Oct 18, 2015

Stamping Destroyed My Life - Chapter Four

Press Release Announcing the Publication of Stamping Destroyed My Life.
Stamping Destroyed My Life: The Prologue
Chapter One:  "It's Kind of Magical"
Chapter Two:  A Match Made in Heaven
Chapter Three:  "Just Do It"

Chapter Four:  Salsa and Chips

First impressions count.  Determined to have the best Get Down With Stampin! workshop in the history of GDWS workshops.  And you can file that.  I hadn't talked with Gina since the day after I met her, but I was cool with that.



1.  Make list of invitees
2.  Send invitations
3.  Hire valet and caterer
4.  Order hats for valet
5.  Photo booth?

Gina said to expect a 90% acceptance rate, but really, as much as I loved my BFF, that seemed a bit high.  80% seemed more realistic.  My list had 63 names, including John's secretary, every single woman who lived on my street, all the teachers in Garrett's school, and the moms of all the kids in Garrett's class.  So I figured I better be ready for 50.  If they each spent an average of $100, that would be a $5K workshop!!  I would earn $500 in free product.  I could get more stamp sets, more ink, more paper, and some of those eyelet things.  And then I found, in the back of the catty, that they sold glitter embossing powder!  File that!

I spent the better part of 2 days addressing the invitations Gina gave me and either mailing or hand delivering them.  I asked John to give the invite to his secretary, but he told me it was "unethical" to ask his secretary to come to our house to spend money.  He felt like she would feel pressured to buy. That was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard.  Why was it ok for John to buy her kid's wrapping paper, but she couldn't be a guest in our home?  I mailed her the invite.

We lived on a typical suburban cul de sac and there was no way that my street could handle parking for 50 cars, so a valet was essential.  It's $27 an hour for one valet.  So I hired 2 for 4 hours.  And, the valet company agreed to let the valets wear hats with a GDWS logo on them!  I photocopied the logo and ordered the hats.  Gina would be so surprised.

Then I turned my attention to food.  Food is CRITICAL to a successful anything. Francie's workshop food was .... a problem.  Cheese, crackers, and the huge NO NO -- salsa and chips.  Someone always leaves a trail of salsa on the floor.  What was she thinking?  Frankly, I was surprised that someone wearing a kilt would serve salsa and chips.

I hired RSVP Catering.  No need to debate that issue.

I present you, at no charge:

Stamping Workshop Menu

Lemon Pomegranate "Lasagna"
 Dark Chocolate Greeting Cards with Raspberry "Ink"
Mini White Chocolate Pails/Apple Infused Bacon Encrusted Whipped Cream
Sparkling Water/Blood Orange Scented cubes

Feel free to CASE!

Gina specifically told me not to serve alcohol, but a little kirsch cream wouldn't kill anyone.

Debated for DAYS on the photo booth.  Thought it would provide some awesome bonding moments and memories, but decided to just ask Gina.  Good excuse to call.  Not sure why, but I had not heard from her in a really long time.   Nope, pulled myself together and DID NOT CALL.


1.  Settle Photo Booth Issue (call Gina??)
2.  Finalize guest list
3.  Pick up hats 
4.  Order pencils

Started picking out clothes for Gina's funeral.  She must be dead if I haven't heard from her.  Decided to call her.  Alive.

After a few pleasantries, I asked, "What do you think of a Photo Booth?"

"Where?," Gina asked.

"At my workshop!"

"A photo booth?  Whatever for?"

Gina was a little off today.

"I want the workshop to be beyond fun and wouldn't a photo booth be great?  On the other hand, will there be enough space??  I just cannot decide.  I just love the idea of everyone having a little memento to take home as a reminder, but will there be room?"

Gina hesitated for a moment, and then said "M, appreciate the idea, but really. You saw Francie's workshop.  That was a great workshop!  Just some friends, light refreshments, and time for me to show some stamping products and techniques, and time for the ladies to chat and place orders. So, really, please don't get a photo booth."

Oh that Gina!  She must be kidding about that salsa!  I wasn't some average hostess.  I remember when dowdy Diana Rothabba and I were assigned to bring cupcakes to the Almost No Children Left Behind Book Fair at Garrett's school. Diana brought 6 dozen home made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Snooze fest.  I bought Boozy Strawberry Margharita, Spiced Peach with Vodka Infused Buttercream, and Mmmmm Mmmmm Good Mocha with Kalhua cupcakes.  Smash hit with those kids!!  Assigned paper plates and napkins the following year.  Diana must have complained. Can you just smell the jealousy?

Nevertheless, I wanted to keep Gina happy, so I said, "Ok, boss lady!  You know best."

Gina asked, "Have you thought about some light refreshments?"

"Yes, I've got that under control."

"Great," Gina responded.  "Have you had time to send out the invitations?"

"Yes! I sent 63!  The last ones were delivered 3 days ago."

Gina squealed, "63, that's fabulous, M! Heard from anyone yet?"

"Not yet.  I'll wait a few more days and then do a follow up call, just like you suggested."

"That's perfect.  I think that just about wraps it up."

Gina sounded really pleased.  One step closer to the Cape.

I asked her, "So what else is going on with you Gina?  I hardly know anything about you or your family."

Gina responded, "Oh, I'm great.  I'm married and have two kids."

BINGO! I knew it.  I have amazing intuition about people.  I .KNEW. IT.

"A boy and a girl?"

"No," she said.  "Twin boys. They just started at An Even Better Ivy University in Cambridge."

Oh no.

"Really?  For some reason, I thought your kids were younger, like mine.  You're like, what they call, empty nesters?"

"Yes, we are empty nesters as of one month ago.  It's weird having so much time on my hands.  As a matter of fact, I just got accepted to law school!  I'm starting next fall.  In the meantime,  I'm stepping up my stamping biz.  Thank you so much for your order and for agreeing to do a workshop."

My head was spinning.  Empty nesters?  LAW SCHOOL?  This was the worst possible news. We had nothing in common.  I didn't know what to say, and just babbled, "Well, I think I'm going to take to stamping.  I'm thrilled to do this workshop."

Gina responded, "That's great M.  Stamping is a fabulous hobby.  It's relaxing, a creative outlet, and a great way to meet people.  It can change your life."

"Well, ok, Gina.  I think I hear Garrett coming in the door.  Talk to you soon!"

I hung up and sat down.  Gina wasn't all that friendly anyway.  Goodbye, fireflies.  Goodbye, Cape.  I opened a bottle of Chardonnay and ate a brownie.


1.  Follow up with the RSVP deadbeats
2.  Buy a kilt
3.  Give caterer final number

63 invites.
Four yes, 27 no, 32 nothing.

Called all 32 deadbeats and reached 16. Three of them said yes!  The other 13 had lame excuses, including John's secretary.  Their loss!

I was up to 7 confirmed yesses.  Had to pick up my game. Left messages for the other 16 and told them that, unless I heard from them, I assumed that they were coming.  Mentioned free, the valet, and RSVP Catering.  Joked that it would be cheaper to show up than be billed for their share of the food.  Heard back from all 16 and 10 of them said yes!  Nothing like a little crab beignet to get these ladies out of the house.

17 people.  Starting to smell disaster.


Drove to Buffy's high school, bribed the guard with a bottle of scotch, and put flyers on all the cars in the teachers' parking lot.  73 flyers.  Mentioned the valet and the catering and the free.  Heard back from 30 and they all said yes!!!

47 people coming to my workshop!!!!


1.  Housekeeper to clean.
2.  Remind John to take kids out for dinner.
4.  Give hats to valets.
5.  Supervise set up with caterer.
6.  Put out pens with my name and number on them.
7.  Pop a xanax.
8.  Let Gina in at 6:30 to prep.
9.  7:00 pm: It's showtime!

Next:  Chapter Five


Deborah Frings said...


My Card Attic: Hazel said...

I am LOVING this series of posts Joan . . . It could be about ME! :) Can't wait for the next instalment . . . you crack me up. Thanks for making me smile! Have a lovely Sunday! Hazel xx

Gina K. said...

Oh my gosh, my stomach hurts from laughing! Lololol!!!!!

Lara said...

soooo glad you retired! this is awesome. love the recipes too.

Francie said...

Can't wait for next week and the party!

Joan B said...

Ha. we'll see what happens.

Joan B said...

thanks. I'm glad I retired too

Joan B said...

thanks Gina. You are the best.

Betty said...

love it!

TK said...

Best. Story. Ever!

Vicki Dutcher said...

Where I was my invite? I would of gone to your party Ina heart beat!! ☺ sure beats my first Su party lol

Vicki Dutcher said...

Where I was my invite? I would of gone to your party Ina heart beat!! ☺ sure beats my first Su party lol

Rosy Newlun said...

This is getting a little wild, lol!!!! Now you're drinking Chardonnay and calling people dead beats!!!

Susan said...

Can't wait for the next chapter! Each one gets better and better!

Julia said...

Omg! Yes, I was wondering where my invite was too.. LOL.

ReneeK said...

I'm laughing right along with Gina...Joan, you are a hilariously talented writer!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious Joan! Can't wait for the next installment!

LauraJane:) said...


Lee-Anne said...

Hahaha, Joan...you are a hoot!

Jeanne H said...

Immensely enjoying your story...you are going to publish it when done, aren't you?

Joan B said...

Just concentrating on writing more chapters! Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely HILARIOUS! Laughed out loud lots of times. Love the menu! Egads, what's next????


Leslie Miller said...

Laughed all the way through this. Crazy how much we can all relate. Caterers and valets? OMG, hilarious! M should seek a different kind of professional help.

Jeannine Kennedy Thames said...

Can't wait till next week for the party! Really funny!

Unknown said...

the best ever!

Beth said...

I read from the beginning to this chapter tonight while waiting for my kid at his cello lesson. What a treat! Can't wait to read a few more chapters next week.

Teri S. said...

This chapter has me cringing for this poor woman. It's like one of those novels where you almost don't want to read the next chapter as you know it's not going to be at all what you'd like it to be, yet you really have to know what happens next. You are very good lady Joan!