Location, location, location. When you pick where you're going to move, there are many factors that must be heavily weighed: Proximity to work, to transportation, to good schools, and definitely...to family. Yes, nothing is more important to consider than the proximity to relatives. We have family in New York and family in Florida. When we moved to North Carolina a few years back, we thought this was an ideal scenario. Should we ever choose to visit, it would not be a bad drive to either location. What we failed to consider was that not only is it easy enough for us to drive to them, it is also easy for them to drive to us. You'd have thought we would have realized that. Also, to make matters worse, we placed ourselves equidistance between New York and Florida making our house an ideal Motel 6 for those not necessarily wishing to visit but wishing even less, to pay for lodging en route North and South. And I say: "North AND South" because I-95 runs in both directions. This means that family have the luxury of staying with us both on the way down and on the way back. I'm considering installing vending machines in my entrance hallway and a rack with brochures highlighting North Carolina's attractions in the adjacent half-bathroom so that we can look like the respectable Visitor's Center that we've become. I wonder if we would be allowed to put a gas pump on our front lawn for guests' convenience. (I'm sure we could. There don't seem to be any laws here.)Our biggest problem being in the hospitality business is the class of our clientele. Or lack there of.
I will tell you from experience: Never tell your guests to "make themselves at home". You have no idea what you're going to get. Upon arrival, my sister changes into her "pajamas" aka boxer shorts and walks around the kitchen, rubbing her stomach, so while she's regaling us with stories of her trip down South, the club soda she's drinking is simultaneously making the trip in the same direction. (Somehow if you say "excuse me" between expulsions it makes everything just fine.) You are correct if you are thinking that it's wrong for my sister to walk around my kitchen in boxer shorts with my husband in the house. However, it is not wrong for the expected reasons. If you are picturing Cameron Diaz in boxer shorts instead of a female Shrek, I assure you, your thought process has gone astray. (And I don't mean Fiona ... I know what I said.)
So yes, it does affect my husband. For a week after every one of her visits, I have to hold him in my arms, stroke his hair and whisper: "It's okay honey, she's gone now" to prevent night terrors.
I never considered being unreliable an asset until we moved down here. Now I realize it's what I like most about some of our friends and relatives. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, he asked the guy who was with him the night we met if he'd like to be in the wedding party. The guy replied: "I'd love to if I happen to be in the area." I said to my groom-to-be: "What the fk does he think this is, a wedding or a barbecue?" Apparently the guy wasn't mad at us for any reason. My husband Lloyd's known him for many years and that's just how he is. He can't plan for anything.
The ideal guest is my husband's cousin. She tells you she's coming and never shows up. We expect her not to come. If she ever actually rang our doorbell we'd be like: "Terri? What are you doing here? Gd forbid she ever somehow dies en route, we wouldn't realize for months unless it was on the news.
I know with all of these family and friends, the mixed bag that they are, I have to choose my words carefully. "You know you're always welcome." I don't exactly mean that. What I mean is: "You know you're always invited." Big difference. *** If you're dealing with infertility or just want to laugh at my own misfortunes with it, please click on the book icon to the right for a free sample chapter of my eBook. (The whole eBook is free at the Kindle Library)