Sunday, October 16, 2011

Scheduling Chaos

You know your life is out of control when you spend your Friday night coordinating schedules with your husband.  Yes, Glenn and I spent a recent Friday with calendars in hand trying to plan out our next few months. Sure, a glass or two of wine was involved, but it made me realize how much things have changed. It wasn't that long ago that a weekend night involved getting dressed up and going out either with friends or alone for a date.  More often than not, Friday nights were semi-spontaneous affairs (I can't completely wing it) coordinated via email in the waning hours of the work week.  Now we find ourselves sitting at home and dodging flying toys and the ever present requests for more Elmo while planning meetings, receptions, the nanny's schedule and yes, family time.

First come the pomp and circumstance events  that are scheduled for us- receptions at various embassies in honor national days, armed forces days, and other assorted international recognition days.  Considering the relatively small size of the diplomatic corps in Tirana, we find ourselves attending a large number of events.  Next up are scheduled Embassy events- both command performances and social activities that we may want to attend.  My "little part time job" comes with a surprisingly large number of after hour events for which I am often the coordinator. We debate about what is necessary for both of us to be present at and what can we get away with skipping althogether.

The next item on our scheduling agenda are the required representational events that we must host in our home.  Mid-week dinners and receptions are the norm but with the plethora of American and Albanian holidays this fall, our potential days are limited.  We finally settle on a mixture of family style sit-down dinners in our upstairs dining room, formal dinners in our representational space, and a couple of larger receptions.  In the middle of all of this chaos is the Marine Corps Ball- a must attend event that while fun, kills a weekend that could have otherwise been a get-away weekend or a much needed reprieve from doing anything.  I realize my parents will be visiting mid-month so a couple of day trips to the requisite historical sites in Albania are a must.  Looking at the schedule I see a blank space after a required reception.  Taking advantage of the built in babysitting that comes with a visit from the grandparents, I pencil in a post-reception dinner date with my husband.

Just when I think we are done I realize that Thanksgiving and Sidney's second birthday are right around the corner.  I add a sit down dinner for 24 and an Elmo-themed child's birthday party to the schedule.  Since we actually got to the end of November on our calendars we decide to forge ahead with the craziness that will be December.  Another dinner or two and a large, staggered holiday open house fill in what little white space is left.  We decide that our reward for surviving the next eight weeks of craziness will be a Christmas week away for just the three of us. Slovenia is high on our list of possible locations but I need to check and see about vacancies at family friendly places.

Whew-  I haven't even begun to plan the menus, selected the outfits to wear, to schedule the nanny, or decide on venues and caterers for these events and I'm already exhausted.  Instead of a family vacation I think I need a nice long nap- or maybe another glass of wine...............

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