Sunday, February 1, 2009

Good Idea, Poor Execution

Our old apartment complex used to have little community "get togethers" every now and then, but we never went to any of them. Now I know why.

The other day we got a flyer in our door. It was on semi-expensive paper that was designed to look like a football field and had some text in a snazzy font that proclaimed "Brunch before the big game!!" Basically, the community managers were holding a brunch on Saturday (the day before the Super Bowl) between 10am and 1pm. The bottom of the flyer stated there'd be eggs, waffles, pancakes, soup (?), and fruit. We got the flyer last Monday and I heard about it all week:

Pancakes on Saturday!

Remember, we're going to that thing Saturday morning.

I wonder why they're having soup? Whatever, I'm getting waffles.

You'd think I never feed my husband.

So we woke up this morning and the first words out of his mouth - I'm hungry. Waffles. So we get up, get showered, and get on our way to The Clubhouse for the brunch. It is possibly the earliest I've gotten up on a Saturday (except when he or I have to go to work on Saturday, but that's another post).

Now let me interrupt myself here for a minute. When you hear "brunch at the clubhouse that the whole apartment complex has been invited to", what is the first thing that comes to mind? Unless I'm crazy, you're probably thinking of something like a pancake breakfast like your old neighborhood volunteer fire department used to do (stop, you know you went to a pancake breakfast) - a buffet with covered chafing dishes full of pancakes, waffles, etc, where people can help themselves. How else would you be serving brunch to mass amounts of people?

Ok, so now that we're on the same page as far as expectations...

First we set out looking for The Clubhouse. We drive around until we see The Poolhouse. It is the only community structure on the street we were told to go to. Maybe it used to be called The Clubhouse. Fine. We park, we get out, we have dreams of Belgian waffles.

Our dreams were shattered 5 seconds later.

We walk into The Club/Pool house. It is a small room with a kitchenette. In the kitchenette, there are three women cooking. One of them is leaning one hand on the counter while she lazily stirs what looks like lots of egg yolks in a frying pan. Another is leaning against the counter on the other side, eyeing a child who is slathering a slice of bread with half a cup of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. And the third lady hands us raffle tickets.

Why am I holding a raffle ticket? Where is the food?

The "dining room" portion of the club/pool house has 3 round tables and 1 small rectangular table. There are families sitting at each table. No one is talking. There are many available seats, but each adult glares at us with a look that blatantly said "I am enjoying my breakfast. Do not sit with me. Do not look at me. Do not think about sitting next to me." So we stand at the kitchen window (there is a little ledge in the window between the kitchen and dining area) in-line behind what appears to be a ten year old boy with a very large appetite.

And we watch.

There is a bowl that probably at one time held fruit salad. It now held 4 sad grapes and some pineapple wedges. There is ample juice in the bottom of the bowl. There is a basket of bread. It looks like it has been rifled through by more than one child. There is a crockpot of soup. In the kitchen, we see a bag of pancake mix. There are also eggs. Breakfast is being made to order. The women cooking looked very pissed off. This is very awkward.

It is finally our turn to order. We each ask for an omelet - mine with ham and cheese, his with ham, cheese, and mushrooms. And we wait. I make some toast strictly to have something to do instead of awkwardly watching these women make our breakfast. Ryan pokes me - I see bacon. It's in the fridge. Can I ask for some? I shake my head. Let's not make this more awkward than it already is. Finally our omelets come up and we turn around with plates in hand. It happened. I knew it would, but for some reason I was completely unprepared.

There is not an available table. There are empty seats, but there is no available table. Unfazed, Ryan sits down at the rectangle table. There is a woman there eating a waffle. There are 6 seats at the table. Ryan and I take seats at the opposite end of the table, but we crossed the line. The woman looks at us and gets up.

Now here's the thing - if you're going to advertise to an entire community any sort of event where seating is involved, you need to have enough seating. You also need to either have more cooks or make it ahead of time and throw it in a chafing dish. Otherwise, it's just awkward for everyone.

We were in and out in 20 minutes, as I assume most of the folks eating were. As such, we still have our raffle tickets - if anyone was there this morning: did we win? The numbers are 445278 and 445279.

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