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COLUMN: You can stay for a good time, but not a long time

In this week's Everything King, Wendy stresses over the thought of long-term guests
Stock photo.

“Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

So said Benjamin Franklin.

A friend of mine is having house guests for six weeks this summer. To be fair, she’s thrilled about it because she is a far better human than I am.

Think of it, though. It's like a whole season of company in your space. The idea of that literally sent me into a flop sweat.

Granted, I am not a huge fan of visitors in general. I like people in small groups and in small doses.

It also must be planned ahead of time. Drop-ins are not allowed.

If I am being honest, I'm pretty sure I don’t like anyone enough to be in close quarters for six days, let alone six weeks. I think the most I could offer is a nice, friendly list of hotels in the area.

Maybe it would be different if I had a mansion with lots of different wings and floors where there could be lots of personal space. If I was in the Royal family, then for sure, everybody could come and grab a castle.

So, I guess it isn’t really the guests that upset me, but rather the state of my home. Do we all think our place isn’t quite up to par?

I’ve told you before how upset I get if a repair person is coming over and they will need to go into a crawlspace I haven’t cleaned.

Who hasn’t gone into extreme clean mode when your parents were coming to visit? Or maybe your in-laws are en route? 

Almost anybody would make extra effort to ensure the house was clean, tidy and de-cluttered.

To be honest, that consists of tossing stuff into closed closets, drawers and cupboards. That’ll work for a few days.

You can usually get by with a quick dust, sweep and vacuum.

But after weeks, someone is going to open a cupboard and get a concussion from falling items.

Can I be sued for that?

Here’s the deeper question: Why are we comfortable living in a mess, but if a stranger comes by we are moved to action?  

Honestly, if I opened my home to guests, I swear I would consider gutting the place and starting over.

Is Mike Holmes available on demand?

What about those two attractive brothers who can make my home into a showplace?

Maybe we could just start with the guest bathroom.

It's cringe-worthy that regular people would have to use my tacky bathtub stained by hard water. There is very light water pressure. The tiles are old. Maybe I could suggest the décor is vintage?

My point is I live with it every day, but if a guest was expected I would be compelled to make improvements.

Why is that? Well, aside from finances, why do we not make things as nice as we can for ourselves and our own family?

Since I don’t have Dr. Phil on retainer, I will act as my own amateur analyst and say it may be because we don’t value ourselves enough.

That’s actually very sad that we would not want the very best for ourselves. Or maybe we are just busy and procrastinate. Maybe we are a bit lazy.

It's likely a little bit of all of those things.

Yes, I know those who really love you aren’t there to do inspections, but let’s be real — everyone is judging.

I applaud those of you who open your doors widely and with joy to others. If you are of the “take me as I am” mindset, I congratulate you.

I prefer you take me as I wish I was.

Unfortunately, my welcome mat and couch cushions speak for me.

The mat says “Go Away” and the pillow says “Welcome-ish — depending on who you are and how long you’re staying.”

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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