We have been a bit b-u-s-y lately. (Actually, I should say, ‘I’ have been busy. Ben just pretty much shows up to play Master Of The Universe. Sound familiar gals?).
Over the past FOUR weeks we have hosted TEN people, in THREE groups. In. Our. Home… Sleepovers. With meals.
This, factually, accounts for a total of FOUR beds being changed THREE times which equals TWELVE sets, which equals FIFTY TWO pieces, EIGHT towel sets being laundered FOUR times, which equals NINETY SIX pieces, THIRTY SIX meals cooked & served, which equals (I don’t have a fucking clue how many dishes?), TWENTY FOUR dishwasher loads In & Out, FORTY EIGHT rolls of TP, TWO freezers stocked, TWO refrigerators full-up, THREE filled Easter baskets (SIX more delivered), FIVE dinner reservations, ONE brunch, THREE dinner parties, SIX trips to the airport, FOUR cabs, and EIGHT Hurricanes (It’s a drink. I need them.)
Am I tired?
Will I do it again?
Yes, and here’s why: Aside from the fact that I LOVE these people, I know how to run my house like a hotel (…and who among us doesn’t LOVE a Five Star? ***hand waving***)
Am I a one-woman staff of eight? Why, yes I am. But I have a few secrets… Organization, Planning, Inventory, and Involvement.
Be ORGANIZED, and by that I don’t just mean having all of your flatware in the same kitchen drawer, I mean having available space in bedroom closets and dresser drawers, creature comforts (like Kleenex and Tylenol and shaving cream and razors and fresh toothbrushes, etc., and even baby wipes if it’s appropriate) at the ready and within arms reach at Midnight without calling you for help. No one wants to be a pain in your ass when they’re on your dime. I mean having duplicate cleaning supplies all together- on each floor. I mean extra iphone chargers- by each bed. I mean make your guests independent of you.
PLAN, and by plan I mean, have an ITINERARY, which includes not only activities but meals- and make it flexible. I will have at least one suggested activity per day (There is a back-up for rain) and always a block of time unscheduled for naps, reading, neighborhood walks, or just plain down time. The way I get our guests to happily participate in this is to tell them I’M TAKING A BREAK before starting the evening and the preparation for the last meal of the day. Which brings me to menus. Take stock of your guests (their ages, restrictions, ridiculous vegan lifestyles) and plan your meals before they arrive. In fact, shop for ingredients and prepare as much as you can beforehand. I keep the disposable aluminum pan companies in business. Also, having an axillary freezer is worth it’s weight in diamonds- which is saying A LOT, coming from me- because I cook with all my diamonds dripping from my slender youthful wrists.
INVENTORY perishables, and by perishables I seriously mean toilet paper and chips & dip (as well as other items, of course). It’s all equally important. And remember to keep them where they’re needed, which means the TP should not be in the kitchen and the chips don’t belong on the floor of your car.
INVOLVEMENT, and by that, I mean, not only encouraging your guests to participate in the kitchen and garden, the evening’s Netflix selection and which vintage will be uncorked, but driving (which in my case usually involves those FOUR Hurricanes that I mentioned above). It also might mean giving them a ‘break’ from all involvement- an opportunity to rest. You should provide that too. You’ll rest when you die.
One time, many years ago, our son Chase, angered after finding his smelly sheets changed, floating bits of paper discarded, his videos put back in their correct sleeves, and the last piece of his favorite pie eaten (but replaced with a new desert), said to his father, “Dad! She makes me crazy! Mom’s makes me feel like I’m in a hotel!”.
“How lucky are we?”, he replied.
I think the better question is, ‘How lucky am I?”.