Tag Archives: children

Tips to Keep YOU from looking like a Clueless Jackass

Now that we’re in the New Year and have suffered through another holiday season of visitors or visiting, I thought I’d post some handy tips for those of you raised in a barn.

When visiting someone’s home…

1.     Come bearing a gift. This, people, is called a HOSTESS GIFT. This does not mean you come bearing Hostess baked goods. I don’t mean Twinkies, Ho Hos, or Ding Dongs. I mean flowers, a bottle of wine, sea salt caramels, a book, whatever. A thoughtful gift for your host.

2.     With children – keep a tight rein on your brat, I mean child. Some people own breakables. Breakables which are precious to them and they put on high shelves on their armoire only to have some brat come along and smack them to the floor, thus breaking the head off the purple ceramic bunny their child made for them five years earlier. (*true story*) “Oh, no, don’t worry about it…” they’ll say with tears in their eyes. YES, worry about it. Contain your brats. Leash them if you must. Leashes can be found at the front door and can be purchased for $5. Please speak to your hostess once you’ve stowed your luggage.

3.     Offer assistance with preparations. This shows that you’re interested in the trouble they’re going through to feed you. If they decline, don’t argue. Just go have a seat like they asked. They’re being gracious, your job is to be grateful.

4.     Join in conversation, don’t dominate it. No one likes a monopolizer.

5.     Don’t bring up topics that are contentious. This could be politics, religion, or especially something your hosts are in disagreement about. If you bring up a topic with the intention of stirring the pot, you are a pot stirrer. People don’t like pot stirrers. They spit in your tea when you act like a jerkface.

6.    Take your dishes to the sink after meals. Rinse them and put them in the dishwasher. If this bothers your hostess or you get tutted away and told to sit, once again, do so.

7.     Clean up after yourselves. This is especially true when spending the night. Make your beds, tidy the bedroom and bathroom. If it’s your final day, remove sheets from the bed and towels from bathroom. Put in hamper or on washer. Ask for fresh linens to put out. I always use whatever cleaning products they have visible in bathroom and clean my way out. I like to leave the place as sparkling as it was when I first entered.

8.     Compliment your host on their food, home, taste, whatever. This shows you didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.

9.     When you’re staying multiple days, take the host out to a meal. PAY FOR SAID MEAL. This is another sign that you’re grateful for their hospitality.

10.    …I can’t say this enough…It bears repeating: CONTAIN YOUR CHILD. Don’t, for instance, let the child wander off to the bathroom and disappear for long periods of time without your watchful eye. When this happens, the hostess may pass by the bathroom a short while later only to find he’s used her good hand towel in place of toilet paper and wiped himself on it. (*true story*) Fecal matter is pretty much a deal breaker. Pack up and leave.

*** My original post yesterday failed to include the following 2 tips. You’re welcome. ***

11.    Keep to your host’s schedule. If they’re early risers, try not to sleep in until noon. If they go to bed early, don’t stay up all hours of the night blasting television or rap music.

12.    Once home, always, ALWAYS send a thank you note for them having hosted you.

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No, Really, They’re Still There

The number of ants inexorably marching across the ledge in my son’s bedroom has lessened. The ones that remain seem confused and/or bored. The way they stop, mid-stride, look around, and go back the way they came without having accomplished anything reminds me of the movements my husband makes when I send him to the store with a grocery list consisting of feminine hygiene products. It also reminds me of my advancing years. I will stand, purposely set off down the hall at a fairly fast clip (clearly what I’m going to do is so important, even the dog moves aside) but by the time I get to the end of the corridor, I’ve forgotten what I was going there for. No, no, it wasn’t important after all. I obviously just meant to get in some crucial hallway exercise. Burn a calorie. Yes, that’s it.

That’s my “A ha!” moment. So I’ll go back from whence I came, plop back down, and immediately meet a reminder. Oh. I was going to get my wallet…

Do these ants have that A ha! moment? Is that why they’ve spun back around? Or were they really so bored they couldn’t plod on in that direction one more millimeter? That reminds me of a job I once had. Day in and day out, watching the clock, counting the minutes until I could bolt from my seat. Wave goodbye to the crazy train for one more day. Go home and seek comfort from the dust motes floating through the air, the heavy layer of dust covering the furniture. Do you know if you allow it to settle that thickly you can let your children doodle in it? Aww, precious doodles. You’re welcome.

I used to have a friend who would come over and grimace at the toys covering the floor. The complete chaos my house was in. I remember feeling so inadequate! Why couldn’t I work full-time, be a mom, and also have a spotless house like she did? Looking back, I’m sad to think of the hours I toiled, cleaning, scrubbing, disinfecting – all the while, my kids were growing up, not caring whether our living room looked like a page from Architectural Digest or a Red Cross Hurricane Relief ad. When my friend passed in 2005, I had a major A ha! moment. My house hasn’t been spotless since. I wouldn’t waste countless hours of my life scrubbing away the last vestiges of my offspring’s childhoods.

Toys are not in abundance anymore. They’ve grown, but their stuff still litters corners of the living room. Dirty socks. Half empty glasses of chocolate milk that may or may not have been licked by the dog. Candy wrappers. I once found an apple core between the sofa cushions. I don’t care. As long as it isn’t smack dab in the middle of the corridor, interfering with my memory loss hallway exercise, they’re welcome to the space. That’s one less spot I’ll have to clean.