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Family Chatter

BY MARY BECELIA

I've always been against "parties" where you are invited to someone's house and treated to a spiel about a product. Drink enough wine, nibble enough hors d'oeuvres and you often feel obligated to purchase said product.

So how did I recently find myself this close to hosting such an event? It's a lengthy tale, but I will attempt to distill it to a quick story. Well, I can do it in one word actually: Greed.

Yes, when I heard that my friend, "Janie" was selling a line of environmentally-friendly cleaning products that actually appealed to me, I became dreadfully excited at the thought of: hostess gifts! Stuff I wanted! Stuff I could use! All I had to do was invite all my nearest and dearest to come by and plop down some cash and I'd be sitting pretty on top of a pile of free gifts!

The first step in the process that (almost) led to me becoming a party hostess was when Janie came over to demo some products. "I'll show you how to clean your house the way you WANT it cleaned," she promised. "Sounds good," I thought, "because the only way I WANT my house cleaned is by someone else and it sounds like that is what is happening here. Bring it on!"

For the week leading up to her visit, I did not mop my kitchen floor. This was actually not a huge stretch for me as it often goes longer than a week without mopping. But I made it out like it was a huge slip up in my normally very high standards for floor cleanliness.

"Could I, in good conscience, try to persuade people to come over to my house to spend money when I wasn't even a fan of these parties in the first place?"

Not only had the kitchen floor not seen a mop for a week, it is at least 11 years old. The only way to really fix this floor situation is to replace the sucker. But Janie attacked it with her special Swiffer-like, but chemical-free, mop and did a fine job certainly equal to my usual mopping job.

She then polished the windows, scrubbed the bathroom, cleaned the oven door and I just sat back, watched and made appreciative noises. Oh yes indeed, this is the way I like to have my house cleaned!

Once the cleaning was over, I realized I now felt guilt in addition to my original greed. Janie had just cleaned a quarter of my house. She had even tackled the toilet. This was above and beyond for sure. I owed her a party.

We set a date and she went over details with me: food, seating and how to encourage people to attend. My head was spinning. In addition to being a sub-par housewife, I'm not much of a hostess. Suddenly I was feeling overwhelmed and wondering if the gifts would offset the cost of those party platters from Costco. While I smiled and nodded on the outside, internally I was starting to panic.

Could I pull this off? Could I, in good conscience, try to persuade people to come over to my house to spend money when I wasn't even a fan of these parties in the first place? Could I get by with just a bag of Doritos for the snack? No, no and no. I could not. I tossed and turned all night before emailing Janie the next day and backing out of the party. She was gracious and understanding. She is an awesome person.

So I got out of it. I'm not proud of myself, but there you have it. You don't need to worry about me ever inviting you to a purchasing party. And don't invite me to yours either. I'm a disaster as a guest. I eat all the goodies and then buy the cheapest thing offered. Please! Don't even pretend to be surprised.

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