SERIOUSLY? Lady, You’re Killin’ Me Here!

YIKES!  Playdate Disaster - My Fault or Hers?  "Seriously, Lady, You're Killin Me Here!"  #funny #playdate #mom #kids #humor #sothenstories.

So then…I toss a couple toys behind the couch and shove the countertop contents into the junk drawer, just as the doorbell rings.

“They’re here! They’re here!” I shout, racing for the door.

But I’m the only one dashing, since my 1st grader Tucker is engrossed in his Legos-Hot Wheels concoction and not nearly as excited about this playdate as I am.

I’m eager to make new friends at his new school, for him AND for me, so I took the plunge and invited Carla and her son Steven over this weekend for lunch and playtime.

I open the door and they spill into the house, Steven running over to Tucker and his toys – Carla trailing me to the kitchen.

We chat amiably while I putter around, taking out dishes, turning on the oven. I love hosting people at my house, but I’m always anxious about what to serve – I’m worried they may not like it or I didn’t cook it long enough.

But I know today will be a homerun because I served this same lunch to my family last week and they loved it!

I place ham and cheese on French bread wedges, then slide them into the oven to get all warm and toasty.

I turn around with a flourish and a smile – only to see Carla’s face fall.

Uh-oh. What’s up?

I’m talking FANCY DELUXE ham (no Oscar Mayer, people!)

and FANCY DELUXE cheese (no Velveeta slices, y’all!)

and FANCY DELUXE French bread (no Wonder bread sandwich slices, friends!)

We’re talking PRIMO sandwich fixin’s! And I’m TOASTING them in the OVEN!

I even have regular mustard for the kids and FANCY DELUXE Grey Poupon for the moms.

GREY.POUPON.PEOPLE!

Carla says, “Uh…we’re Jewish so we don’t eat ham.”

Ack. Blunder #1.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” I blurt.

She blanches.

“Well, no, I mean…I’m not sorry you’re Jewish! I’m sorry I’m serving ham!” I say.

I quickly grab the remaining French bread. “How about just cheese then?” I ask brightly. “Kinda like a grilled cheese sandwich on French bread?”

Carla grimaces. “Well, it’s just that Steven is lactose-intolerant…”

Ack. Blunder #2.

Omigod. Now I’m panicking because my fridge and cupboards are not well-stocked, so I don’t have a lot of choices.

Lightbulb!

I fling open the pantry door and pull out every kid’s favorite: Peanut butter!

Carla’s expression says it all…

I sigh, resigned. “He’s allergic to peanuts, isn’t he?” I ask.

“Yep.”

Ack. Blunder #3.

“Oh, OK, heh, heh,” I say, laughing weakly. “I guess that leaves us with the French bread. So how does he feel about toast?

(If she says he has a gluten-free diet, I will commit hari-kari with this spatula right now.)

She smiles. “Toast is fine.”

I quickly scour the kitchen for side dishes and come up with grapes, baby carrots, and Oreos (which are a HUGE hit, by the way.)

And so, as I serve our first 1st-grade playdate toast, I cycle through these emotions:

1) I am the worst hostess in the world.

2) If her kid has this many dietary restrictions, couldn’t she maybe give me a heads up when accepting a lunch invitation? Come on, Carla, help a sister out! If my kid had these restrictions, I’m so obsessive, I’d probably travel with a constant supply of doctor-approved, rabbi-approved foods in individual hermetically-sealed packages, ready to whip out at a moment’s notice! Or at least I’d mention it when accepting an invitation to a meal!

3) What kind of rookie am I that I don’t have a few alternatives available like turkey or pasta, for Pete’s sake? And would it kill me to ASK guests if they have any dietary needs when I invite them to a meal? Get with the program, Darcy!

But as I watch Tucker and Steven laugh and talk and run and play – I realize what’s really important:

the “Day I Served My Guests Toast” is also the “Day Tucker Made a New Friend at His New School.” And that’s all that matters.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any culinary catastrophes on your playdates? Or food-related faux pas with guests at your parties, BBQs, or dinners? One time I put BBQ sauce on chicken breasts and BAKED them – and they all came out a weird shade of PINK so all my guests skipped that dish on the buffet table! Share any funny moments from your parties or playdates!)

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55 replies on “SERIOUSLY? Lady, You’re Killin’ Me Here!

  1. That’s awesome! My son is at a new school and thankfully has made friends without my assistance – although, he’s also an introvert so he withdraws at times. He’s still awesome and very social and happy. I wonder how to do the whole “play date” thing – I joined the PTA to try and interact but I’m miserably failing. We have play dates with my friend and her daughter but he needs boys too – I never know how to interact with other parents since I’m the youngest one! Lol glad it all turned out OK and she SHOULD HAVE let YOU know about dietary restrictions O_o just sayin’.. her faux pas not yours. Have a great one Darcy! -Iva

    • thanks, Iva! navigating playdates can be tricky for kids AND the parents — you’re smart to join the PTA — eventually you’ll find like-minded parents you’ll feel comfortable with! :o)

  2. Background checks! You can’t go wrong. People talk about what the NSA did like it was a bad thing. But you can’t deny the advantages. They probably knew about all of Steven’s dietary restrictions… his blood type… favorite color…
    Vinny C recently posted..Why Don’t They Just Ask For It?My Profile

    • Ha! You’re right – I should have Googled them before they arrived! The internet knows all! (and the NSA!)

  3. Judy said:

    All these dietary restrictions are why the boss never splurges for lunch any more at work. No pizza as the lactose and no carb people complain; no BBQ as the vegetarians whine; no giant sub sandwiches as you get both the no carb and veggies complaining. Then you got those who just didn’t *like* whatever was offered complaining.

    And now they complain he never buys lunch.

    • Let them eat cake!
      Oh wait – cake is a carb.
      Ok, let ME eat cake! :o)

  4. This was so funny. I don’t eat ham either, but I’ll happily scarf the grilled cheese. Yum.

    • Right? I’m telling you this was deeee-lishus FANCY cheese! You woulda loved it!

  5. This whole incident made my head spin! You’re a better person than me, as I’d have chased them out the front door while beating them with the baguette loaf. OMG…

    We did bring a soccer teammate of mine to our favorite breakfast buffet once many many years ago and his diet restrictions were incredibly specific, plus his name was Larry. Lol, who does that to a kid? Anyway, he was asking Willy the poor buffet food changer outer what ingredients were in every dish and Willy finally erupted and shouted, “You’s a crazy honkey! Just eat! Eat dis food it won’t kill ya!!” lol. Larry really was a pain in the ass.
    donofalltrades recently posted..Christmas lies just around the bend…My Profile

    • Love the visual of you chasing her with a baguette!
      Also love that official title you listed — “buffet food changer outer” — classic!

    • I’m learning so many new words! Pollotarian? And how cool that you bring your own turkey burgers to a BBQ. Smart thinking!
      I travel with food too — if you count M&Ms as food… :o)

  6. Alex said:

    She definitely should have told you. Mind you I have learnt to ask the questions (an undisclosed lactose intolerant vegan doesn’t leave you many options for a feed either). So many kids are vegan / vegetarian / pollo-pesceterian / lactose intolerant / gluten free / allergic to nuts / wearing new braces / a combination of any of them, you almost need to keep a spreadsheet. And aside from the gluten free ones, it keeps changing too!

    • ha! a spreadsheet! LOVE that idea!
      and what the hell is a pollo-pescetarian? Sounds like a religion! “I’m Catholic.” “Really? I’m Pollo-Pescetarian.”

      • Alex said:

        They eat chicken and fish but no other meat. A bit easier than a vegan, but you still have to remember it.

    • yikes, I think that’s the one that doesn’t eat meat/chicken/fish OR eggs/dairy, right? and most baked goods have some eggs or dairy? so even the Oreos wouldn’t work? eeek!

      • Alex said:

        Yep that’s the one I had to deal with – and they were also lactose intolerant (see above).

      • Bea said:

        Actually, believe it or not, Oreos ARE vegan. I discovered this when I was vegan (I’ve been vegetarian for years, but was only able to manage the vegan thing for about 8 months). I was kind of disturbed to realize that the “cream filling” contains no actual cream or even milk. But not too disturbed to happily chomp down on some Oreos! :)

        • Oreos are VEGAN? That is so cool! From now on, I shall serve all VEGAN guests a tray of Oreos! IF I can keep them in stock — cuz damn, those things go fast around here!

  7. This is SO funny, Darcy! It’s so hard with playdates. My friend recently had her very first birthday party sleepover, and one of the moms emailed her and said her son had an egg allergy. That was it. No other info, no diet restrictions, nada. So my friend emailed her back and told the lady the entire menu for the whole day, night and morning that they had planned. The mom emailed back like A WEEK later and just said, “that’s all fine.” There were donuts on the menu! Aren’t there eggs in donuts? Anyway, I guess the allergy wasn’t very bad, but it was SO weird! People are weird.

    • love that the guest’s mom remembered to mention the egg allergy!
      love that the host’s mom sent her a full menu for the sleepover!
      as for donuts — I think they DO have eggs in them!
      so either the allergy wasn’t too severe —
      OR the guest’s mom was using “egg allergy” as code for “my kid really hates eggs and I’m too shy to tell you not cook eggs for him since I don’t want to presume you’re cooking eggs for the sleepover, you might just be serving Capn Crunch cereal in a bowl or cold pizza for all I know, so let’s just say egg allergy, yeah let’s go with that — and if there ARE donuts being served, save me one!”

  8. Lady Anne said:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for over thirty years, and I always warn people ahead of time, and then ask “Is there anything you’d like me to bring? A salad or something?” I believe folks with dietary restrictions owe it to others to tell them well in advance, to avoid things of this sort.

    Cooking for our family was a real challenge. My dad was on dialysis for eight years, and couldn’t have potassium – potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, oranges, raisins – and my sister! Well! Her husband had had a heart attack and the doctor told her to cut back on salt, so she razed a seven block area. Add to that the fact that she kept “kosher” (she was Lutheran; don’t ask) and any family meal was sort of pot luck; bring what you can eat, and maybe somebody else will share it.

    • holy cow! (or holy soy-products!)
      that is a VERY challenging group to satisfy!
      But I LOVE that philosophy — bring what you can eat and maybe somebody else will share it! brilliant!

  9. William Kendall said:

    Amendment to Murphy’s Law: one blunder shall lead to another, then another…

    • if you’re talkin’ about ME — yep, that’s the dang truth!

  10. Damn, I would have eaten everything you served me there. It’s great to meet new friends and new playmates for your son, but she should have given you a heads up about the dietary restrictions. You did some nifty improvisation!

    I don’t get it. When we were kids we just didn’t have all these ailments or restrictions as they do nowadays.
    Phil recently posted..Bah Humbug! I hate these %^$@*&^%@$ Holiday Songs!My Profile

    • Ha! Thanks, Phil, and I’d expect a 5-star review of Darcy’s Kitchen on your blog! :o)
      Yeah, it’s weird how different it was when we were growing up. I kid you not, this is what I ate pretty much everyday as a kid:
      Breakfast: 2 Poptarts
      Lunch: 1 slice of Oscar Mayer baloney on 2 pieces white bread
      Snack: 2 DingDongs
      Dinner: Homecooked meal by Mom (thanks, Mom!)

  11. Happily I managed to avoid a toasty issue like this in the preschool days. My fave came later. Dropping my 8 year old off at his friend’s house I told the mom “as we’re going to my sister’s for dinner please just give him a light snack, if anything.” Perfect. I go to pick him up and he’s half way through a huge bowl, we’re talking mixing bowl size, of KD. His lips are a brilliant orange. Lovely.
    Kelly McKenzie recently posted..Christmas Among The Palm TreesMy Profile

    • I would have loved to see the look on YOUR face when you saw HIS face chowing down on a big bowl of orange KD! Too funny!

  12. I love your blog. You know this. And this was a hilarious read – as usual, but it wasn’t YOUR fail. It was hers. Why? Because she knew her family’s restrictions. I’m an older ma – in my 40’s – with an adult kid – albeit just the one. And whereas, we didn’t have to deal with religious or allergic restrictions, I was still anal about details on my end. It’s called being a parent…it’s part of the job. So, her fault, not yours. The fact that you put so much effort into the day proves ya won the challenge. Good on ya, Darcy!

    • Thanks, Ona! That makes me feel better. It’s so funny how quickly I went from a cheery “I am AWESOME at this hostessing thing” to a dismayed “holy crap, they can’t eat what I’m serving!” realization! Thank goodness for toast!

  13. ha ha hahaha!! OMG this would so happen to me! I love the line about committing hari-kari with the spatula!! I’m glad you took a step back and gained perspective. Well done mama.
    Allie recently posted..Year of Running 2013My Profile

    • ha! yeah, “death by spatula” would have been a pretty embarrassing way to exit this earthly realm!

  14. It’s interesting, I don’t have kids, and I’m not so much into food preparation–mainly because I suck at it, so it’s a good thing I don’t have kids because they would starve–but I totally felt your anxiety as I was reading this! And my mind definitely cycled through similar thoughts on your behalf… Especially the part about either notifying the playdate host in advance, or always carrying around the appropriate diet-restrictive food for my offspring!

    • glad I’m not the only one with hostess anxiety! :o)

    • Ha! Good idea to make a note to self, Herchel! Great idea to bring food with you – or alert the hostess to the allergies! :o)

  15. Pingback: SERIOUSLY? Lady, Yer Killin’ Me Here! | T...

    • Just read and commented on your Traumatic Ham post, Parri — very funny!

  16. Julie said:

    Good Save Darcy!

    Your only other option was a nice cup of air, if it is properly purified…

    I am with Phil, and probably older than him too, but it doesn’t seem like any of these things were real back then. An occasional allergy, usually to something the person/kid just absolutely LOVED. I am the youngest in my family and I truly believe that if it wasn’t for PBJ we never would have survived.. Lunch every day. on buttercrust bread. with whole milk. maybe some quik in the milk…

    • oh yes, we had some PBJ too — to break up the Oscar Mayer baloney monotony!
      sometimes we had peanut butter with MARSHMALLOW FLUFF which was super nutritious! :o)

  17. Paul said:

    Even all the superpowers of your alter ego, The Blue Octopus, couldn’t have helped in this situation….I see you are well versed in crisis management Darcy (Bring on the Oreos!).

  18. April said:

    Asking doesn’t always help. My daughter had a sleep over, and when the parents dropped the girl off, I asked if she was allergic or had any dietary restrictions. They said no and went on their way. So I cooked dinner as I normally would, although more kid-friendly. I think it was chicken strips, fries and green beans with bacon. Kids sat down, the girl looked at the food and said “Uh, I don’t eat meat. We’re vegetarian”.

    You would think the parents would have clued me in to that.

    • um YEAH — that IS a pretty significant fact that would have been nice to know! Crazy!

    • ONLY Dr. Pepper! That’s so funny! And so specific!
      Personally I love Diet Root Beer, which I have on hand for parties — but I also make sure to have all the more common sodas and juices (and wines) available too! :o)

    • You’re a very prepared mama! Your plan makes good sense — I wish more people shared that same good sense! :o)

  19. Clementina said:

    OMG I just flashed back to a similar situation a few years ago. The anxiety. I invited some friends over to have BBQ at my parents’ house (my parents were out of town and left me their house which was in the suburbs – pretty far from the city). Everyone shows up and we start grilling and opening some wine and beer, all is well and happy. My friend brought his roommate along and I’ve never met her before. She comes into the kitchen and tells me she’s vegan. I panic. I go through everything I’ve prepared and it’s all meat. The salads have either cheese or mayonnaise in it. I just can’t believe she didn’t bring anything or think to warn me. I try to think but there is no store nearby or anything… I think she ended up eating a tomato or something. And she was very happy with it. But I was hyperventilating for hours after this.

    • Ahhh! What kind of vegan shows up WITHOUT a salad in their purse? Come on people, help us out here! Just let us know your special dietary needs before you arrive and we’ll be happy to accommodate! Ah well, at least she had that yummy tomato! :)