House guests | Mark’s Remarks

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I’ve heard two wise sayings about house guests.  My maternal grandmother often said: “To each his own.” My wife’s maternal grandmother often said: “House guests are like fish; after three days, they stink.”  

Now, mind you, they used these phrases about others and about themselves. But, it’s good advice.

We have very few house guests. We have a guest room which we call “Grandma’s Room” and Grandma is such an important member of the family that we don’t consider her a guest. She lives in our house when she visits. My kids have always wished she’d move in.

But let’s face it, there really is no place like home.  There’s always something uncomfortable about staying somewhere else, no matter the accommodations. 

We had house guests many years ago when the kids were small. They are the take-charge-type people who like to make every space comfortable. And who can blame them? Their own children were quite small, too. Our house at the time had the luxury of two accommodating floors, meaning our family could stay upstairs and the guests and family could stay downstairs. 

I was away for part of the evening and arrived home just as everyone was getting ready for bed. I checked in on our guests. There was an extension cord from the living room to the hallway outside the bathroom so the kids could have a dim nightlight. Michelle had apparently brought the lamp from another part of the house, but told me she had to find a dimmer bulb.   

The furniture arrangement of the living room had been moved around and the children were snuggled down for the night on the sleeper sofa, which had been scooted catty-cornered.  A noise machine had been hooked up and was blaring loudly enough that we could hear it upstairs. Two beach towels had been hung in the windows to mask the glow of the street lamps. A guard had been put up so the dog would not come into the guest part of the house. 

I was raised to make the best of a situation, but I can’t fault people for speaking up and trying to make themselves (especially little ones) as comfortable as possible. We are always thankful for visits from friends; so, whatever it takes. 

We were told, in great detail, about a friend who once visited and complained about all sorts of things at our house. This person had purchased their own food, yet was upset when one of our kids mistakenly ate some of it. Our dog was a nuisance and the house guest complained about not one, but two of the places we took them to eat – even though we picked up the tab at one place. This person commented on certain aspects of our house that they found unsuitable, and proceeded to tell another acquaintance how things were. I was even judged for how long I took a bath.  This acquaintance was only too happy to relay the message back to us. 

We were aghast.  Some people simply don’t appreciate things.

I really think that being a house guest is something that is hard for people. All of us get so “set in our ways” that it’s very hard to alter things.

“To each his own” echoes in my ears when I stay away from home. I’m not sure I believe that guests stink after three days, because there are plenty of guests I wish would stay longer when they come to visit.

Maybe our houseguests think WE stink.

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