Thursday, February 14, 2008

2/13/08 Valentine's Dinner/Dance

The big day finally arrived and we hit the ground running.

We started our morning in the Activities Building in a meeting with all the Activities staff to go over the schedule for the day. Everyone knew what they were doing at what time by the meetings end.

Since there was a Resident's meeting and a concert yesterday all the chairs were still up so it was a matter of the guys on this detail moving them aside to set up tables. With that out of the way several women were tasked with putting on plastic tablecloths with red cloths centered in the middle of each table. It was at this time that the cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper shakers and 24 pats of butter were placed on the tables.
Meanwhile, iced tea and lemonade were made and the coffee pots set up and water jugs filled.

At 11:00 DeAnn and I set out for town to pick up the cakes and rolls, two last minute gift certificates and more ribbon for the balloons. We could have made the desserts but it was just so much easier to order 2 full sheet cakes plus one half. One chocolate, one white both filled with cherries. YUM! The half sheet cake was chocolate too.

We were back in time for her to meet up with three other team players to make the cheesy potatoes that we'll serve. (I don't know what was in them but they were GOOD!)

At 2pm I met up with seven others to decorate. We bought two helium canisters and lots of red, white and pink balloons. We made bouqets to sit on each table. Here are Robin and Frieda making balloons for us.

Frieda was the official holder of the balloons.

Bonnie and Shelley working on finishing touches.

What the Carnaval Room looked like when it was completely decorated. Here's a picture of one half of the room with the tables down the center that will be taken down right after dinner.

I had reason to go over to the Activities Building and walked in on the Helping Hands hard at work. Helping Hands is made up of ladies in the park who sew bibs for instance. These baby bibs are then donated to a local agency that can use them such as the local women's shelter where the women and their children often come with nothing but the clothes are their backs.

They also sew caps for chemo patients.

Here's Donna modeling a chemo cap she made.

These are all special ladies who give freely of their time for a good cause.

Not everyone sews, somebody has to iron the material! Every job is important!

With my business done in the Activities building it was time to go home and get dressed for the dinner and evening.

The doors were to open promptly at 4:30 and by 4:10 the winter residents were lined up, ready and waiting.

By now we have prepared the salads made up of a lettuce wedge, sprinkled with green onions, radishes and grated cheddar cheese. When DeAnn bought 29 heads of lettuce at the store she got some strange looks from the cashier.

The doors opened at the appointed time and it was soon after that we were confronted with the first problem of the night. Not enough seating! Oh NO! Where did we go wrong? We were four seats short and the only thing we can figure out was that someone sold four tickets and neglected to write down the sale. We kept track of tickets so that we would know how much food to buy and how many tables to set up. It was quickly remedied by setting an extra table and we moved on.

Our dinner menu consisted of salad, roasted pork loins with sauce, cheesy grated potatoes, green beans, applesauce and dessert.

At precisely 4:55 we started plating the dinners. Four team members dished up the goodies and the rest of us served it. This was a sit down dinner, not a buffet. It took us a few minutes to catch our rhythym but when we did it all went very smoothly. The Activities staff served 149 dinner guests in less than 20 minutes! That has got to be a record somewhere!

We finally were able to sit down and eat ourselves and I'm here to tell you that we made one helluva dinner! It was delicious!!!

Since we had dinner only guests we had to get the raffle out of the way right after dinner so that they would also have a chance at the prizes. I walked into the Carnaval Room and was immediately swamped with requests for raffle tickets. We sold them at $1 for one or $5 for 6. I had mostly orders for $5 and $10. It was my intention to walk around the room selling them but I never got away from the door.

We had 25 prizes to raffle off. Everything from costume jewelry to picture frames to gift certificates for area restaurants to candy to a huge decorated gourd to an income tax preperation worth $125.00 and several things in between. The winter residents were really pumped by the raffle as this alone brought in over $300.00.

When the raffle was over DeAnn thanked everyone for coming and announced that Lucille and I were the leads for this Valentine's dinner/dance and that every member of the Activities staff worked like dogs to pull this off. We got a standing ovation from the winter residents.

Out in the breezeway everyone was able to get their picture taken in front of a canvas that park residents painted. Set in front of it was a small table, two chairs, wine w/glasses and roses. Here's Gary and Buddy clowning around. That's some painting the ladies painted isn't it?

By now the dinner only guests had vacated and their table and chairs were taken down. It was time to party!

We had musical entertainment by Ted and Sue, a husband and wife duo. They sized up their audience quickly and played all the right music keeping us line dancers in mind.

When it was finally all over a lot of the winter residents stayed and helped us tear down the tables and chairs. Once again we cleared the room in record time! 8 minutes! Its amazing how fast things can go when there are a lot of hands involved.

Am I glad its over? You bet! The White team certainly can't take the credit for this event. It took every member of Activities to make it what it was.....a great party!

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