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Blog: Organizing for Boomers
SUMMER FAMILY REUNIONS - Have Some of Yours been Pretty Crummy?



"Summertime – and the livin' is easy," sang Porgy and Bess many years ago. But maybe for you it doesn't look like it'll be easy if you're in charge of a family reunion.

I don't know whoever invented these gatherings of great get-alongs, but my husband and I have been hosting a week-long family reunion since the year 2000 and have learned a few things along the way.

Ours started innocently enough when we found ourselves continuously frustrated with our timeshare exchanges. No matter how pretty the photographs looked in the brochures, we always found ourselves at disastrous, dilapidating dumps. One day I finally suggested getting out of the quagmire of quirkiness by stopping all these pretend possibilities to paradise and invite his brother's family and his sister's family to our timeshare that is just blocks from our home.

With a couple of quick phone calls to check their schedules I went off to figure out how to do these exchanges and focused on weeks, not where. After securing the first date for the following summer I thought it best to reinforce the date with not only his brother and sister but also all their offspring, so no one would say they didn't know when it was happening.

How best to advertise this? An email or a voice message seemed so stuffy and so serious. So I started with silly greeting cards, cutting out the characters, adding their photos plus sayings and slogans befitting this group. The sillier the better became my motto of madness. My goal each year has been to get out about six of these notices. Some years I've done better than six and some years to get to six has been a stretch. Printed mailing labels have been wonderful, except when you're dealing with 20-somethings who tend to move a lot. Now that most are 30-somethings, we're hoping for less address changes.

I know what you're thinking. Couldn't you just send an ecard or some electronic message? I'm sure that's possible but I love the hunt of the crazy card. Plus I get them all created at once in the mountains after a day at the slopes and it is so fun.

The first couple of years I sent out surveys asking each relative to mark the places they wanted to go, rank the activities they wanted to participate in, and list their scheduled plans for each day. What I soon discovered was that this activity was too much like work for them and what they really wanted to do was plop on the beach.

We are lucky enough to live in Carlsbad, California where we have a wonderful ocean and all they want to do is sit and look at it, boogie board in it, or like my one brother-in-law drive by it on his way to Costco. That's his idea of FUN!

So now it's no more surveys or quizzes (I did that one year-an exam about specifics on each flyer-they were NOT happy) – now it's rest, relaxation, and revelry.

Now we plop and play, we eat and exercise, we wave run and wave ride. We bike ride and breakfast. Oops, I guess that's more eating. We karaoke and we cram as much nothing into the week as possible.

Every one of our reunions has been a crummy one. In fact, we are almost ready to kick off the Ninth Annual Crummy Reunion. That will start on the first day of summer, June 21. The final crummy flyers are ready for mailing, the dog is well-rested and waiting for everyone's arrival, and the dance music is revving up (We have photos of previous years with nieces dancing with lampshades on their heads).

It's hard to believe how quickly these nine years have zoomed by. I can't imagine how life would have been without these crummy reunions. Since these have started we've had several marriages. Babies have arrived on the scene (and keep arriving). Jobs have changed, careers completed and new ones begun. Surgeries have been successful for which we give thanks, plus too many moves to count.

Yet, each summer there is a date thrown out there, like a life raft. And for those who can make it we welcome you, crummy relative that you are. And for those that can't make it, we always save a place for you in the sand and hope that next summer finds you here.

We continue to count our blessings, even though all my husband's relatives are pretty crummy. So, go ahead, jump in and try a family get-together. It's not as tricky as you might think. It could be just a one-day event, or as simple as a picnic.

What's been important for each of us is getting to know each other better since we live all over the country. And for those of us who are the in-laws who act like outlaws it's fun to hear the stories of these crummy folks from their years of youth.

For one week a year we gather and giggle and let the angle of the sun determine our day, and for that one week a year we are young again.

All you Crummys, start packing-I'm turning up the music.

Signed,

Sue who used to be not crummy until she married one

www.theRedTeam.com

posted on: 6/13/2008 6:01:54 PM by Sue Crum
category: Special Populations


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Organizing for Boomers


by Sue Crum

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About Sue:

Sue Crum knows and understands the life of a Baby Boomer all too well. Having served as the filling of an Oreo cookie for many years, she has reinvented herself in San Diego as the owner of The R.E.D. Team, Reinventing Everyday Designs, doing professional organizing, real estate staging, and interior redesign.

Sue's Website:

www.theredteam.com




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