The Chat: A few sentences on stays
JEN:2014 is the summer of the Koski houseguest. This week, my nephew is staying with us. This weekend, my mother-in-law arrives. Next week, it's friends from Wisconsin.
JENNY R:I love having company and hosting. It gives me a chance to cook and bake and make cool stuff.
JEN:I think I'm missing the "cooking for company" gene. If I can get the house cleaned up and enough food in the pantry, I call that good. And if it's my parents coming? I don't even worry about food. We'll take care of that when they get here.
JENNY R:That's funny, because I especially plan for my mom's trips here. Otherwise she'll sneak off to the store and buy tons of stuff.
MISSIE:I think Koski's mother-in-law does the same, doesn't she?
JEN:Yes. I think she thinks there are about 25 of us living in this house.
MISSIE:…who all need candy and Doritos.
JEN:Her reputation precedes her!
MISSIE:My only issue with houseguests is that it throws my "chi" off. I'm a little OCD about neatness, if you didn't know.
JEN:I think it depends on who's coming. There are different types of houseguests. There are the easy ones — like our friends from Wisconsin who don't care if I haven't made their beds yet.
JENNY R:Right. And then there are the guests who just let you wait on them while they sit and watch.
MISSIE:I don't mind that. It's that OCD again. I'm always shoving food and drink at people, anyway. And then, on Sunday morning before breakfast is done, I'm downstairs secretly stripping beds and starting laundry while they sip their coffee.
JENNY R:Well, it would be nice of this particular guest to at least OFFER to help once in a while.
JEN:I know what you're talking about, Rand — the ones who want to be served for days on end.
JENNY R:Or worse. We once had guests come to our old house, which was quite a bit smaller than our current house, and they brought their 70-pound dog — which they tied to my kitchen table, where it ate off my kids' plates. We didn't have a fenced yard, and the dog didn't like to be outside.
MISSIE:Stop it! Tied to the table?! That's disgusting.
JEN:I don't even know what to say about that. Did you ever have them back?
JENNY R:Well, yes. We are related.
JENNY R:Yes, there was poop, as well.
JEN:On the bright side, I think bad houseguests have taught me so much about being a good houseguest. I make sure to bring food, to help clean up, to strip my bed before I leave.
JENNY R:Right. I have my beds stripped, and if I know you well enough to sleep in your house, I know you well enough to start your washer.
MISSIE:I'm probably a crappy houseguest. I do bring food, but my idea of "helping" is mixing my host a Bloody Mary while she cooks me dinner.
JEN:We stay with our Wisconsin friends a couple times a year. The wife, Sara, set a precedent years ago that has made being their houseguest — or they, ours — a breeze. She lays out, right from the beginning, how long we're allowed to stay. It started when they lived in Rochester and we'd go over for dinner. "We'd like to invite you over from 5 to 8," she'd say. And then, at 7:30 that night, she'd say, "You have half an hour left." She was dead serious, but it was also hilarious. We'd all laugh like crazy, but we'd also leave at 8. She knew her limits!
MISSIE:I can relate! When I'm done, I'm done.
JENNY R:That's so funny. When I go to see my Mom, she wants me to stay forever. When she comes here, she never stays more than six days. When I was in treatment, she would come, stay her five or six days, go home, and then come back in two weeks and stay five or six days again.
JEN:My own dad has said, on a number of occasions — including once or twice while we were visiting their house — "Houseguests are like leftovers. They're only good for three days." Gee, thanks, Dad.
MISSIE:That makes you feel welcome.
JENNY R:Can a houseguest be family? I mean, is going "home" to your parents' house the same as staying at my house?
MISSIE:Oh gosh, no. I'm allowed to fart at my parents' house. Yours, probably not.
JENNY R:I don't even fart at my house.
MISSIE:Exactly my point.