Saturday we throw what is easily the largest party we’ve ever thrown: A big open house for our new house. We each invited many of our cow-orkers, as well as friends and our new neighbors. I think we invited about 130 people, and including kids and significant others I bet we had about 80 show up (probably around a 40% return rate, since many who showed up were not direct invitees). Fortunately they didn’t show up all at once, since I don’t think we could have handled that! Rather they were spread out between 1 and 7 pm, with the last few taking off around 7:45.
We were pleased to get nice weather, especially after the heat wave we had early last week, as we planned to shunt many of the kids out to the back yard to play, which worked out well. (The only casualty was my hummingbird feeder which broke when a large ball got kicked into it at high speed. I had actually been thinking of replacing it anyway, so not a big deal.)
Before people showed up we locked the cats in the guest room (Roulette yowled vigorously when we caught her to throw her in.) I put up a “Do Not Enter – Cats Inside!” sign, along with a full-size photo of what the room looked like that morning before we threw them in, so people could get an idea of what the room looked like. Locking the cats away meant we could open the front and back doors without worrying about them escaping outside (which in turn meant no doorbells going off every few minutes to upset the cats).
Then we gave many, many tours of the house, which got the hoped-for sounds of appreciation. The seller/builder showed up with his brothers and their wives and he showed them around, and our agent showed up too to see what we’d done with the place. We had three neighbors stop in, including the fellow across the street whom we’ve gotten to know and his wife whom Debbi described as “a hoot”. We’d hoped & expected to get a few more neighbors, but perhaps many were busy on a Saturday afternoon at the end of June. (We did partly invite them just so they’d know we were having the party and wouldn’t be surprised that our guests used so much local parking, but we wanted to meet some, too!)
We used Evite for the invitations, as we usually do, but we had the odd experience this time of not only having some folks show up who hadn’t RSVPed (which always happens), but having some folks who up whom Evite claimed hadn’t even viewed the invitation, which must be some sort of an Evite glitch. The last time I used Evite I got some feedback that it was quaint that someone was still using that site, but it’s always worked for me. If it’s starting to head south, it may be time to find another invitation site for future parties.
For food we served snacks, but Debbi also made three wine bottles’ worth of sangria, which was almost completely gone by the end of the day. The hummus went over really well, too.
I was happy that my friend Rob showed up, as I hadn’t seen him since his housewarming party last year. He brought his three kids, the youngest of whom loved our stuffed animals (Sam, my giant stuffed sea turtle, went over really well with the 3-and-under kids). I think I’ve known Rob longer than anyone else other than my family, and it’s always good to see him. Even though we don’t have hordes of interests in common as we did in junior high, it always seems like we get along just as good as ever.
We let the cats out when there are only a few people left, but only Newton had the remotest interest in coming down to check things out. (Newton had spent much of the afternoon sitting in the window watching people run around in the yard.) The other two came down once everyone was gone and we were cleaning up.
It was a lot of fun, but also a long time to be standing on my feet. I switched from sandals to slippers part-way through, and then to bare feet not long after that. By 9:30 at night I was falling asleep on the couch, so we called it an early night, and a successful party. (But going to bed early meant we got up early enough to beat the Sunday brunch rush at Country Gourmet!)
Debbi’s now talking about doing this every year! Well, maybe by next June we’ll be completely unpacked.