Why would anyone want to open their house to people they donâ€™t know and not even get paid for it! Believe me, I asked myself that question many times (and my husband asked it even more) over the months between saying â€œSure, why not?â€ to the TERA (The Eagle Rock Association) President, Bob Gotham, and â€œWelcome, come on inâ€ to our guests.
What a lot of work! Why would anyone want to open their house to people they don't know and not even get paid for it! Believe me, I asked myself that question many times (and my husband asked it even more) over the months between saying "Sure, why not?" to the TERA (The Eagle Rock Association) President, Bob Gotham, and "Welcome, come on in" to our guests.
We were one of the hosts for the "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" fundraiser which was held last night. We were flattered into doing it by our friend and TERA President, Bob Gotham, who made it sound like just a fun dinner we would host on one day in spring, which at that time was many months away.
We decided it would be a good excuse to do some freshening up around the place. We had visions of having all the landscaping done, all the trim and decks re-stained, all the clutter nicely removed from every room including our office. Oh, the dreams and visions we had. As the months went by, we even talked about it, that we would have the office done at last. Such dreams we had!
But as the time drew nearer, life intervened as it always does. We questioned why we ever agreed to do this. Would we be ready? Would anyone sign up for our dinner? Was there any point to all our preparations?
My husband valiantly worked on the landscaping and outside decks. He re-stained some of them and discovered termite damage and dry rot. Our simple plan was becoming complicated. We couldn't replace all the wood at this point, there was no time. Oh, well. It would still look better with some new stain around the front entry.
We had had a test dinner a couple of months previously to see if our very simple menu would be considered worthwhile. That worked. It was a very good step in the preparations, by the way. When I was asking myself every 5 minutes over the last few days if anyone was going to like it, I could look back and say, well, those guests loved it. It gave me the courage to go on.
As the big day drew near and life became busier, a few projects were shelved. We remembered we have a door to the office and we could throw everything in there and shut the door. Whew! A life-saving idea. All the extra books jammed in the book shelves were packed into boxes to be sorted later.
We made lists. We checked them off. Some people became a little cranky as the day loomed closer (I'm not going to say who). We had the windows washed, the whole house cleaned, new bed linens on the beds, a new dining room table and chairs (it was a sit-down dinner, so we couldn't have our guests stuck on the chairs I had hated for years).
My menu included food that was as locally grown and purchased as possible. TERA negotiated discounts for us at Figueroa Produce and the Colorado Wine Company, which was great since I had planned to shop at those places anyway! Did you know that Figueroa Produce has a great meat market? The steaks were fabulous, and incredibly well-priced. And John at CoWineCo helped me pick just the right wines to go with the salad, the steaks, even the berries and ice cream! I also shopped at our local Friday Farmer's Market and no one can have a dinner party without going to Trader Joe's for something. One of the guests was so thoughtful and sent over a floral arrangement from our local botanical design shop, Pollen.
Finally, the big day was here. Yesterday. I focused on my list, checked off each item to be done, and finished with a few minutes time to spare to go to the reception at a home nearby. I was curious, who was coming to all these dinners?
I'm so glad I went. The Nogueira's house was beautifully decked out, there were wine and appetizers, and I heard that about 140 tickets (at $75 each) were sold for the event. What a nice donation for TERA! Everyone who was anyone in Eagle Rock was at the reception. What was really fun was meeting up with a number of other dinner hosts and comparing notes on the things we'd "gotten" out of the event; one person remodeled his bedroom, another a bathroom, another had all the ceilings in the house cleared of "cottage cheese." I bought all new bed linens and a dining room set. I'm looking forward to the thank you party that TERA is hosting for the dinner hosts so I can find out more of what people did to prepare.
The dinner went off fine. Everyone showed up and was good company. It was nice to meet people that were new to the community as well as long-time residents and that made for some great conversation. We were helped by a couple of Key Club members from Eagle Rock High School who volunteered as part of their participation in this branch of the Kiwanis service organization. They helped serve and clean up and were really interesting people as well. Eagle Rock has a number of community service organizations and they serve such an important function in our town. It's especially important that they have a system in place to bring young people into the community in a positive way.
So if you are ever asked to donate your home for a charity event and you wonder, what's in it for me? Here's what I have found so far: