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Let me preface this by saying that all this started when I received an invitation from a neighbor to attend a bridal brunch for her daughter who was getting married in May. Like a good invitee, I RSVP’d and also mentioned that “if there was anything I can do, please do not hesitate to let me know”.

She indicated that Mrs. A and Mrs. B had volunteered to do the token table gifts for each attendee and would welcome the additional help! She had sent out over 120 invitations but was looking at a number of 100 who she expected to be there and my assistance would be well received. Dutifully, I contacted the two ladies, who indeed seemed thrilled by another pair of hands, and we agreed to get together “soon” to coordinate the arrangements. They felt that a candle in a glass holder with “cupid” stickers attached and bound up in netting and ribbon would be the ideal offering. Sounded good to me and we were off to the races!

Time was slipping by and each time I made the effort to get us together I was met with more excuses than those offered up by A-Rod! Gym, hairdresser, doctor appointments, food shopping, guests, babysitting, cable man, nail salons, after school programs, the weather, all stood in the way of nailing this baby down. Time was running short and I offered to pick up the supplies at least which was greeted with a resounding “yes” by these two overbooked ladies. So off I set with another friend which ended up at a craft shop where I purchased the necessary supplies to get us going. And there they sat in my dining room for almost a week.

By Friday I was frantic and knew we had to get down to business so I called Mrs. A and Mrs. B in the hopes of carving out some time get this thing rolling. They each offered up an hour or so come Saturday but in the meantime one did volunteer the services of her 15 year old daughter. I accepted.

The Teenager arrived on Saturday evening at 7pm, equipped with an attitude and a cellphone! She spent most of the next 3 hours “texting”. Mrs. A and Mrs. B made an appearance and stayed for a full hour while I cut, pasted, and tied bows. By 10pm I sent The Teenager home, fearful that the constant texting had all but exhausted her and would bring on a case of carpal tunnel. I ended up with the finished product by 1am.

After boxing up the candles and glass holders, I left for the banquet room with just enough time to spare for placing each by the plate of the expected guest. Upon entering I encountered the Wedding Planner who watched with beady eyes as I made several trips back and forth to the car while she kept a trained eye on my movements.

She advised me that there were 12 tables sitting 8 each and I was to place one at every plate. She then followed me from table to table, repeating the number 8. At one point I was tempted to do my impression of Trigger by stomping my foot 8 times on the floor to let her know I could count on my own and in fact had been doing it for years.  But I digress.

At this point the room was filling up and the Bridal Party made an entrance to the sounds of clapping and cheering which just happened to coincide with one of the staff bringing in a large punchbowl of Mimosas! I immediately did an execution and made a beeline straight for the bowl.  My new best friend!

Brunch was served and just before the Main Attraction, the opening of the gifts, the Wedding Planner was once again at my side asking if I would like to assist in handing the gifts to the bridesmaids at the head table, thus ensuring a more rapid delivery.  I instantly agreed since there were at least 100 in attendance which indicated an equal number of gifts, and as I wished to be gone before the 6pm news, I thought this made sense. I took my place and dipped the ladle into my 2nd or 3rd Mimosa.

I handed the gifts off to the bridesmaid with speed. In fact, I felt like I was breaking the record of a Fedex courier in my haste. At one point I even considered heaving the gifts at the head table but thought better of it when the next gift I chose had the heft of a WMD.  However, there were two kids seated at the head table who were apparently the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer. They looked to be about 4 and 5 yrs of age and as the gift giving went on they wanted a piece of the action.  So someone suggested they be allowed to open a gift or two which led to a lot of pushing, shoving, screaming, whining, bawling, and the like. Again I was tempted to suggest that since it was such a nice day perhaps they could go to the parking lot and play dodge’em cars but instead I reached over and ladled myself another cup of Mimosa. It was about here that I began to lose count.

Eventually the last gift was opened and the bride- to- be took up the microphone for a word of thanks. She thanked her family, her attendants, the Wedding Planner,  her mother, his mother, the attendees, the staff, the chef and the baker. She then asked that Mrs. A, Mrs. B, and The Teenager (still texting by the way) to stand so that she could properly thank them for all their efforts. It was here that my face must have taken on the slack jaw expression of Chris from “Family Guy”!  They stood and wigwagged fingers while the bride-to-be blew kisses back. All their efforts? ??  I dipped the ladle once more and caught the eye of the Wedding Planner who was watching me like a hawk. She reminded of Clifton Webb at that moment for some reason which escapes me now.
I made my way to my table to retrieve my things when the bride then announced, somewhat shamefacedly, that she also meant “to thank Mrs. Johnson too”.   I managed to smile that crooked smile so often seen on the faces of cartoon characters.  The Teenager meanwhile was busy shoving two candles into her bag. One of them would have been mine.

Driving home I made a promise to myself. Never again would I string the words “if there is anything I can do, please do not hesitate to let me know”.  It was over.   Done.  Finished.  My volunteer days have come to a close. And I have every intention of honoring that resolve.

But that could all change depending upon the size of the punchbowl! I love my Vitamin C!

65 Responses

  1. {{Pat}} You made me feel like I was there with you (just watching) every step of the way. Are you saying that these people had a Wedding Planner and still put their friends to work?

    Make sure you’re out of town for the first baby shower….

    • Apparently everybody has a “Wedding Planner” these days. I have to admit she did do a terrific job with the brunch venue. But she was rather intimidating. Like a Marine.

      • {{{Pat}}} 😆 Been there done that kind of thing and know EXACTLY how you feel – this is great – you really got us all in there with you – step by step!

  2. This is hilarious. Pat, you could be a new Emma Bombeck for the 21st century!

  3. Hilarious! Thanks for the smile to start my day!

    • tucsonlynn — I keep missing you and haven’t said how much I like seeing you here again! I’ve missed your comments.

      • katiebird,
        Thanks, I am here every day, all day. I just don’t comment cause, why waste space? You all say everything so much better!
        And since I did stop commenting, it seemed as if I would be crashing a party to get back into it, but heck, maybe I will.

        • Please do! There’s no such thing as anyone saying something better than anyone else. We’ve all got our own voice. I was really excited when I heard yours again.

        • We like to know who is here! The more the merrier.

  4. Pat, I am LOVING your posts. I’m so glad you have taken this up.


  5. I have always enjoyed reading your posts on the Confluence, but this is absolutely THE BEST. I hope you continue, we really need the humor in our lives to survive the next 4 years.

  6. Dear Pat, No good deed goes unpunished.

  7. Delurking, while laughing! Pat, you have a gift for making a situation come alive. And you remember Clifton Webb too – how perfect as a description!
    I remember well times in the past similar to this – don’t do it anymore, no way, no how. I do hope the mimosas were decent! Thanks for giving me a great belly laugh!

  8. Fun post, Pat!
    I’m sorry you were treated so shabbily.
    Two Quotes come to mind:
    “No good deed goes unpunished.”
    Clair Booth Luce
    “If you want to get something done, ask a busy woman.”

  9. The second quote is from HRC, of course.

  10. Terrific story!


    Boo, Boo, Boo to your neighbor and her daughter!

    Love your post; it’s very refreshing and funny. For someone trying to de-stress, this is the perfect antidote for it.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sm — I didn’t get a chance to comment on your post, that is rant, which I loved, just let it fly sista… whoo hoo … but so sorry to hear about all the difficulties (and downright BS) you have been going through

      Just something to offer you — I was going through some major probs a few years ago (injury at work) and other BS, and I found Hayhouse radio, which has streaming and archives you can access for free. Colette Baron-Reid has some of the most powerful meditations on her website that not only helped with my stress, I also felt rejuvenated and empowered. Plus she has some beautiful music for female inspiration.


      Also, some cheap things to help with your gastritis — probiotics (Nature’s Bounty (sold at drugstores like Walgreens) has a Chewable Acidophilus with Bifidus, Activia (primarily has bifido bacterium), Lemon water mixed with juice of one lemon every day, digestive enzymes, and saltine crackers will help soothe it, pineapples have great digestive enzymes in it too. Also rubbing your abdomen with sesame/lavender oil with soothe it too. If you are having gall bladder issues, definitely increase your essential fatty acids (fish oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil); fish oil and flaxseed oil can be purchased through NatureMade (also a drugstore find, which every couple of weeks have a buy one get one free).

      Just wanted to share some remedies that our cost effective since I was battling trying to use natural health remedies on a very low budget.

      email me at chklaver@yahoo.com if you need any more suggestions. It’s a front email and I’ll get back to you through my real email address. 🙂

  12. I really should add that the mother and the bride- to- be are very nice people and this really had no bearing on them. But Mrs. A and Mrs. B, not so much. They must have seen me coming!

  13. Pat, been there done that, but I am not as nice as you are. Also gave a sex manual to a bride at a shower held in a church because her mother is a not nice person. The bride thought it was hilarious as her mother turned purple.

  14. I know exactly what you’re feeling!!
    My husband and I made a similar mistake of volunteering to help some friends move. When we showed up, thinking that they would have (at the very least) boxed up some of their belongings, nothing had been done. Not a curtain had come down. Not a cupboard unloaded.
    We thought that we would be done by mid-morning when we had agreed. We didn’t get done until after midnight. Never again! We even had to go and round up some boxes, tape, etc.
    After that day and our lesson learned, we offer up our services with a set time/date/hours we are available.

    • Pretty much sounds like my ex sister in law. Whenever she was near a chair her ass fainted into it.

  15. Yeah, ditto what Kbird said – they hired a wedding planner and this was their job, not yours.

  16. Pat , great post! OMG how many times have I seen such things, but never so well described! I also see you have learned your lesson about offering help When one is a helpful person, it’s dangerous.! I wonder who alerted the bride she needed to thank another. That wedding planner has seen it before I’m thinking and knows the person hustling to actually DO something , has to be watched in case of righteous blow up. lol! You are a trooper!

  17. Pat, this is a great post! I think most of us have “been there, done that” at one time or another but were unable to document it as well, or a humorously as you did.

    Alls well that ends with Mimosas!

    (And you know you will be suckered in again Pat. You will because you, unlike Mrs. A and Mrs. B are a really nice person with a genuine desire to help.)

  18. PJ: I’m so happy that you are writing here. Humorous stories can be hard to write and you’ve done a perfect job. It’s so nice to start the morning off with a laugh!

  19. A mimosa or two makes everything better. . . much better.

    I started a mom’s mimosa group. We are called the Eleventhirty Club becasue that’s the time the “meetings” start. Boy do we have fun!

  20. I’m a botanist by training so when I saw the title I thought, “Ha, must read that one, it’ll be interesting.”

    Well, it was interesting, and hilarious. (The picture tipped me off pretty quick that this wasn’t about the genus Mimosa 😀 ) But the whole time I was reading and laughing, I was also thinking, “This was so-o Not Funny at the time!”

    • It wasn’t, believe me. Especially when I knew we had only a few days to go before the event and the two “overachievers” could not make time to get it done. Panic time!

  21. Loved the teenager who walked away with both candles…


  22. Is Clifton Webb the guy in “Laura”, (one of my favorite movies).

    Puget Island Girl and Pat: I was in a group that we called The NSO Club, it stood for “no significant other”. Every other Sunday, we had a brunch complete with mimosa’s. It was all great, until I found myself in Walmart on a rainy afternoon, tipsy as hell and buying all sorts of unnecessary crap. I miss that group.

    • He was in Laura among many others, but Pat’s situation reminds me more of his Mr Belvedere movies.

  23. I am so old. I remember when wedding planners all had the same name: Mom.

  24. Clifton Webb always played the supercilious character. The Wedding Planner had that same affectation.

  25. He was certainly supercilious in Laura.

  26. PAT – you got mail!

  27. Pat
    Minosas can get you through anything.
    I can completely understand your feelings.
    Been there, done that, do no want the tee shirt.
    Again cheesecake filled chocolate covered strawberrys for you.
    They go great with minosas.



  28. Wow. I had to quit volunteering, because my dignity just couldn’t take it. I’d go and help out at for a good cause, get there early, leave late, work my heart out, and get treated like absolute shit for my contribution. This happened over and over, including working on HRC’s campaign. I’ve now discovered that the only way to ensure that volunteers get treated properly is to be at the top of the ladder. You basically have to be President of the Board in order to not get treated like shit (and even then you still do).

    As a grad student, my time and energy are worth a hell of a lot more than my money (scarce though it is). I wish ANYONE would understand that (especially my profs).

  29. Hope everyone watches SOD’s contribution


  30. ohmfg Pat
    send those people a bill fercrissake.

    ps the *trigger* comment made me laugh so hard I choked on my salad and now have vinegar up my nose!

    pps the Northeast Puma meetup was so incredible and fabulous-what a great bunch of women.
    their energy and dedication was so uplifting.
    there is talk of a monthly get together…

    • Tell more about the meeting – when, where, who was there, what did you all talk about?

  31. Pat
    just after reading your post I got an e-mail with this story.
    if ADAM my computer lets this work
    If was so perfect for your story




  32. I quit Adam IS FIRED

  33. I know the feeling. I stopped volunteering at walkathons for the same kind of reasoning.

    Now I only have to deal with CERTAIN relatives who “invite” me for occasions involving gifts. Curiously, these same relatives rarely invite for occasions that don’t involve giving gifts (family parties, etc).

  34. PAT
    if you can find it because ADAM is fired
    the story is called Magnolias by Edna Ellison.



  35. Great story, Pat. I’m glad you got “volunteered” to write here.

  36. I never volunteer, or attend, anything that has to do with babies, presents, bridesmaids dresses, inlaws, yadayada. I just send a check and a note, “so sorry, not available, all my love and blessings”. Thank You Pat for letting me know that my paranoia about these things was well placed!

  37. This reminded me of an incident from long ago. A friend and I decided to plan a picnic and each of us would invite several of our friends and share in the food and fun. We picked a date two weeks out and agreed to get together soon to plan the details, etc. Every time I asked her to get together for the planning of the picnic, she had some excuse: She was busy with homework, she was busy with family, someone died and she had to go to their house, a wedding, a hospital, visit someone, someone from out of town was coming in, on and on, and the two weeks were flying by. EVerytime I mentioned it she would become increasingly upset. I wanted to get this thing organized as I too had some things to take care of in my own life. I finally realized this picnic was going to be on her terms only. A day before the picnic date she “granted” me a discussion and we had to scurry around getting the food and favors. I could have done the whole thing myself but she insisted she wanted to be involved. The day of the picnic, it poured cats and dogs and we could not go outside. We had the picnic indoors at my friend’s house. It was fun, but I decided never to plan anything as co-hostesses with anyone again. AND I NEVER HAVE!!!

  38. Pat, great writing and story! How many times we offer help and get shafted with the work and lack of thanks….

    Looking forward to more 😉

  39. Pat, you had such impeccable manners throughout all that! I sure couldn’t have. (Those mimosas must have helped at the end!) I hate big social functions — got married by a JP to escape that sort of thing. Which somehow earned me the undying dislike of some of my in-laws for that, lol.

  40. “Mim Mosas you are a friend of mine!”

    LOL, thanks for such a wonderful, funny and a tad bittersweet essay/story/post, whatever it is, it’s great!

    It’s so frustrating to be the grown-up in the grown up of the group.

    • I was laughing and didn’t proof read, meant to write:

      “It’s so frustrating to be the grown-up of the group”

      I was struggling with whether or not to hyphenate “grown-up” And “in” vs “of”, OMG I feel Clifton Webb’s stare about now…:-)

  41. I’m a guy…should I have enjoyed this post as much as I did?


    Pat, bang up job! 🙂

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