Monday, September 24, 2007

How to be a Good Houseguest

This weekend a good friend of our family proved that not all houseguests are in the stressful, demanding category.

Don't get me wrong; I love my family and friends, and with two states between clans, houseguests are a necessary evil. Opening one's home is an exercise in hospitality, and I consider myself a hospitable person. If I enjoy someone's company, it only follows that an extended visit should be an extended joy.

If only.

First, there are the children. Most of our friends and family have young children, who are bound to be crabby from the disruption in their daily life. Then there is the matter of meshing schedules between them and my younger children. Invariably, their naptime coincides with my children's jumping-on-the-couch-and-screaming time. Then there is the childish bickering and parental side taking. And on and on. However long-awaited the visit, all sides are happy to see it come to a close.

Then there are the pets. Dog people just cannot leave Poochie behind, even if Poochie is chronically incontinent and has a history of biting small children. Add to this that my children are afraid of dogs.

Last, the surprises. You will not realize that your sister-in-law snores or that your best friend gargles loudly at precisely 3:34 AM until you are sharing a domicile. After 3 days, all habits become annoying habits.

My husband's best friend took a giant leap toward my good side when he arrived without children or pets. Well, okay, he was already on my good side, but now he has some serious real estate between him and my last nerve.

Then he proceeded to be funny and tolerant for the entire long weekend. He put up with my kids, who followed him like paparazzi. He praised my cooking, which the rest of the household takes for granted. He gave us a good excuse to drive around the area and just look at stuff. He raved about the food I bought from the farmer's market.

I was honestly sorry to see him go. But all good things must come to an end, and, truth be told, I think we annoyed the hell out of him.

On a side note, I stopped by the Grocery Outlet and picked up a case of Fruitabu organic snacks and lots of other healthy goodies. They aren't local, but one could argue that buying salvage and/or factory seconds is the next best thing. I spent under twenty-three dollars for five grocery bags of organic food--can't beat that! If you have a Grocery Outlet near you, check them out for organic foods that can't be bought from local suppliers.