Friday, August 19, 2011

Betty on the Subject of Houseguests

Here at Huis van der Stevejinck we've had a boatload of extra people (for the past 6ish weeks). They were all welcome...four adult children, two spouses and four grandchildren. For the most part it's been great, but ten plus three... (Dr. van der Stevejinck, me and youngest son)...well, we've pretty much been filled to the rafters. And maybe a little bit over. My oldest son was only here for a week - he left over a week ago, my daughter and her family flew back to South Carolina this morning, so we're down to only three extras - those will be leaving in a couple of weeks.

All of my guests this summer have been welcome - very welcome - but I have had some less welcome guests at one time or another (I'm not naming names here).

There are several examples of unwelcome guests in The Canon (most notably Marcia from The Fifth Day of Christmas, although technically she might not be considered a guest since she was recovering from a slight case of polio).

So, here are my questions: How long is too long for guests? How many is too many?


  1. Betty van den BetsyAugust 19, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    There are no rules regarding number and timing, just regarding degree of nuisance. The high-maintenance family member with wild kids gets one night on the way to somewhere else. The broken-hearted, beloved friend can have three days of weeping on the couch and being brought tissues, tea and movies, and then gets to move into the guest room for a month or more (but only one weeping bought per day). Low-maintenance friends or family with darling children are a joy forever, but never stay more than a week -- that's part of what keeps them low-maintenance.

    No more than three people per bathroom for stays of more than two days.

  2. "No more than three people per bathroom for stays of more than two days."

    Was that last line a rhyming couplet? Can I get it cross-stitched into the guest linen with hearts and flowers?

  3. Betty van den BetsyAugust 21, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    What-stitched into a what with what? Not by me, swee-ee-tie (rhymes). True story: I'm standing in a fabric store, clutching my bolt. Woman behind me asks what my project is. "Curtains," I chirp, all domestic and stuff; she asks what kind of curtains, or something. "Just the kind with a channel at the top for the curtain rod," I answer. "Oh," she says. "But you do know how to make proper curtains, don't you?"

    Apparently, I don't.

  4. Oh dear. Proper curtains. And all this time I've thought my scrunched up little valances were the last word in nursery decorating. I should have been executing them with lining and box pleats and those wicked-looking metal hooks.

    That kind of woman is the absolute limit. I hope your curtains are killer.