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No response, even with an RSVP?
December 29, 2009
7:43 pm
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juststartn
South Central Oklahoma
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DH and I are having a New Years Eve party.  We invited 6 couples “officially”,  and one not-officially with a formal invite on paper, just verbal. 

I have heard from ONE of the 6 couples, that they cannot come.  NO ONE else has given me a yay or nay.  One has said “probably”.  Wow.  That's great.  Now I don't have the foggiest idea of how much to cook, who to plan for, or if I should even bother. 

Yes, I am kind of disgruntled, but I am wondering, is this NORMAL?  Do *you* actually call, and RSVP when the number is given?  I've got voice mail–so there isn't a “we couldn't get through” excuse.  To be honest, I'm kind of insulted. Shame on you

I'd call it off, if I had all of their phone numbers.  But I don't.  And I'd be kind of embarrassed, to call them up and say “No one was coming, sorry to bother you with the invite”. No  If I wanted to call it off now, I'd have to go driving around and hunting these folks down, to tell them all. 

So, given that I don't know who, if anyone, is going to show, what should I fix?  I'd planned on a ham, and a bunch of appetizery things.  But honestly, the budget isn't so big I can afford to 'waste” the food, if no one is going to come, by making snacky things that don't reheat well or make a “meal” part.  I've already got the ham, and some of the veggies, as well as the cheese and some of the crackers.  I've got dip mix, and a few of the other things I was going to need. 

I suppose part of me wants to lock the gate that night, put a BIG sign on it that says “PARTY CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF RSVPs”, and leave it at that.  If they want to get upset, fine.  But I can't afford to throw money around.  I was really looking forward to it, too, trying to get to know our neighbors around here a bit better.  But it doesn't seem as if anyone is at all inclined to even bother.

Sorry if this doesn't go in this forum.  I wasn't sure where to put it.

Rachel

December 29, 2009
8:02 pm
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Pete
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We all need to blow off steam from time to time, so it's fine here, since food is involved.  Cool

Assuming it's not clients or business associates for whom entertaining could have positive results down the line, I'd just assume no one is coming, turn out the lights and make other plans.  Those who cannot bother to RSVP should have no expectation of being entertained.  Expense really should have nothing to do with it.

But then, I'm rather hard-nosed about folks not showing up for things like this, having been burned a couple of times myself.  No more!  I always have a back-up plan now – a movie I can go see at the scheduled party time, or an old maiden aunt to visit, or something.

Should anything be said about it down the line, you just look innocent and say, “Oh, had you planned to come?  When you didn't RSVP, I made other plans.”  And flash a big, friendly smile.

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

December 29, 2009
8:03 pm
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Maud
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Rachel, I feel for you.  People don't seem to realize that RSVP has a purpose other than letting the hostess know that she will be graced by the presence of the invitees.  I've called people the day before a party to find out if they're coming or not, and often got a vague “I'm not sure – we'd like to but might not make it” answer.

I finally got tough and if people didn't respond by the date indicated but showed up anyway, I wouldn't have enough to feed them and told them as much at the door.   I'd look very surprised that they were there, and tell them at the door that I'd made only enough for those who responded and I was so very sorry that I couldn't accomodate them but I was sure they'd understand, as they knew that not responding to RSVP was the same as saying 'Thank you so much for inviting us but we can't attend your festivity”.  I'd look mildly embarrassed for them but wouldn't back down, unless I could make them feel embarrassed by saying something like “Oh, I guess the pasta (or whatever) will stretch and John Doe did bring that bottle of wine, so I can open it though it isn't what I'd normally serve with 'dish in question'.”

It's quite possible to be bitchy and correct at the same time, without actually insulting anyone.  Smiling brightly the whole time while looking taken aback helps a lot.

When you make it painless for people to behave badly, you encourage future bad behavior.   By smilingly turning them away or rubbing their noses gently in their bad manners, you will encourage responses to your RSVP.  At the very least, you will be striking a blow for good manners. 

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ~Ambrose Bierce

December 29, 2009
8:18 pm
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juststartn
South Central Oklahoma
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Well, with five small children, and no sitter, there won't *be* any other plans.  This was “it” as far as our New Years festivities.  And we're not “going out” kind of folks anyway, to be honest.  Much more the homebody type.

Worst part is, that since we're out in the boonies–and we are!–I've not made curtains a big priority.  The ones I have up are lace.  And you can see the house from the road.  Clearly.

If I don't hear anything from anyone tomorrow, I'll put a note into the mailbox for our mail lady, to let *her* know (she was our “probably), that we'd not be having the party.  And just hang the doggone sign on the gate. 

And then we'll have a fire and something warm to drink, and a nice time by ourselves.

As frustrating as that is…

Thanks, ladies.  I know I am not alone in my frustration.  Of course, I'm one of those “sticklers”–you give an RSVP number, you let people know yes or no, period.  None of this “well, maaayyybe” baloney.  What, you'll come if there isn't anything better to do?  Please.  Don't insult me, just say “Sorry, we cannot come”.  Or “we'd love to come!  Would you like us to bring anything?”  Just to be considerate and let the hostess KNOW who to plan for.

I was talking to my mother about this, and frankly, she said it is something that has been written about in the local paper (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) in my hometown, about the dearth of responding to an RSVP.  Seems like I am one of a dying breed. For goodness' sake, I'm 35 yrs old, and insist my children write thank you notes.  As a matter of fact, they wrote two each yesterday, two each today, and have two more to write tomorrow.  Maybe I was raised by a mom who insisted on it, maybe it is because I know how hurt *I* feel when people don't acknowledge efforts, or RSVPs, or other things.  I don't do it FOR the thanks, but its sure nice to get it.

Is it a generational thing, or is just cultural, at this point?  I mean, if it is crossing age/generational boundaries (and in this case, all of the couples involved are AT LEAST my parents' age, if not older)…then what on earth is wrong with us, as a people, that we have lost that sense of consideration for others?  Boggles the mind, it really does…

Thanks again…

Rachel

December 29, 2009
8:39 pm
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Maud
Virginia
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I think it's a cultural thing.  Since the mid 60s, we've been taught by the media and the public schools and every psychologist with breath in his/her body that self-expression and personal wants and desires are more important than thoughtfulness to others, which is the foundation of  good manners.   We've been taught that merely attending school is a source of self-esteem and that everyone gets an A for simply breathing.  We are not taught to strive for excellence, nor are we taught to respect ourselves by respecting other people.   Look at 'road rage'.  That's simply bad manners and selfishness using well over 2000 lbs of moving metal to express it.

But I have to say that I'm surprised at the age of your non-RSVPers.  These are people who know better and I'm sure that their mothers would be mortified on their behalfs if they knew how their offspring were acting.

As for the thank you notes, you keep on bending those twigs.  A thank you note is a lovely thing to receive these days. 

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ~Ambrose Bierce

December 29, 2009
9:08 pm
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juststartn
South Central Oklahoma
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Thank you Maud.  I may have to have my dds make some up, just for you, for that lovely comment Happy Flower

That's what gets me, too–these are folks in the late 50s and up.  Really, these are folks who *should* know better.  And these are not poor folks living out in the boonies–one is a retired banker!  One couple owns their own LARGE excavation company.

We aren't in business, but these are our neighbors.  We live in a very rural area, and getting to know, and befriending, one's neighbors, is important.  Or at least, trying to befriend them.  We don't have any family here, and while I am not expecting these folks to be like family to us, we plan on staying here til they carry us out in boxes…so we'll be neighbors for a long, long time.  It'd be nice to get to know them better…

Oh well.  I don't know what to do.  Drive around tomorrow evening, as it is getting dark, to stop in and let them all know I've canceled because nobody bothered to let me know if they were coming?  Or just do them the same level of discourtesy (is that a word?) and just put a sign up on the gate over the driveway (its a long driveway, sort of…so there's a gate at the head of it), so they can find out when/if they show up?

Rachel

December 29, 2009
9:31 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Well, that's a point… IS it discourteus to just put a sign?  …most of me wants to say who cares if it [email protected]!$#!  Part of me says, finding a way to get them a note or speak to them would accomplish the same thing while putting your mind at ease at the same time. 

If it were me, I'd want to reach them to make sure they know that the evening's plans are off due to not hearing from anyone and not being able to plan the menu etc, it could possibly/probably disturb your enjoyment of your new plans.  It would mine I think, at least untill I saw the right number of headlights turn around at the end of the driveway and/or heard from them all, and then I'd be dreading those conversations too. 

Yes they were VERY wrong to leave you hanging, but it would probably help smooth your evening to track them down just to be sure.  And you'd still get the satisfaction of delivering a gentle rebuke about how you only heard from one person and couldn't plan based on that.  …and possibly that you are reaching them now so there isn't any more confusion about things.

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 29, 2009
9:44 pm
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Maud
Virginia
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I'd put a sign up at the gate.  You've done your very best to get a head count, they haven't helped, so they can all suck eggs and do without your excellent company and wonderful eats.   I'd say something nastier but we're doing a 'good manners' post so salty language is out of place…here, anway.

As for the financial status of your ex-guests, that doesn't seem to have an bearing on manners.  I've found that people of modest means are often more mannerly than their more financially endowed brethren.  Don't let it get to you.  Continue to hope for good manners while expecting no manners at all.  It won't change much but you'll maintain the standards that suit you.  And you might influence your mannerless neighbors, but don't hold your breath.  Still, living in a rural area, it's best to let your neighbors know that you'd like to be friendly and are trying very hard to do so. 

Should your children require a practice 'aunt' to write to, I'll be pleased to give you my address, but I'm sure that if yours are like mine, writing to the real aunts is more than enough, and writing to an invisible friend of their mother's will incite riot and rebellion.  Seriously though, those thank you notes mean a whole lot to the recipients whether your kids believe it or not.  My daughter found out several years ago when I had her write thank you notes to people who'd been kind to her when she was in France.  She wrote in English but each recipient had the note translated and made it a point to let my aunt (with whom my daughter had been staying) know how very refreshing it was to get a written thank you.  My daughter has subsequently been invited to stay with many people all over France.  A little moral lesson for you young'uns.   Write your thanks and get invited to way cool places. 

Jeez Louise, I sound like I'm 90 years old, wearing a tea gown, lace mitts, and a tatted bertha,  and gazing at the world down my aristocratic nose and through a lorgnon, while sniffing at the incorrect use of a fish fork by a peer of the Realm. 

I'm not.  I'm a girlish (if tubby) 53 years old, in blue jeans and a sweat shirt because it's cold, I have a potato-y nose,  and have never used a fish fork in my life! 

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ~Ambrose Bierce

December 29, 2009
10:19 pm
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juststartn
South Central Oklahoma
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Oh, Maud, you are a hoot!!!

I talked it over with DH, and he said if I don't hear anything back from folks by the time he gets home tomorrow (around 4), to call it off, and let everyone know we're not doing it.  And why.  I'll get to make the drive, since I don't have phone numbers for most of them, but that is okay.  I'd rather make sure that they know–and why. 

One couple is elderly, and honestly, they were the only ones I was *really* concerned about.  Even though they don't live that far away (everyone lives within 2 miles), it isn't spring here, and I would hate for them to get out and come over only to turn around and go home.  I *do* want to be neighborly, even if no one else does!

My girls actually rather enjoy writing and drawing.  My youngest dd who is five, has managed to write “Thank you, (heart) Sophie” on the backs of her drawings.  None of them have anything to do with Christmas or presents, but that is okay.  She is 5.  The other two (7&9) write actual letters.  LOL.  Not exactly prize winners, but they do get the point across. But they all love to draw and paint (esp as they just got watercolor sets for Christmas stocking stuffers).

My oldest has a penpal in England, whom she will be writing on Thursday…  she owes her a long chatty letter.  Complete with actual pictures.

We got some more snow here tonight.  We had drifts that were waist high on my 9 yr old.  Would have swallowed the twins (they are short 2 1/2 yr olds).  LOL  Will have to take some pictures of it for her to send off to Merry Old England.

Rachel

December 29, 2009
10:21 pm
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Pete
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Upon reflection, a couple of things occurred which may be helpful in this situation.  If not, just ignore them!

I do recall moving into our current neighborhood.  I had the advantage of being new, but having a hubby who grew up here, so had his and his mother's excellent advice about getting to know the neighbors.  It took a long while.  I had to avoid inviting anyone in at times that they had longstanding plans/traditions which I could not possibly know about until I'd lived here for years.

Formal gatherings just don't work here.  I am also reasonably certain that some of our neighbors would not have a clue what RSVP means, yet they would never do a thing to hurt me in any way.  So, I have had to adapt to my new neighborhood and get along extremely well with everyone.

Would you believe that the first gathering of my new neighbors was for a Tupperware party in my then new home shortly after it was finished?  Not something that was on my radar, but I was clued in that all the neighbor ladies were dying to see the inside of the house, so we staged this thing as an excuse for them and me.  It worked like a charm!  Later in the year we had a birthday party so that couples could come and enjoy the tour.  Both events were very casual, which is the only thing that works here.  With the neighbors, anyway.

With other friends we can do formal teas, but the neighbor ladies would not enjoy that.  Point being, when we move into a new neighborhood, we need to determine the pulse of the community first before we can figure out how to stage an event which meets both our needs and those of our neighbors.  Not saying you aren't doing that, of course, Rachel.  Sometimes it just takes a while to get it figured out accurately.

Another option is to throw on a big pot of soup, have some additional munchies at the ready, just in case, then play it by ear, since you will be home anyway.  I sure wouldn't prepare anything that couldn't be frozen, canned, or used up in your menu plan next week!

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

December 29, 2009
10:41 pm
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juststartn
South Central Oklahoma
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Actually, I'd planned a heavy buffet.

This wasn't some big whop-de-doo.  And I explained it as such, to them when I spoke with all of them

Funny thing is, that only one couple is “native”.  The others are recent move-ins, too, relatively speaking (we're talking within the last 2-10yrs).  So it's not like they've had decades to build up a rapport, iykwim.

You are right, and that was why I kept it low key.  Nothing fancy, really, just heavy munchies, and that people were welcome to come and go as they needed/pleased.  That we're not late night partiers, normally, but that we really would love to have them come by and stay a while, have something to eat, get to know us, etc.

Some of them we have talked to before, some we've not.  I just don't get it…

Its not so much the money/status, as the shoot, he was a banker–would they not KNOW that RSVP means “let me know if you're coming, please?”  I know that they are not…hm.  How to say this.  They aren't hillbillies who've never done anything fancy in their lives.  They would know what that meant.  It just boggles the mind that they would not respond in some way…

Oh well…

Rachel

December 29, 2009
10:49 pm
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Maud
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Pete makes an excellent point.  You have to make allowances for your neighborhood and the ways of your neighborhood.  Also, Pete is a much, much nicer person than I am. 

Still, you were clear about the RSVP which is not mysterious,  so I'd have to keep that in mind if it were my party. 

I'd go ahead and do the ham, maybe make a pot of soup, and have a bowl of crackers and an easy dip/spread kind of thing handy, but I'd (me, personally) not be tempted to cater to those who hadn't responded.  And I'd make damn sure that the dip/spread could be frozen if it wasn't used that night.  I'm kind of prickly about that sort of thing.  An Open House is one thing – people show up or not, and you don't really care too much because you have vats of food and barrels of drink, but you made specific invitations with RSVPs on the invites.  I'd have to be kind of snotty about people showing up unexpectedly for a party I'd written off.

But that's just me.  And I'd still have stuff ready to feed to people, but I'd serve it while in slippers and jammies and a dumb movie playing on TV.

Ultimately, I'm saying to do what you think is best.  Don't antagonize your neighbors, but let them know that you're a tad bit surprised about the laxity they show you as you'd never do that to them.  Again, my opinion.

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ~Ambrose Bierce

December 29, 2009
11:00 pm
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Maud
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Again, I feel your pain.  

Fasten blankets over your front windows for that night for privacy.  It's antisocial but what are you going to do?  Enjoy the ham, snarf up the goodies, and let it go.

Oh, hey!  Where do you live?  I'm not doing anything New Year's Eve, so I might show up and make myself pleasant to you and eat up all your goodies while regaling you and yours with unlikely but highly entertaining stories.

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ~Ambrose Bierce

December 30, 2009
3:25 am
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Leahld22
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Since you havent had a chance to really get to know your neighbors yet or they you I'd try to be understanding and not think the worst. They probably put off RSVP-ing,maybe forgot…. the holidays are busy. I would'nt go to as much trouble food wise as I'd planned,but I'd have a little something ready and greet them warmly if they showed up at my door. Part of being a friend is being able to overlook short comings. IMO. Most of all, dont let it ruin your New Yr celebration.

Life is too important to be taken too seriously.

December 30, 2009
8:41 am
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SarahGrace
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Hi Rachel!Wave

How frustrating to not get a response from anyone!  I think I'd make a big pot of soup and things that freeze well and look at it as an open house.  Big ham freezes well too.   When/if people showed up I'd probably make a comment about being surprised that they were there as I had not received their RSVP.  However, I'd do it in a way that was forgiving as my goal is to get to know the neighbors, not hold onto insult–meant or not.

If no one showed up I'd do my best to assume the best about them, though I'd be hurt and leery of reaching out again.  Yet, it is a busy season and people get rushed and cloudy minded.

Hope it all turns out as a great time for you.

December 30, 2009
9:29 am
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BuckeyeGirl
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You know Rachel, We’re all speaking in a very conciliatory way, and advising all this kindness, but we’d ALL be at least as hurt and angry as you probably are, maybe more so!  I hope you don’t think we’re dismissing that! 

It’s easy to think from a distance that this or that is best, but I’m pretty sure that if I, or most likely anyone else here were in your shoes, we’d be just as irked!  At least as irked, maybe enraged!!!!  Still, you do have to live in the place as you say, you’re there for the long haul.  I grew up in a small town, and I’ve seen things get way out of hand over stuff MUCH less important than this.  (as has been said, RSVPs and general good manners ARE important!)

Please do enjoy your evening with your family, whether it’s spent in your pajamas and pink fuzzy slippers or an evening gown!  (and pink fuzzy slippers?) I hope this doesn’t seep poison into the night for you, those folks really aren’t worth it!  I hope you can welcome the new year in with your family and happiness no matter what.

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 30, 2009
10:14 am
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Suzanne McMinn
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I went through this year after year with birthday parties when my kids were little.  Very difficult to plan things like party gift bags for kids to take home when you don't know how many kids are coming.  I always asked for an RSVP on the invitations and rarely got one and sometimes a big crowd would show up, sometimes a small party.  Eventually, I got so sick of the lack of RSVPing that I cut the kids' parties down to where they invited SPECIFIC friends only (instead of taking invitations to the whole class at school) and just contacted the parents directly by phone to make the invitations–X is having a party and your child is invited–can he be there?  That kind of direct invitation isn't always possible but it solved the birthday party RSVP issue for me back then.  The only big party like that that I have now is our annual Chickens in the Road party and people have to RSVP to get directions, ha.  So I know who's coming.

Clover made me do it.

December 30, 2009
2:32 pm
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juststartn
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Well, I managed to track everyone down this morning.  Cancelled it that way.  Between people not coming since they will be gone, other plans, and illness…oh well.  Saves me the trouble.

I will try again in another month or so.  I figure at that point, people will be so interested in getting out, it won't matter where it is, or what we'll eat.  French

HI SARAHGRACE!!!!! WaveWaveWaveWaveWaveWave

(Maybe this place needs to be our DCF withdrawal rehab center?? Wink

Rachel

December 30, 2009
2:33 pm
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juststartn
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Oh–and I'm in Oklahoma, Maud, so unless you're planning a long airplane ride….

LOL

Rachel

December 30, 2009
6:20 pm
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bonnieblue
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When we first moved to the new farm, we had a big “do”. Really big deal to dh. He was SO proud. Well, nobody RSVP'd either. Not at all. And they all had fair warning. Cell phones of any kind DO NOT work in our driveway. 4wd required, and you better be a pretty decent mudbogger then. So if we're not expecting you and you get stuck, expect a LONG walk. And we have bears here.

I invited over 20 people, Sunday afternoon drop in. In the last hour 2 couples showed up. 1 set was horrified at our driveway (why would they think I would make that up?) and said they wouldn't have continued up to the house, but there was no where to turn around.

The other couple said they were returning with the video camera for the wife to film the hubby driving the truck in! 

We ate off all the food I had bought for over a week, which was an aggravation.

I'm sorry you were disappointed, but at least you got to cancel yours, and not waste half a work day! Wave

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