My husband and I enthusiastically offered to keep my sister-in- law’s dog at our house while she and her
husband attended a wedding further North.
Mollie is a Shetland Sheepdog. I think technically she’s considered a Blue Merle, but she’s white with
markings on her head and cute as hell. She looks like a cotton ball on very tiny legs. She’s also very
ladylike which is a sharp contrast to our 18-month- old Boston Terrier, Beans. They’re the Beauty and the
Beast of the K9 world with a large dose of hyperactivity thrown in. We found ourselves yelling at Beans
more than usual simply because of the contrast in styles.
This translated into pretty much every doglike behavior. When Mollie drinks, her little pink tongue juts
out quickly and quietly with not a drop left on the floor to show her efforts. Beans sticks his whole face
into the bowl, slurps loudly, and trails water all over the house. Sometimes he wipes his face on the cat’s
head, which is hilarious! Oddly enough the “Cat From Hell” doesn’t seem to care.
When we let the dogs outside to do their business, Beans took off like a bat outta hell and popped a
squat almost immediately. Mollie delicately worked her way down the stairs and was immediately
assaulted by Beans who apparently wanted to help. We started taking them out separately in deference
to Mollie’s feminine sensibilities. We also fed them separately. This was not because the dogs have poor
mat manners but because the CFH always horns in.
Beans wanted to play non-stop. He loves to share a tug toy with anything that moves and was constantly
offering Molly the other end of a rubber ring, which she declined. Beans has amazingly strong jaws and
can tug with a great deal of force, in fact I don’t even play tug with him. Mollie preferred sitting on our
laps and looking pretty, understandably so. But there was an incredibly sweet moment near the end of
the visit when Mollie went into her crate, came out with a fuzzy toy, and offered one end to Beans.
Beans gently took the other end and played “tug” on Mollie’s terms. Beans may be obnoxious but
apparently, he’s not stupid. Maybe that’s why my husband and I are so goofy in love with this dog.
With guest pets, much like children, there is always the issue of different homes, different rules. Mollie
is fed treats; which Beans is not. Mollie barks a lot more than Beans. During Mollie’s visit, Beans’ default
was, “when in doubt bark with the other dog because there must be something going on that I don’t
know about.” This created the effect of Beans hoping around, barking his fool head off, with a confused
look on his face.
Mollie’s people came back for her on Sunday night and I’m sure she was glad to see them. She’ll be back
for Thanksgiving and I’d like to think Beans and the CFH will be glad to see her. I’m not so sure about
Mollie, but I hope she enjoys the change of pace if nothing else.
Thank you for visiting.
After graduating from college, establishing a career, and starting a family, I often wondered what had happened to certain acquaintances. You tend to keep in touch with close friends and relatives. But often people you truly appreciate and enjoy slip away from your life almost unnoticed. I remember wishing I had a magical book that would allow me to catch up with their lives. Then came….do I have to say its name? Facebook.
People approach social media from different perspectives based on age, gender, culture, purpose, and availability of time. With FB in particular, there is also the desire for connection with the past and future.
Some people are afraid of it. One relative told me, “Oh, I’m not going near FB, it gets you in too much trouble!” This illustrates the idea that it takes away your control of your own information, and to a certain degree I guess that’s true.
I look at FB as my living room on the internet. It’s my choice to invite people in and to treat them appropriately as guests. If someone is rude, hurtful, or hateful they are not invited back. I chose what information to put out there about myself. I don’t appreciate others supplying information about me via FB. It’s too easy to misinterpret details or get them wrong. By the same token, if you’re not ready to go public about something, don’t put it on FB. You can’t expect the receiver to understand the information is a secret. It’s just not realistic and you have no one to blame but yourself. There are plenty of avenues for the exchange of private or sensitive information, including messaging and private groups.
Here are my basic rules:
f Don’t say anything to me on Facebook you wouldn’t say to me in my own home as an invited guest.
f Don’t come behind my comments on someone else’s page with nasty remarks.
f Don’t criticize me or anyone else on my page. While I like a healthy exchange of ideas, FB is not my preferred vehicle for heated discussion.
f Don’t friend me for the sole purpose of selling me something. I understand FB is a great marketing tool—I use it to push out this blog (which is not monetized.) But when it becomes painfully evident a request has nothing to do with me as a person and everything to do with me as a potential customer, its hurtful.
f Politics and politicians are fair game. But their supporters and detractors are not. Please don’t call someone an idiot because they support a certain candidate, party, or policy. They may indeed BE an idiot. But it’s just not a nice thing to say to a guest sitting on my cyber sofa.
f Please don’t badger me about my use of social media. I may not use it to the extent that you do and that’s OK. There have been many occasions when someone in real time will demand, “Didn’t you see my post?!”
f By the same token, don’t feel the need to apologize to me for not engaging with me on social media. I understand that some people enjoy my blog and others don’t. One woman said to me, “I only scan blogs looking for recipes. I’m not interested in the writing.” And that’s OK.
All in all, FB has enhanced my life. It put me back in touch with some great people, helped me plan events, and provided some amazing information and entertainment. So bring on the babies, the vacation pics, the cat videos, the dog videos, the funny videos, the profound posters, the job updates, the health concerns, and the DIY projects!
Thank you for visiting.
Many years ago during a television interview with the actress Bonnie Hunt, she said her family used the “Door Bell” method of housekeeping. You don’t bother to clean until the doorbell rings. While I don’t personally subscribe to this method, I do appreciate it.
I feel strongly about guests showing up early. I am strongly against it. Unless you’re having a medical emergency—in which case you should probably go to the hospital first—please don’t come to my house or event one second ahead of the stated time.
I was reminded of this concept several times in the last couple of weeks. I went to a baby shower in Jersey where half the guests showed up early. What is that all about? Is it a Jersey thing? The baby Grandma was rushing around trying to put the finishing touches on a lovely venue and was forced to entertain at least two dozen people ahead of schedule. Another friend of mine was hosting house guests who gleefully texted they’d hit the road sooner than expected and would be hours early. What! For God sakes, take the scenic route! Yet another acquaintance works weddings. She told me about an event just last weekend when many of the guests arrived at the reception venue half an hour early and actually banged on the doors. When she did let them in several people demanded mixed drinks even before the bar was set up.
For those of you who don’t get it, here’s the deal. Most of us mortals don’t keep a spotless house and must prepare for visitors. I take pride in presenting a clean home or well prepared venue. My mother used to say it should look like a stage set when folks walk in and then everything can go to hell. This prep takes a certain amount of time and scheduling because I have other stuff going on. Some of us also have pets so it doesn’t make sense to start cleaning a moment too soon because all will be re-fuzzed within minutes. When I’m done cleaning and prepping food, I like to enjoy a glass of wine while I prep myself. If you show up early, I miss the one part of party prep I enjoy.
Many people will say, “I thought you might need help so I came early”. If I need help, believe me I’ll ask for it in advance. I’ve never been accused of martyrdom. If you volunteer and I politely decline, I’m not being polite, I really don’t want you early. No one is that helpful. Some people will assume their bond with the hosts is strong enough that it doesn’t matter if they show up early and just hang out. Unless you’re still in the womb, there is no bond strong enough for an early arrival.
I realize I’m a little crazy about time. I worked in the television news business for many years where every second was accounted for. Time really WAS money! The only exception was 16 years ago when the clock stopped and we threw revenue to the wind in order to supply a platform for our community to grieve.
My family tells me this television-time perspective has left me with an unhealthy attitude toward punctuality on both ends of the punctal spectrum. OK, I can live with that.
Do you mind people showing up early? Don’t you cherish those last few moments when you can look around your house and admire your work while sipping Prosecco and applying mascara? In my husband’s case, it’s drinking beer and watching whatever sport is on TV (sorry son, I know you hate stereotypes but it’s true.)
Thank you for visiting, and not a moment too soon.
There have been many occasions when, instead of hosting a dinner party at home, my husband and I have taken people out to eat. There are some obvious incentives, not the least of which is less prep on my part.
We usually pick somewhere we’ve been before. We are fortunate that Richmond is in a restaurant renaissance. That may sound pretentious…until you go to one of the amazing eateries popping up like yummy mushrooms and try the chef’s take on soft- shell crab, fried green tomatoes, or tres leche cake. Then you’ll say, “That’s not pretentious, that’s delicious!”
When hosting we make it clear it’s our treat. If the guest offers to pick up a round of drinks or the tip, I think it’s OK to accept graciously. If they don’t, that’s OK too. Guests should not feel obligated. The only thing I absolutely cannot abide is a tussle over the bill. My husband’s family has mastered this sport. One relative literally ripped a bill in half trying to wrestle it from my husband. Frankly, I would have given it to her gladly! And I’m not talking about the bill. But I digress.
I think hosts should offer to drive and be mindful of their alcohol intake. If a guest has a compelling reason to drive, I think that’s all right too and the offer should be gratefully accepted. It’s a funny thing, when people hear I’m supposed to drive they become very keen on providing the transportation themselves. I’ve been known to back into things.
If possible, we make reservations to prevent a wait. Needless to say, everyone should do their best to be on time. There is nothing more stressful than chasing a reservation at a popular place because your guest wasn’t ready. If there is no emergency, there is only one reason for keeping people waiting. And that is because you’re a jerk.
I often see complaints in etiquette columns from hosts whose guests have ordered expensive entrees. I don’t quite get this. I assume that if my hosts have invited me to a restaurant, they can afford to feed me. I don’t think it would be polite to order a take home meal for the babysitter, but if it’s on the menu it’s fair game. No pun intended. Same for drinks and various courses.
Unfortunately we have hosted guests at restaurants where the service is bad. Although the host has no control over this variable, I always feel awkward about bad service, as if I were the one holding things up. What does one do? You don’t want to bring attention, but it gets to that awkward point when everyone is hungry. It’s like an elephant in the room that you wish were on your plate. On one occasion when the drinks hadn’t shown up after 45 minutes, we got up and left. I think the arrival of drinks is a pretty good gauge. Besides, after a round of drinks you don’t care as much. Another telling sign is if very few diners have food in front of them.
If the actual food is not up to a guest’s standards, I think they should just grin, chew, and bear it. After all, you can’t beat the price. I feel it’s rude to criticize a free meal. That’s happened to me several times and I’m always taken aback by it. To me it’s the same as criticizing a gift. It’s all right to politely send something back that’s the wrong order or woefully undercooked. But to compare food unfavorably to other restaurants, or even home-cooked meals, is insulting to the hosts. What’s the point? Keep it to yourself, or better yet find something you can complement, like the company.
What finishes off the meal best is a heartfelt thank you; from the guests for the meal, and from the hosts, for the fellowship. Even if everything sucked, at least you didn’t have to shop, cook, or clean. That is something to be thankful for.
Thank you for visiting.
We live in a log home and the acoustics are amazing! I don’t mean that in a good way. There’s no insulation, so if you’re in one of the bedrooms you can literally hear everything going on in the other bedrooms. We discovered this shortly after we moved into the cabin and our nephew came for a visit. He went out to see some of his other (inferior) relatives and when he came back we were already in bed. My husband woke up in the middle of the night, turned to me and said, “I wonder if Daniel’s back yet.” In a strictly conversational tone my nephew said, “Yeah. I’m here,” from the guest bedroom below. Needless to say we are glad this happened sooner rather than later after moving into our new home.
As you can imagine, this could lead to some embarrassing situations…what with bodily functions, arguments, making nasty comments about your guests, and such. We try to mitigate these potential situations in a number of ways. First, we let all overnight guests know we can hear EVERYTHING! Then we let them know again. Believe me, I have no interest in hearing anything a guest doesn’t want me to hear. Bathroom fans are also great noise blockers. A couple of our recurring guests bring sound machines. Gee, that would make a nice hostess gift (hint!)
But what happens if these tactics don’t work and you hear something you’d rather not? I think we’ve all been there. Like most things, it depends on the situation. If it’s early in whatever proceedings are proceeding, I make an innocuous noise to make the presence of my ears known. Like a coughing spasm or a show tune. This lets the noise maker know the sound barrier is nil and to adjust accordingly. It also leaves some doubt as to what might have been heard, preventing embarrassment on both sides.
If the throat clearing or second verse of “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria,” doesn’t do the trick, I remove myself from earshot. Again, I don’t want to hear anything someone doesn’t want me to hear. When I get a chance, I reiterate the problem acoustics to the guest.
If none of this is possible, and it’s getting really awkward—like a nasty argument—I might actually knock on the door with an excuse such as , “Need more towels? How ‘bout a referee?”
There will be situations where none of these approaches work and you just have to stick it out. If you know the person well, I would say something when you get the chance to avoid a repeat performance. But if nothing is to be gained from notification, I just keep it to myself. There’s no point in both of you being embarrassed.
Thank you for visiting and as always, I’d love to hear from you.