The eclipse is coming on Monday, and we here in Oregon in the path of totality are calling it the apoceclipse which turns out to be fairly accurate. There are gas shortages. The stores can’t restock fast enough and have apparently run out of some goods already. Traffic is at a standstill. The state has declared a state of emergency, ostensibly so government services can cooperate without the usual red tape getting in the way, but really because the end is near and they’re hoping we won’t panic.
As for our part, we’ve made sure we’re stocked on potato chips and beer, so I’m feeling good about our survival strategy.
We have friends flying in tomorrow from Great Britain for the event. They’ve been planning for 2 years, and we suckered them into staying with us while they’re here. We technically haven’t met — only on the internet — but I’m forcing them to be my friends anyway. My friends I see in the flesh used to think I was insane, traveling the world to see folks I’ve only previously met online, once in a parking garage in Vegas because that’s not dangerous, but by now I’ve convinced enough people to crash with us — people they’ve come to love — that they see my brilliance now. And that’s all I’ve ever asked of them, really: SUCCUMB TO MY BRILLIANCE, ADMIT I’M INSANE BUT ALSO STRANGELY RIGHT.
So our friends we haven’t met are coming tomorrow, and they’re fancy because they’re Brits. Everyone knows Brits are fancy. Also, proper. Also, have manners. Also, really excellent posture. And so we’ve been cleaning house to prepare. Not because we’re eager to lie about how we live, but because we don’t want them to catch the Black Plague. I mean, we’ve built our immunity to the diseases lurking in filth and squalor, but we ought not make the mistake of believing that just because our immune systems are made out of titanium, theirs are, too.
We’ve been cleaning, in other words. But sort of Woolsey half-assed style. Which is to say, we did some cleaning but not all the cleaning, and now we’ve quit and decided that’s good enough. We’re hoping clean sheets and one clean bathroom (we shall ban them from the rest) will be sufficient, and, if that fails, we inet do to distract them with beer and potato chips.
In lieu of thorough cleaning — I’d meant to organize the kitchen cupboards, for example, that they might find the items they need to sustain life — I’ve decided to provide them with helpful signs. As every road engineer in Washington State knows, if you can’t sort utter and complete chaos or create a system that’s navigable, at least provide confusing (aka, “helpful”) signs so you can pretend you’ve helped them out. Yes? Yes.
In case you, like me, need an Alternative Way to Host House Guests — one that doesn’t involve actual organization — here are some of the signs we’re using to help these poor people out:
Signs like “Breakfast Cereal.”
See? Isn’t that helpful?
And “Cinnamon Sugar and Butter with toast crumbs smashed in it.” Because who wants pristine butter? I mean, maybe fancy British people do, but we want to give them a full American culture immersion here. Just one of many services we provide.
“Bread, Bagels, Tortillas & it looks like someone shoved oatmeal in with the mixing bowls.” I don’t even know what’s going on with that, but in case anyone’s confused about where oatmeal should be kept, it’s with mixing bowls. Obviously.
In the pantry, there are “Possibly Snacks but opening this cupboard will likely trigger an avalanche, so proceed at your own risk.”
“Liquor and wine.”
And in case they wonder whether I know there’s food splattered on the cupboards and walls and doors,
I’ve provided a small tour of I Have No Idea What This Is Or How Long It’s Been There.
Also, one bajillion other places, but not even God has enough sticky notes for every spot.
Finally, I gave them a tour of where to find caffeine. Because caffeine is my love language. Greg’s is Acts of Service. Mine is All the Caffeine.
“Coffee. Also tea with the word “British” on it.” We’re not tea drinkers. I have no idea how to buy tea they won’t find repulsive.
“Also-also, we bought you 80 bags because apparently that’s how much we expect you to drink in 5 days.” We would hate, after all, for our friends to come all the way to the States without learning the essential American skill of buying far, far more than you could possibly need. #MURICA
That is all for now.
In conclusion, you can pray for our guests.
7 responses to “How to Host House Guests”
You are a great host. My husband and I would probably get through 40 teabags in five days and you didn’t say how many visitors of tea-drinking age there are. We make jokes about Lipton’s yellow label and how disgusting it is and how can anyone drink that stuff, etc, so getting Tetley’s is like a gold medal in US hospitality. I thought the post-it notes were a great idea. Personally, I just rummage through other people’s cupboards until I find what I need but this is so much more civilised:)
Hysterical…my daughter’s in-laws are British…80 bags would be about right for them. They also seem to love jam and toast with the tea:)
My husband is Irish and drinks Tetley tea so I think you are spot on! Just make sure you have plenty of milk and sugar! And biscuits aka cookies
Beth, you are the best and now I want to emigrate to Britain just so I can come visit you. <3
Only 80 teabags?
*Technically*, it’s YOU who should be worried about the plague. Don’t you know that the English colonized the New World because they were too dirty and their cities were too crowded? These are people who were walking around their “civilized” city streets on 4-12 INCHES of mixed human and animal waste (with a smattering of toxins and chemicals) until nearly the 20th century. I wouldn’t be concerned, if I were you.