With arms outstretched...

Compartment 14B

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Handling visitors in the early days.

2008-06-22 - 2:35 p.m.

I cannot believe that June is fading fast already and Canada Day (July 1st) is just around the corner. Weíre thinking of inviting people here for Canada Day (we've never had a housewarming and people want the chance to meet Biscuit) but Iím wrestling with how to word the invitation so that people will feel welcome to show up, have some food, maybe take a dip in the pool, but then leave again. In other words, I want them to visit, but I donít think I want a whole houseful of people to show up and stay for the entire day. Is that wrong of me?

For starters, Jís friends and mine donít really mix. We had a Canada Day party a few years ago and my friends showed up with food to share, stayed for a bit, then headed out. It was a steady trickle in and out for most of the day. Jís friends mostly showed up with their own booze (nobody brought so much as a bag of chips to contribute), took over our backyard for the day, and basically froze out my friends.

I mean, I kind of get it: Jís group is just that, a group. They all know each other. My friends all know me, but donít really know each other, so they donít have a lot of incentive to just hang out together and interact. And Jís friends are a hard group to crack: theyíve all known each other forever and have the inside scoop on the jokes and stories that have evolved over the years. Still, I donít really feel like a repeat of that past Canada Day, especially not with a less-than-1-month-old baby and a demanding toddler in the house.

So, what Iím thinking is something along the lines of sending an email saying weíll be at home receiving visitors, and if the weather is good weíll have the BBQ on and the pool open and people should feel welcome to drop by. Iím going to avoid mention of ďpartyĒ. Do you think thatíll do the trick? Do you have any other ideas? Would doing this by evite be a bad idea since thatíll look too much like an invitation to an all-day gathering? How do I make sure people feel welcome to visit, but not to settle in and stay for the entire day?

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