500 People?

“And wait a minute!!! You’ve got 5 buckets of flowers from the florist wholesaler. And just how many people are here to help you?!” I asked Ellis.

“Oh just a couple of friends.”

I counted 5 friends there to help Ellis with her 5 buckets of fresh flowers.

Behind me, a mother / daughter team laugh together as they finish their FABULOUS center piece. (Their table was not in the way of the trees.)

Behind them, I watched one of the best floral designers in town put up two of the tables with his team. Evidently, people had hired him to do their table because they were “unavailable.”

I had no team. No chairs. No center pieces. I had no buckets of flowers. No business decorating this table. I looked like a bride who showed up with no wedding dress or better yet, no groom.

But I can explain… I was planning on running by Kroger and grabbing some flowers AFTER my table was set. If my table was ever going to get set……Suddenly, I am totally intimidated, embarrassed and angry. At Myself, mind you. What was I thinking agreeing to do this? I’m no designer, I’m a goofball who loves colors, cooking and shiney wine glasses. I could feel my heart beating as I watched Ellis giggle with her friends; drinking champagne and discussing what they were wearing for the festive event. As I watch them pull out a sterling silver service, I panic a little more – costing a few more years of my

Life. All I had was my TJ Maxx finds.  I fumble out the door. I had to step it up a notch while those landscapers were taking their time putting up those trees. I pull out of the parking lot and out of nowhere a little boy on his bike darts out right in front of me. I slam on the breaks and before I could curse him or even honk my horn, he is gone.

That lil boy cost me 3 more years off my life.

I turn the corner and I kid you not, 3 more boys scoot their bikes out in front of my car. This time I did honk which made me look like a freak because other volunteers were standing outside watching me honk and shake my fist at 3 boys on their bikes. We are outside of a church, mind you.

Uggggggh. Yea. You guessed it…..More years.

I speed over to my friends house who I know owns chairs. Her husband tells me “Wow! Had I known you needed the chairs I woulda brought them down the steps for you. I’m walking out the door for a doctors appt. Sorry.”

Three separate trips down three flights of stairs later, I’ve got chairs. A bit of a workout but worth it.

I stop by my own house for some candlebras, then a silver biscuit box. Next, I grabbed all new wine glasses and five different vases. I headed to the wholesale store  wayyyyyyy across town for white candles but won’t let myself buy flowers, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do for a center piece.  Next, raced back to TJ Maxx for yet another set of glasses ‘just to make sure I had enough.’ I was determined to not be out done and look like the complete idiot I truly am! I call my friend on the way but she doesn’t answer! UGG!!! She’s at work, I remember. I’m wondering if the 24 four year olds would miss her is I ran by and borrowed their teacher?!?! I need a team of 5 like Ellis.! I tell Myself frantically. So I’m tearing down the road, still cursing and costing myself more and more years off my life, and then I look over to my left….

It is another bike.

I’m SO not kidding.

It is baby blue. It has no rider.  It is crumpled under the front of someone’s car. I did not see the rider, only two people trying to get the mangled bike from underneath the car. It did not look promising.

And this is when I stopped.

I stopped worrying about what my table was going to look like. I had cute plates. It is what it is. It’s just was not that big of deal. Calm down, I tell myself.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not a designer. Do your best and move on. Stop racing around town in a total panic taking years off your life because maybe….just maybe in all your panic, that coulda been YOU who hit that boy; possibly taking his life.

And that my friend, was when I realized it just wasn’t worth the cost…

This is Ellis’s table. She had the whole mad hatter theme going on. Look at the succulent plants covering the chairs.   She had chicken wire stuffed with fresh flowers flowing out a silver tea pot. Fresh grass was stuffed in her tea cups topped off with a golf ball. Precious!     These two tables were done by a well known florist. Beautiful. Bet it cost them $$$$$$    Above, This was the mother daughter team. They had 7 containers filled with fresh flowers. They own a design store in town and unlike me, were in and out of there in under 2 hours.  Their center piece was AMAZING!!  And here’s mine. It took me all dern day to get it settled but I walked away pleased. Everything you see here, except the candelabras, are from TJ Maxx. Oh wait … The flowers came from Kroger. 6 bucks. Guess this day didn’t cook me so much after all…IMG_2584-768x1024IMG_2585-768x1024IMG_2586-768x1024IMG_2591-768x1024sissienewIMG_2592-768x1024

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