We have house guests this week. Having house guests is a unique opportunity, not only to tidy things up around the house, but to see our surroundings through new eyes and to deeply appreciate the fact that we have created a truly charming, inviting, and sometimes downright creepy environment.
When we look carefully, we see items all over the house that we usually never notice. Why is there a sponge wedged into the radiator next to the kitchen sink? Why is there a dirty crumpled wash cloth on the floor between the kitchen sink and the radiator, something we have never noticed before?
A can of ant spray is prominently displayed on the bottom shelf of the open pantry. Our pantry is, apparently, Command Central for the Western Empire of the Ants, and we must be ever-vigilant. But will a house guest see the ant spray in as positive a light as we do?
I always wonder what guests think when they see food items in our refrigerator that are usually stored in cabinets or pantries. We must keep anything not canned or unused out of the pantry (see paragraph above).
The bathroom soap looks highly suspicious, as though pieces of some unknown and distasteful substance have been captured in it. The reality is that the fancy decal on the expensive soap is slowly dissolving and small pieces are migrating to other areas of the soap.
A hairbrush sits atop a pile of clean towels, next to the sink. It’s always there, within easy reach. Yet, seen through a guest’s eyes, the hairbrush can take on a meaning other than a handy personal grooming tool: “I will be using a towel that has served as a nest for a hairbrush that looks as though it has never been cleaned in all the time that the owner has been growing hair.”
The toilet seat has two tiny worn areas on it, strategically placed so that they fool even us, on occasion, into thinking they are something other than worn areas. Should we put a note on the toilet tank to alert guests that the toilet seat really is clean?
We think there may be cat hair clinging to the shower curtain.
There is cat hair all over the guest comforter. Worse, there is a cat all over the guest comforter. Even worse than that, this cat belongs to us and the cat believes the comforter belongs to her, and said houseguest is allergic to cats. We have already been informed that, when our guest attempted to relocate the cat, she started “spitting and hissing.”
We are never quite sure what, exactly, happens when someone is using the guest shower and someone else flushes a toilet or runs water in the sink. But we do know it isn’t good.
The floor lamp in the guest bedroom has never worked but looks nice and so we keep it in the corner.
There are probably more items that we aren’t even aware of but that guests will have an uncanny way of discovering. I asked Now Husband to make sure the guest bathroom was tidy and he said he did. I forgot to double-check. Our guests have gone to a museum and I just ran upstairs to look at the bathroom. Alas, as I feared, I should have double-checked before they arrived.
I will try not to fret too much. Our allergic-to-cats houseguest is most likely far too consumed with her deteriorating physical state to spend much time in judgment over her accommodations
about the writer:
Renee’s entire life has been formed by her naturally curly hair and her having topograpanosia, a real disorder of the frontal lobe that results in a complete inability to orient herself in space, as well as an inability to remember people’s names. Because of this disorder, she gets lost a lot. If you see her wandering around anywhere, don’t call anyone. Just get her ice cream. That will calm her down. For the hair, there’s not much you can do.
She is, indeed, a former hula hoop champion, as well as the co-author of two books for women over 50. They are Invisible No More: The Secret Lives of Women Over 50 and Saving the Best for Last: Creating Our Lives After 50. She is also a Featured Blogger on Huffington Post.
If you are a very important publisher, a wealthy donor, or if you would like Renee and her co-authors to speak or lead a workshop for your group or organization, you can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.