Sunday, June 5, 2011

Buy Vs Build

I've got lessons coming at me from all sides these days. I must be in a "willing and accepting" state of mind at the rate things are appearing. Just yesterday, for example, were two prime lessons that I needed to either learn or be reminded of. First, the buy versus build lesson. Pebbles asked me to make some mini corn muffins for her shindig on Saturday. No problem, I said. How many? She said enough to feed thirty people. Again, with the no problem. I decided that 9 boxes of Jiffy mix would suffice. What I didn't figure on were the logistics of actually cooking these puppies. Oh, and the fact that I had ONE mini muffin pan that at capacity used 1/2 a box of batter.

So the decision becomes - do I stop production and go buy three more muffin tins? Who needs four mini muffin tins? Not me, so I call her and ask if I can do regular size. No problem. So I decide that I can mix up more batter and bake both minis and regulars at the same time. Except, well, no. My regular muffin tin won't fit with the silicone muffin tin that must sit on the only cookie sheet that I have. Cut to the chase - I spent THREE hours baking mini muffins on Saturday morning. I only baked up seven of the boxes and still over-made by a long shot. The good news is that I went out into the herb garden and made several batches with lemon thyme. Lemon thyme is a wonderful addition to corn muffins. I would have been much happier to have purchased the muffins ready made. Lesson learned.

Lesson Number Two: things work out, mostly. I show up at Pebbles' house an hour later than anticipated (see above muffin story) to find her house in absolute disarray. I mean, my jaw hit the floor! She had guests coming in about three hours and there were boxes stacked to the ceiling, nothing ready for this party to show off their new house. Except for the 90 pounds of crawfish in the kitchen! But I said nothing, as it wasn't my party. I just asked what she needed me to do and I did it. Not with a sense of urgency, but with a deliberate focus on my singular assigned task. And everything got done. If not perfectly, then certainly good enough. She wasn't panicked. He wasn't panicked. And I didn't charge in, clutch my pearls and begin to gnash my teeth and wail about how this would never work. This is a life lesson that I need to remember.

And I need to remember both of these lessons on Wednesday, when I'm having 20 people over for a quick birthday party and house-peek. I've given up making the snackies, and I'm going to order them today, to be available for pick up on Wednesday afternoon. I'll just keep simplifying this until I get it down to the perfect balance of "nice enough" and "I can enjoy it". I'll spend my energies doing the things that I want to do.

First up, I'm creating a "herb station" for Wednesday. I'm going to get a basket, some baggies, a sharpie and some garden shears, along with a note to "help yourself to some herbs" as a party favor. Today, I'm going to go find some garden tags to get things labeled.

Got another surprise from the Collinwood-Smythe House's owner, once removed. She sent me a long letter, outlining the renovations she had made to the interior, along with about forty pictures of the place, renovations in progress. How cool is that? I'll set those out on Wednesday for party perusal.

And I found out a little background on Jimmie Dale this morning. Jimmie Dale originally belonged to the CSH owner, along with Jimmie Dale's brother, Cottonwood. However, Cotton was mean to Jimmie Dale, so the neighbor across the street adopted her. Jimmie Dale, however, still loved her prior owner's early morning hours (she got up at 4am) and so Jimmie Dale was delighted to see me stirring around at such early hours! So Marlie (my neighbor) and I have agreed to continue the joint custody arrangement with Jimmie Dale (whose real name is Sister (how dull is that?)). These people need me to help with the naming of things.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Buy.



  1. I love how cats can have multiple "owners". Sounds like you are learning the art of entertaining where you can enjoy yourself. Have fun in your new house!

  2. Must be the season for garden parties. I'm going to a ladies garden party on Tuesday where we all wear blue in honor of the blooming hydrangeas and bring healthy food on pretty dishes. Chandeliers hanging from oak trees, blue hydrangeas blooming, strolling about in the garden. Fun to be a girl. You might want to precut some of those herbs or folks might ruin some of the more delicate plants...but that is a great idea. Yeah! for Jimmy Dale.

  3. LOVE that you let Pebbles and Slater do the party in their fashion - takes a lot for a parent to recognize and let go, especially when you see things not at all like you would do them!

    How fun that you are now pretty much officially part-owner of Jimmy Dale. It was meant to be...:)

    Love the herb station idea for party favors. You have the neatest ideas, and I'm sure it will be a memorable party for your guests (and you!).

  4. I adore your writing voice.


  5. Being the parent of grown up children is sometimes harder than being the parent of little children. I think the Jimmy Dale co-ownership arrangement is spectacular! A pet without 100% of the responsibility!


We'll try this for a while.