Friday, January 21, 2011

Oh, She's Harmless

I have come to the conclusion I am the last member of my garden club who has a full time job. Let me correct that - who has a job period. And, those who worked at one time obviously have no memory whatsoever about the trials and tribulations of trying to balance a career and any sense of life. This all came to mind last week.

A member of our club was obessessing over our monthly meeting. Now, let me give you some background on our garden club. We gave up being a member of the National Federation of Garden Clubs years ago - we found there were way too many guidelines. 

Next we stopped having flower shows. We found these fairly stressful and, personally, we liked the way we arranged flowers and found the "official" judges difficult.  Why go to the trouble to make an arrangement only to be told (in detail) how it failed to meet the "artistic requirements" of a perfect arrangement?  If it looks good on my dining room table - so be it. (Not that I have a dining room anymore anyway.) Basically we are a group of ladies who enjoy getting together once a month and a garden club is as good an excuse as any.

This particular member, however, took her job as hostess to an excess. I received email after email with lists and memos of assignments of duties starting five months prior to the meeting. I kept assuring her that everything would be OK, I would get my part done, and she needed to settle down. Then she started calling my mother when she couldn't get in touch with me. Mama thought it was funny. (Easy for her to say, she was just an observer to this circus.) 

While we were setting up (five days in advance) she looked at me and said, "I just don't understand how you can just be so nonchalant about hosting this. There are so many things that can go wrong." "I can assure you everything will be OK. If there is some issue, we can just deal with it." "Easy for you to say. I just worry about every detail." No duh! "Well, let's put it this way, I'm willing to have a dinner party, try a new recipe, and if I burn it, just let that be the talk at the dinner table." She looked at me in horror. I realized at that point she would most likely not be able to sleep that night thinking about my serving  that burned dinner.

My mother continued to laugh at me. "She's harmless. Don't let her get to you. She just doesn't have anything else to do with her time."  So I tried to lie low, check my assigned duties off the list, and remember my mother's wise words.

As I continued to get calls, "Are you sure all the members were contacted about the meeting?" "Have you checked with the speaker to make sure he is coming?" I just appealed to my mother for consolation. Her answer was always, "Don't mind her, she's harmless." So I forged ahead, knowing I had done my part and that the show would go on.

Then my mother called. "You will not believe what she has done." (Referring to our fellow garden club member.) "She had the gall to call me and ask if I had enough heat." " Do what?" "She said she had ridden through our neighborhood and just thought since I lived in such a small house, I might not have adequate heat, so she was going to call you to make sure you were aware of the situation." "Oh, don't worry about her, she's harmless." "Oh, you're funny." "Besides, if she calls me, I'll tell her I don't have time to worry about you and your heat because of my responsibilities hosting the garden club,and suggest she call the welfare department.  Maybe that will occupy her attention so she'll me alone."

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