Tag Archives: House Guests

Folks, I am a bit of a thief.

No, I’m not referring to that one time in Barcelona (though I must say, the sheer amount of hate mail I got over that post was both unexpected and delightful).

My sticky-fingeredness occurs far more often than that. I steal from friends, from loved ones, from both those closest to me and those I’ve never met. Sometimes, it happens without me realizing it. Most of the time, though, it’s completely intentional.

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I figured I couldn’t take the piss out of my brother yesterday without taking a few moments to talk about what it means to be a gracious host. Because yes, opening up your home to someone is a wonderful and generous thing to do, but if you leave them so emotionally scarred that the cost of future therapy sessions will far outweigh what they would have spent on a hotel, it’s not at all worth it.

Here are my ten rules for making sure that your guests have a lovely vacation (and if it isn’t lovely, these rules will make sure they can’t blame you):

  1. Give them clean sheets. Not everyone has a spare bed (or spare bedroom). But even if someone has to sleep on the couch, a nice pristine sheet can make all the difference. Our host’s once graciously gave up their own bed for us, but after we climbed in, we realized the sheets had not been changed. I spent 2 hours the next day trying to wash someone else’s B.O. out of my hair. (Shudder).
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  2. Clean up communal areas. While no one expects your house to be spotless (it’s where you live, after all), take some care in cleaning up a bit before your guests arrive. Remove embarassing ointments and fungal creams from the dining room table. Secure whips and chains in the hall closet. Kindly ask your husband to put on pants. You know, that sort of thing.
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My brother just returned to the states (with his wife) from Hong Kong. They currently don’t have an apartment, and my brother is crashing on couches (both in San Diego and in Los Angeles) while looking for a new place. I sincerely feel sympathy for whoever is hosting him, because my brother is not the best of houseguests, and it’s something that no one in my family seems to call him on.

Case in point: Last visit down to S.D., my cousins and aunt were rendered nearly speechless by the fact that my brother made the guest bed he was sleeping in. I kid you not. And it wasn’t like the bed-making was recent. My brother wasn’t even around. They were just still impressed by the last time he made the bed, several months after the fact. They went on about it for hours (“He’s changed so much since getting married.” “He’s so responsible now!”). I, on the other hand, was chastised for not REPAINTING MY MOM’S HOUSE (both interior and exterior) singlehandedly. (more…)