Luncheon at the Boating Party


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Beauty, Children, Fashion, Humor, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 28-08-2012

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The invitation said “potluck” and “boating attire.” And “family welcome.”

A work party. At a home on a lake.

I should have read between the lines. WORK. Home on a LAKE. BOATING ATTIRE. In other words: FANCY. Not: Slip on some waterproof Keen sandals, bring the watermelon, and the dolphin-print beach towels under the arms of three over-excited children.

Potluck? That’s easy. I would make my broccoli-bacon-curried-almond salad. It’s yummy and a crowd pleaser. I chopped and mixed and tossed it into a Tupperware container. Done.

Attire? That’s easy. I wore my new purple Faded Glory peasant top. I bought it for $12 at Walmart–what a deal! It was bright and cheerful. Pair it with jeans. And my waterproof turquoise Keen sandals, of course. Perfect for a lake party.

Grab the kids’ swimsuits and beach towels. And we’re set.

My three kids in tow. Me with my Keens and cheap peasant blouse–which was feeling a little tight in all the wrong places–I was looking Lesbian-Frumpy Mom, all in one.

We show up. Ding dong. Were the watermelon wedges starting to slide off the tray? Were the kids a little over eager? Er, maybe the giant plastic bowl of broccoli salad didn’t look so pleasing after all.

You’d think we stepped into a Hollywood party. Everyone was in crisp white shirts and khaki linen pants. Ah, boating attire. That’s what that meant. Hors d’oeuvres and a yacht. Not hot dogs and cannonballs. My bad.

I was Faded Glory amidst the Ann Taylor crowd.

Pools of sweat began to puddle in my armpits. I made room for my homemade salad and watermelon wedges on the buffet table, amidst the hummus, fresh mozzarella with basil drizzled in olive oil, prosciutto, and charcuterie fare. I should have put my salad in my fancy Pier 1 bowl. Even the broccoli salad–though colorful and yummy–was not appropriately dressed. Dude! My salad didn’t seem to fit in either.

Then…splash! In jumped my kids into the lake, splashing the khaki linen crowd. “MOM! Did you see that cannonball?!” they yelled.

I grinned.

Yeah, we know how to make a splash, all right.

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Comments (52)

Kids can have fun anywhere! I hope you had some despite the Wal-mart attire and undressed salad. In all likelihood, you were probably the most comfortable. LOL.

Haha! I love reading your little life stories Pippi! Always entertaining πŸ˜‰

p.s., I bet you looked lovely!


I did that once, showed up to a party grossly underdressed. It still bothers me.

Oh Pippi. How I love thee. You, your kids, your life. It all rocks. You can bring your Tupperware-clad broccoli salad and Faded Glory to my house anytime!

We were definitely the most “colorful.” πŸ™‚


Aw, thanks! I was sausage-like in a hideously purple top. But my smile was lovely…it always is! πŸ™‚


I tend to do this on a regular basis. Except for the outdoor concert I went too a few weeks ago. I was in a dress and heels and everyone was in shorts. Can’t win!

Thanks for writing,

Awesome…and thank you! You supply the Red Vines and it’ll be a complete meal!


Cute! I would not have understood “boating attire” either. Sheesh.

I love the last line that you know how to make a splash. Your humor and positive attitude serves you well. I’ve been there, maybe we all have, and the embarrassment threatens to make us run. You evoked it nicely.

Sheesh is right! At least my kids had a lovely time and they could give a flying fish how they were dressed!


Oh thank you so much! So nice to hear.

I’m realizing (kinda late) that it’s OK to be different. πŸ™‚


I love the impact belly flop photo!!



This is pretty fantastic. My parents are from South Africa where “costume” means “swim suit.” One time when I was a kid my dad’s company picnic was a “costume party.” Awkward. But they had a pool so from my perspective at the time it was the best. party. EVER. Great post!

Boating attire around here is a life jacket and whatever you wore when you got to the lake. You’d fit in perfectly with our set…

And I hope that you had fun despite the oops!

Haha! Lost in translation, eh? Reminds me of Brigitte Jones and she shows up wearing a Playboy bunny outfit.

Thanks for sharing and for the smile!

Your party atmosphere sounds way more fun (and comfy)!


I seem to do this, too. I can never hit the right level of formal. So I gave up ages ago and I please myself. Of course that’s easy to say when I’m a stay at home mom…

I never seem to dress quite right. I am missing the style gene I guess. πŸ™‚ Woman who can pull off scarves and belts–impressive–while I seem to be in jeans and a hoodie and for work: slacks and some top that never looks quite right either. But you’re right, pleasing yourself is best…so make my waistbands comfy! πŸ™‚

Thanks for writing,

Oh, this was completely delightful! I would have done the exact same! I love the part about the salad not being properly dressed πŸ™‚

Great post!

This is why I hate going out in public. I once was invited to a non-holiday-themed holiday party and asked to dress “snappy casual.” Go ahead and try to figure that one out because I was there and I still don’t know.

Hope the party was great in spite of everything!

I bet you ROCKED that Faded Glory peasant shirt. Faded Glory is even better when you GET IT AT THE GOODWILL. Great story πŸ™‚

My younger self totally felt your underdressed pain but my older self would rather be comfortable. Every. Single. Time.

Oh thank you! Yeah, my salad and I were sorta twins. πŸ™‚

Thanks for writing!

Haha! An even better deal! Take that Ann Taylor.


Snappy casual sounds far too cool and snappy for me!

Pass me a drink (and make it snappy) and who cares what I am wearing!


You are so right.

Good advice!

I would much rather be at a party you throw than that stuffy party. Sounds like you guys are casual and a lot of fun.

I bet you had more fun than anyone there (or at least your kids did)! I wouldn’t have known boating attire either, but this post will pop up whenever anyone Googles the phrase in the future. Think of all the people your post will help! Great story!

I would definitely invite you! “Wear whatever.”


Your comment about “think of all the people your post will help” made me laugh.

Thanks for that!

This totally cracked me up! I’ll tell you what, if my family were at that party, we would have been cannonballing right along with you guys. You know how to have fun!

This line had me almost peeing my pants:
“Me with my Keens and cheap peasant blouse–which was feeling a little tight in all the wrong places–I was looking Lesbian-Frumpy Mom, all in one.”

Well done, Pip!

I’m picturing a room full of The Howells from Gilligan’s Island.

Boating Attire? Who says that?

I’d much rather be at a fun lake party than a Thurston Howell the Third boating party.

Thank you! Yeah, I bet we’d have a blast!

Glad you liked my self-description. That’s how I roll…


The Howells! That is a perfect description, Dah-ling!


I LOVE that picture. We, too, have a summer place on the lake but if you showed up to our house in a crisp white shirt and pressed khakis, you might get accidentally pushed in (if we knew you well). We are lucky to make it out of swimsuits and a soapy lake bath is always considered clean. And I’d love that recipe! Loved this story!

I am all for lake baths…and know for a fact that Ivory soap floats. πŸ™‚

I don’t really have a recipe (chopped raw broccoli, mayo, curry powder, chipotle powder, garlic, salt, chopped cooked bacon, raisins, sliced almonds).

Thanks much!

You were being yourself, Pippi. There’s something to be said for that, Ann Taylor be damned.

Aw, too true.

Thanks for the reinforcement!

Oh no – I bet your heart just sank when you saw how the rest of the crowd was dressed – but you always dress really cute, so I’m sure you were just fine! πŸ™‚ Were there any boat rides on the lake? Any other kids there?

Aw, you’re sweet. Yeah there were other kids there and that made everything OK. πŸ™‚

Your answer shows real inenlligtece.

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