I was going to call this post "Memorial Day BBQ" but I decided instead to post about connections. Today we hosted a Memorial Day BBQ, and what struck me most was how something unexpected causes a wild series of events. My best friend Heather and her husband Brad initially met at DH's Memorial Day Weekend BBQ 4 years ago. They were the last ones to leave, and after everyone else had gone, my friend Laurie and her boyfriend Jeff stopped by to say hello on their way back into town. During their short stay, we started discussing how we were all connected, and the crazy series of events that had brought us all together.
Back in 2001, I got a phone call from my mom. She ran into a neighbor who had a cousin, Suzanne, who was also an attorney and moving to the area. The neighbor wanted to know if she could give Suzanne my phone number to help her with her job search in the area. I agreed, and a week later, I got a phone call from Suzanne. She seemed nice enough, and when she moved here, we met for dinner to meet in person. We did not exactly click, but I made it a point to go out with her once a month. A few months later, Suzanne and I had plans to go see a movie. She asked me if I minded if she brought another friend with us. Naturally, I agreed, and that is how I met Heather. We bonded instantly. Over the next years, our friendship grew.
In 2003, Heather hosted a Pampered Chef Party. I really hate going to things like that, but I went to support my friend. Laurie and Heather had been roommmates freshman year in college, and recently reconnected by chance when Heather spotted Laurie after she ran a marathon. While at the Pampered Chef Party, I ended up bonding with Laurie (we'd previously met once or twice in passing, but never really had a chance to talk before this party). Basically, Laurie and I were making fun of all the crazy people at the party who were SOOO excited about waking up early to chop chicken with their Pampered Chef products. We just laughed and laughed that night, and we exchanged numbers to hang out in the future. Laurie, Heather and I started spending time together, and a few months later, Laurie and I bonded again at a game party Heather threw. You see, we were being spoilsports - we did not want to play any of the games, so instead we mocked everyone. Our friendship was solidified! We went out together on New Year's Eve, and we quickly became inseparable.
Laurie and I were constantly making bets. When she lost, I made her do things like go out on a date with a bald guy to prove to her that bald guys were dateable. When I lost, she dragged my butt to a singles event - like she did on Valentine's Day 2004. That event was HORRIBLE. We walked into the room, and it felt like we were meat thrown into a lion's den. Someday, I'll have to rant about that night, but it was crazy awful. While we were at the event, a group of guys that Laurie recognized arrived. One of them was Dave . . . whom I *briefly* dated before we became friends. Through Dave, I met another friend, Jessica (he brought her to Heather's birthday party - yet another funny story worth hearing sometime!). Through Jessica, I met Bill, and in 2005, I met DH when Jessica and I went to Bill's Superbowl party. A few months later, Heather met her husband Brad at DH's Memorial Day BBQ (Brad came with his girlfriend at the time), although they did not start dating until they reconnected 3 months later through an online dating service. Through Dave, I also became friends with Niki (who happened to meet and marry a guy I graduated high school with) and her brother Sam. Through Niki and Sam, I met Sam's best friend Jeff. I introduced Jeff and Laurie, and now they are dating, too. And, in case you are interested, I helped Dave find and win the heart of his wife, Jen, too! So . . . from a polite request from a family neighbor, I now have three amazing friends (Heather, Niki, and Laurie), and Heather, Dave and I met our spouses, and Laurie is now in a steady relationship. Funny how one little thing that does not seem so important can change an entire course of events, huh?
Now . . . on to my original post about the BBQ. Let's start with the backstory about how we finally decided to host a Memorial Day BBQ on Monday this year. You'll have to tell me if all of you women have husbands as thickheaded and frustrating as mine!
My husband has a tradition of hosting BBQs all summer/fall on the Friday evening of every holiday weekend . . . Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, etc. He usually hosts a few others in there, and does a few special BBQs for Sukkot in the Fall (a Jewish holiday that celebrates the harvest by building a sukkah - a shelter with an open top to eat outside under the sun and stars). For the past two years, DH has been unable to host most of his BBQs because we had moved into my condo and put everything into storage so that we could renovate his house. The renovations were supposed to be completed in time for Memorial Day last year so we could host a BBQ. And then we were promised July 4th. And then Labor Day. And then Columbus Day. And then Sukkot. As you can tell, the renovations are STILL not finished, but we moved in anyway in November. Unfortunately, we never got to host any BBQs last summer.
For Valentine's this year, I bought DH a brand new grill. His other grill had seen better days. We got a beautiful fancy grill with 5 burners, a warming burning on the side, and an oven! He has been itching to fire up the grill for months now. About 3 or 4 weeks ago, I started asking DH about the annual BBQ. I asked him if he was planning to do it, I suggested he send out invitations early, and I stated that perhaps Friday night was no longer the best time to have a BBQ. I proposed that we host the BBQ on Saturday or Sunday late afternoon, because I figured that families with children could come early and get home in time for bed, and our other friends could hang out until all hours of the night. DH kept thinking we should do 2 BBQs - one on Friday night, and one on Monday. I felt that was a bad idea because I did not want to have to prepare, setup and cleanup 2x. I told DH to think about it, make a decision, and let me know.
Fast forward to date night on Thursday. DH looks at me and says "Are we still on for a BBQ tomorrow?" I looked at him and told him it was too last minute to do it on Friday night, no one would come, and it did not give me enough time to prepare! I also said to him it would be a problem for all of our friends with children if we just did a BBQ on Friday night starting at 8. He looked at me like I just spoke Greek to him. I swear, sometimes he acts like the fact we now have a young child is supposed to have no impact on his life and how he does things!! We went through the whole conversation again, and then he told me it was my fault he had not invited anyone because I had been dragging my feet about the whole thing. Once I worked through my anger (and elicited an apology) he finally decided to invite everyone over for Monday evening. I voted for Sunday (and lost) because I thought that people would need to be back at work on Tuesday, but DH went with Monday. He sent out the invitation around 11:30 pm on Thursday night. Not surprisingly, I expected the turnout to be rather low.
We got about 13 responses (about 26 people), and we told them to come rain or shine. Naturally, it started to rain today right about 3:30. A few people decided not to come because of the rain, but we were getting nervous about moving the party inside. We had no idea whether the rain would bring more people or keep people from showing. In the end, we had about 40 or 50 people here!! It was quite crowded in our small house. DH cooked chicken, burgers, dogs, and grilled veggies. I made pasta salad and potato salad. People brought chips and salsa and fruit and cookies. We had a zillion children here! Three ladies from my playgroup showed up with their husbands and babies, and we had about 10 other older children here, ranging in age from 9 months to 7 years.
Micah was such a good boy. He hung out on the playmat with the other babies, and they practiced rolling and kicking and grabbing toys. He started to get fussy after 5:30 whenever I got out of sight, but he was just so good! Even the dog was behaving (there were so many babies to kiss!!) I nursed Micah at 6, and he took a nap. I went up and checked on him a bunch of times, and around 6:30, he was awake and crying. I brought him back downstairs, and he was still fussing a bit. A little after 7, we gave him his medicine and DH put him to bed . . . which was the same time all the other families with babies started disappearing. The witching hour hit, and the babies needed to go home!
On a side note . . . one of the kids was eating Cheerios at some point tonight, and apparently some fell on the floor under the chair in the living room. The dog is currently playing the role of a Hoover, and desperately trying to get ALL the Cheerios out from under the chair and into her belly.
All in all, it was a successful evening. We had a chance to catch up with some friends, eat good food, and show off our house. I am looking forward to our next bbq (but hope it doesn't rain again). Poor DH barely got to speak to anyone - he was outside while everyone congregated inside. Luckily, the rain let up for most of the time he was grilling.
Just for good measure - here is a picture of Micah today in his outfit for the party. His hair was standing on end, but I decided to leave it because it made me laugh! What do you think?
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