Friday, June 3, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance and Meatballs

June heralds a special period in my little town. No, not summer (that lasts for exactly 9 days in late July). Not road construction time (that's May-November). June marks the traditional beginning of open house season.

Areas rendered in pink
indicate communities
that prefer
Michigan Open House Customs
Here's what you can expect if someone invites you to an open house:
  • A high school graduate who looks annoyed at being at his or her own party
  • A beautifully clean garage with tables full of food
  • Paint cans, weed whackers, bottles full of motor oil, and other junk crammed into a locked basement
  • Mystery relatives
  • Cocktail meatballs in chili sauce and grape jelly
Six Open House Do's For Moms
1) DO display embarrassing photos of your graduate. This serves a dual purpose. It's fun for you, and it will drive your kid out of the house sooner. 

2) DO have an open bar. When someone passes out, you can fetch the permanent markers and keep the little ones busy with a round of "Tattoo Parlor."

3) DO plan major renovations for May. Dealing with invitations, commencement, food, a surly teenager, and the looming specter of your emptying nest is not enough. 

4) DO start the day with a nice mimosa.
4a) Continue as directed by a physician.

5) DO have a list of chores ready for each member of your family. If they dawdle, start mixing large quantities of Red Bull with injectable B12.

6) DO rent a dumpster. Anything lying on the ground the next day gets thrown away. Hint: wake up "Tattoo Parlor" patrons before applying this rule.

Six Tips for Grads
7) DO NOT coordinate party dates with your friends. This will limit attendance and embarrassment.

8) DO NOT forget to pick up your slightly delusional one legged grandmother. DO check her O2 tank to make sure she has enough to last the duration of the party, or until she hops back to the center.

Ceiling mildew,
dead moth,
or your spirit,
9) DO NOT crack jokes about the mildew in the bathroom being a fun inkblot test for Grandpa. Your mother has lost her sense of humor.

10) DO NOT ask why you have to wash the floor when people are just going to walk on it anyway (see above).

11) DO hide all cash, car keys, collectible train sets, and tools. Free food attracts all sorts of unsavory family members. This mature thinking will go a long way toward repairing the damage you've caused in points nine and ten.

12) DO push food on everyone. You don't want to eat this stuff all summer.

Savvy Advice for Open House Guests
13) DO ask the graduate about future plans. Guffaw.

14) DO let your preschooler have free reign over the dessert table. Yes, red velvet cake will stain, but hey, those aren't your drapes.

15) No meal planned for the next day? DO show up late. Act surprised when they offer you leftovers, and marvel at the coincidence: your purse is full of Tupperware. 

Congratulations, graduates. Enjoy your mostaccioli, and have a meatball for me.

This is my second collaborative post. You can read the first, on writing your own biography blurb, by clicking here. Thanks to Jennifer B., Lisa B., Shawn B., Tina C., Pam C., Connie D., Kathleen R., Dean S., and Kimberly T.  for the clever conversation.


  1. I am sooooooooo glad I had swallowed my mouthful of tea when I got to #15!

  2. Glad you liked it, usbornetheresa. See you on the party circuit ;).