Surviving House Guests
We all have to face house guests in this world, most show up uninvited or at the spur of the moment. There are ways to handle this situation and make their stay painless for both of you.
Weekend guests can be a drag. They leave the lights on, show up later for breakfast and expect to be waited on. This is a checklist for the clever host or hostess who graciously but firmly takes charge and doesn't let guests become a nuisance.
Be a benevolent dictator. The host or hostess has the right not to be put upon. If someone is caging an invitation when you'd rather be alone, suggest another time. Set the dinner hour at a time that's most convenient for you.
If you live without servants, tell guests what you want them to do. Pack the picnic lunch, bring in firewood. You'll resent them if they're having fun and you're not.
Don't let food preparation become a chore. Plan ahead to have options if you decide to spend the afternoon on the boat instead of in the kitchen. Have a dish you can pull out of the freezer, or fish or chicken that will cook by itself in the oven or crockpot and maybe yield leftovers for other meals.
Involve visitors in preparation and cleanup. If guests volunteer to bring a house gift, ask for food. If guests have special diets that vary radically from your own, give them the responsibly for supplying and preparing the food.
Give guests a kitchen tour and coffee-making instructions so they can fend for themselves when they wake up.
Present your own fixed responsibilities and activities. Don't be embarrassed to do something without your guests.
Set up a way to communicate changes in schedules and important information (a corkboard for messages, and answering machine, etc.)
Encourage independence. Supply maps, guidebooks, extra keys. And provide alarms clocks, local newspaper extra bicycles.