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Old 02-05-2012, 09:04 PM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,947,987 times
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I think a number of people on this thread belong in an episode of Desperate Housewives. All this drama, stress, and indignation because someone tries to organize a nice gesture for some neighbors that happens not to be to your liking? You could have cooked a meal in the time spent debating here. Or, better yet, called Giant, ordered a tray of sandwiches, picked it up, and dropped it off. (Although I do agree the request for three meals worth was excessive.)

Next time, just say "yes, find out what kind of pizza (or Chinese food) they like and what time they like to eat and I'll have one delivered."
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
2,187 posts, read 6,800,428 times
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I agree with a lot of the posts. My neighbors started something similar right before we had our daughter. Luckily, I heard about it from someone on the schedule and stopped it. I thought it was a nice gesture, but frankly didn't know any of the neighbors well enough (some on the list I had never even met) to accept their generosity. Like others have posted, I couldn't wait to get out of the house. I don't know if it is just a NOVA thing, but it did make me feel like I was living on Wisteria Lane. I guess I see the point of doing the meal scheduling if someone is truly ill and without support. But, for a baby, I would think that offering to run errands, help with household chores, and things that really don't cost money would go a long way. The nicest thing that one of my neighbors did for me was help me wash and fold the huge amount of laundry that my little girl somehow created. Not only did it help me get things done, but I learned a few better ways to fold all of that baby stuff.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:11 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
1,261 posts, read 5,041,565 times
Reputation: 719
There's no way I'd let someone force/tell me what to do as a gift for a neighbor. I also wouldn't feel bad about not contributing to what they deem as a proper gift or gesture. Do what you want and don't feel bad either way.

When I brought my son home 2 years ago today (he's adopted and wasn't a baby then), no one brought me any food. LOL However, the next door neighbor did shovel the 3 feet of snow off my side of the driveway so we could at least get the car into the garage after being trapped in a hotel room with a 5 year old for 2 days in NYC.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:32 AM
 
16,026 posts, read 19,540,509 times
Reputation: 26180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
I would love to get some advice if I could.

We have some neighbors down the street who are expecting their second child in a week or so. They're very nice, and we're loosely friends with them. I say "loosely" because we've been to each other's houses once each, although we run into them frequently on the street. We like them a lot, but we're not close, and they politely declined our last offer to do something together (schedule conflict) and haven't followed up.

Two female neighbors came up with the idea that everyone should cook for the couple and their existing child after the baby is born. The proposal is that each family each cook a meal that would last them three nights, so that dinners for the six weeks after the birth are covered. The two organizers have asked folks (via e-mail) to pick a night on which to provide this dinner, which is supposed to be enough for three nights.

My wife and I both work full-time and seldom even cook for ourselves. (We eat a lot of takeout.) Additionally, my wife has health issues, and her job is very high-stress, and so she's especially tired in the evenings. So as you can imagine, the cooking idea is a tall order for us. The two women who came up with this idea to my knowledge don't work full-time, so what seems like a very doable idea to them would be a real burden for us and perhaps for others as well.

Also, I'm from the South, and providing meals to a neighbor when there's a death in the family is customary--but a baby? I've never heard of that. It's not like a baby is a surprise. Besides, will they really want to eat the same thing three nights in a row? And what about food allergies or dislikes?

As far as their dinners, I would imagine that after the baby comes, they would probably just do what we do all the time for dinner--eat takeout, frozen dinners, leftovers from lunch, etc. Or have food delivered. And they do have family in the DC region who could bring food to them. We'd be happy to drop off a store-bought dessert, perhaps--we already gave a baby gift--but feeding a family for three days because they had a baby? It sounds like something out of "Little House on the Prairie."

So we're trying to think of a way to politely opt out without seeming like we're just lazy or uncaring. The e-mail was sent openly to a list of several households, so not responding will be obvious. (The way they did this leaves us feeling a little pressured.) That would also leave the ones who do cook scrambling to fill one of the date periods. I've suggested to my wife that she simply e-mail the two women organizing this effort and say that while it's a generous gesture, we really don't feel up to it, for the reasons I stated above. (Otherwise, they may wonder why we haven't picked one of the proposed set of cooking dates.)

Does that sound like a good response?

Thanks for any thoughts.
I agree. My Daughter (just 40) throws out left overs, would never consider eating same thing for three nights. Better option would be one night, and two nights packed for freezer, if they have room?? One night, one main dish best. Also, specifically for you....why not a couple of gift certificates, Hubby could pick up on way home from work.
I wouldn't surprise this poor woman, who will have enough to do, with all these meals, and storage problems.
Maybe her mom is coming and planning to cook. I think dinner gift certificates from all of you all is best plan. Seems a bit pushy of all the other neighbors, especially if they aren't really close friends. Nice thought....but limit to one meal/one gift certificate per neighbor, over the course of the week, at most. Other than that, I would certainly ask the hubby at least what they like to eat, and buy certificate, or make a main dish. Be brave and send an email back stating what your plans are, and cc it to all participants...there may be a couple others that would opt out too...Then the two can be mad at all of you, not just one neighbor...lol

Last edited by JanND; 02-06-2012 at 04:38 AM.. Reason: rewrite
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:39 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,735 posts, read 8,929,677 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HEATHER72 View Post
Ahhh... life on Wisteria Lane.
Just to be clear: I am the studly plumber guy.

Thanks for the additional responses.

It's really not as dramatic as I may have made it sound. The two organizer ladies are both nice, and we get along with them. One is just very type-A. Her heart's definitely in the right place. But when I cook for others, their stomach an hour later might not be.
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:42 AM
 
10,593 posts, read 12,069,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Just to be clear: I am the studly plumber guy.

Thanks for the additional responses.

It's really not as dramatic as I may have made it sound. The two organizer ladies are both nice, and we get along with them. One is just very type-A. Her heart's definitely in the right place. But when I cook for others, their stomach an hour later might not be.

Yep, some people are great but they can get very misguided. I see it a lot with functions that get planned at work. There's usually enough people around to rein them in, but probably not in this case. They are great people, but sometimes their vision gets a little grandiose.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Vienna, NoVA
171 posts, read 264,238 times
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What an interesting thread! There are many good suggestions here and I agree with some. Personally, I am for healthy eating, so may I suggest putting a basket together with some fruits and veggies? You may also add healthy bread, good tea, juice, or similar healthy items? But without knowing people’s taste, it may not fully work. People may not like it, will throw it away – and I personally hate seeing waste of food.

We are all different. In my home, we cook almost every day, but this is probably because of my European roots/habits. We almost do not eat processed and fast foods, pizzas, etc. So suggested pizzas or gift cards to restaurants can be a good idea for some people, but for others, it may not be always welcome. Also, some people may not eat what was cooked by other people - unless they know those people. No offense to anybody, but how do I know that the person/cook washed her/his hands before cooking? Or what if that person played with her/his dog, did not wash hands and then went right back to cooking?

Carlingtonian, you sound like a nice person and I believe that the way you decide to write your reply (using ChristineVA’s suggestion, or “Ms. Manners”, i.e. Toosie’s reply or others), it will be classy and polite. We do want to do the right things and help. But we are not 16 y.o. anymore, and in some situations, no need to really stress it because of what others may wrongly think about our behavior. Good-luck!
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:20 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,735 posts, read 8,929,677 times
Reputation: 3857
RusUs, thanks for your thoughts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RusUs View Post
... may I suggest putting a basket together with some fruits and veggies? You may also add healthy bread, good tea, juice, or similar healthy items?
This might just edge out the bagel-basket idea. After all, who doesn't like apples and oranges? And there aren't any flavors to worry about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RusUs View Post
In my home, we cook almost every day...
I make instant coffee most weekdays.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RusUs View Post
Or what if that person played with her/his dog, did not wash hands and then went right back to cooking?
You say that like it's a bad thing. Growing up, there was a saying: "Dogs are cleaner than people." In retrospect, I have no idea who came up with that bit of lunacy or why I believed it at the time. But I have a killer immune system. (I did get Parvo once.)

(Just kidding.)
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,319,322 times
Reputation: 6895
I mentioned this thread when I spoke to my SIL earlier, the one who does cook for people, but people she knows... Anyway, she thought that the gesture was nice, but the organization is too much, since she will review meals with the recipients before she shops or cooks, and/or will even prepare special dishes for them.

One off-beat item that I thought of as a potential gift, and did an informal poll of some moms before posting it as a suggestion, would be to get a FlipFold Jr. from the Container Store. It's a folding board for the laundry, just like the full-size model, but designed for a child's clothing. Everything is folded uniformly and it makes the laundry go much faster on the folding end, and helps to maximize storage in a dresser. And, it's something that they can use for a while. Add in a bottle of hypo-allergenic baby laundry detergent, and it's another basket idea that is not perishable.

And, here I was thinking that this was a scheming group of Machiavellian Moms who were in control of the street, and Carlingtonian was going to have issues like Larry vs. the Girl Scouts, for not complying with their decrees...
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Leesburg
154 posts, read 389,469 times
Reputation: 118
You should also look on the bright side of things...at least your neighbors seem nice. When my neighbor recently had a baby she was going in through the front door (baby in one arm, baby bag in the other) and her dog slipped out. Her dog is a very small, friendly dog and was just running around excitedly. Her next door neighbor immediately yelled that her dog was on their lawn and to remove the dog from their lawn. Needless to say, no one talks to those neighbors...total jerks.
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