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Aug 21, 2010 08:50 AM

your house guest stories and woes


We've all had house guests and we've all been one I expect. Any chow related stories to get us laughing or commiserating?

Can't remember who said this but ' house guests are like fish, after 3 days they begin to stink'. Oscar Wilde maybe?

  1. Might have been Ben Franklin. Well my parents came to visit me when I lived in Florida. They kind of just announced it like parents can do sometimes. I had to quick go out and buy a bed from JC Penney's so they would have some place to sleep. Now for the chow: I was keeping my frozen turkey that I got for free from my job in my very friendly neighbors' freezer as I only had an apartment fridge. While I was at work they went and got the turkey to surprise me with a turkey dinner and they kind of didn't factor in how to safely defrost it in the Florida heat. Dunno about fish, but boy did that bird end up stinking!

    1 Reply
    1. re: givemecarbs

      sounds like maybe it'd already gone south before your folks did it under again.

    2. For some reason I go crazy for brownies when I'm at the beach. One year we invited a friend and his girlfriend to join us at our rental.

      Every morning I whipped up a batch of brownies, had my coffee, took the pan out of the oven and left it to cool, then went for a walk. Every morning I came back to a cooled pan of brownies missing all four corners! The girlfriend "just loves corners!". So do I own one of these:

      3 Replies
      1. re: meatn3

        And the second morning I would have set my brownies to cool on the top shelf of my closet, then locked the closet door! You are a saint!

        1. re: Caroline1

          ........and I would'a put up a sign on them saying "dont even think about it"

        2. re: meatn3

          Meat, I'm gonna start sending you all my corners. I don't like the corners, I like all inside without any hard crusty parts. How good's your catching arm :))

        3. Oh my goodness. So many tales. So many!

          Well, when my first husband and I lived in Las Vegas, we got a post card from friends in Ohio, the last place my husband had been stationed with the Air Force. The post card said they were coming to spend TWO WEEKS with us, and would arrive on Friday, only three days away. Meet them at the airport. Excuse me? I don't recall extending an invitation. There had been absolutely no prior discussion. But my husband reminded me we had been "close friends." They arrived with Mac's 19 year old son from a previous marriage in tow, no advanced warning, and he ate like ten adults! They were terrible guests. I kept wondering if Mac had something on my husband and was blackmailing him based on the way he accepted all the crap. But the final blow came when, on their last day there, Mac phoned me, said he was looking at barbecues for us as a host/hostess gift, described the two he was looking at and asked which I would prefer. When I told him, his reply was, "Well, okay, if that's the one you want, you'll have to pay half." I told him I really didn't want a barbecue and hung up. What did this teach me? I learned that you should never let anyone know that you live in Las Vegas!

          And then there was the new couple in town I invited to a dinner party. When will I learn to leave new couples to fend for themselves? It was a formal sit-down dinner for eight. For the main course, I made tournedos Rossini, with foie gras, black truffles, the whole nine yards. Without so much as a by-your-leave, the guy got up from the table, went to my refrigerator and retrieved the ketchup, came back to the table and scraped everything off the tournedo, then poured a half bottle of ketchup over it! There was a very looooooooooong stunned silence from everyone. I wasn't sure what to do, and was praying my husband wouldn't deck the guy. Finally, I broke the silence and asked him if he'd like a hamburger bun to go with his steak. Everyone laughed, he grinned sheepishly and said, "No thanks."

          And you don't even want to know about my mother as my house guest. Not even! I could share a bunch more non-mother stories. You don't live 76 years without a few glitches. '-)

          EDIT...! My bad. I only talked about the rotten things. There have also been some incrdible things! For example, when I lived in Turkey, I was riding the Air Force bus to the base for some shopping. I overheard the couple behind me talking, and it was obvious from their conversation they had newly arrived, all of the billeting on base was full and they were staying in a third rate local hotel with the "facilities" down the hall until their apartment was ready in a week or so! AND they had a 9 year old son. Sounded like a nightmare to me, so I turned around, apologized for eavesdropping, then invited them to come stay with us until their apartment was ready. They did. They were wonderful house guests. And I still have the lovely hostess gift they presented me with: A Wedgwood blue Jasper ware tea set with service for four. Teapot, sugar bowl, creamer, and four cups and saucers! As I write this it is beaming out at the world from my china cabinet. Love it!.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            just one question....
            when is your autobiography being published?

            1. re: Caroline1

              I'm sorry, but I'm far more shocked by the snotty remark you made to the poor guy who put ketchup on his steak than by his putting the ketchup on his steak. That's a pretty rotten so-called "welcome" for the hapless new neighbors. I hope they found other neighbors to be kinder and less judgmental.

              1. re: ZenSojourner

                The table was in stunned silence due to the devastation the man caused to the dish. Sometimes a remark delivered with just the right tone and facial expression can break the tension and get everything back on course.

                With Caroline's depth of experiences, social and otherwise, I have no doubt she handled it well.

                Furthermore, if a condiment is not available you do not search an acquaintances fridge!

                1. re: meatn3

                  meatn3, I do not think that ZenSojourner was saying that the guest was in the right-- simply that a potentially unkind response is not warranted, even in the face of clear rudeness.

                  1. re: meatn3


                    anyone besides me watch that BBC show called "come dine with me"? one lady brings her own hot sauce to all 3 of the other houses. just in case their meals aren't up to her spicy standards, kinda weird I'd say to pull something out of your purse and present it on the dinner table.

              2. My SO and I were going to visit my family (14hrs away) for about two weeks, and when I called one of my aunts to get a family gathering in the works, she graciously insisted we cancel the hotel reservations and stay with her and my uncle. After this was arranged, my father decided to go with us, and my aunt was all "the more the merrier." Once we arrived, my father started eating and did not stop until we left. She refused to let me do any grocery shopping for her while we were there, but I felt terrible for invading her home and my father invading her pantry and fridge. Before we left I purchased two gift cards to their local grocery store and put them in a thank-you card, which I left where they could easily find it once we were gone. I also made them a gift basket full of goodies and was sure to include some gourmet dog biscuits for her beloved k9 kids. I know we weren't the ideal house guests, but later that year when my aunt & uncle came to stay with us for a week they absolutely were.

                5 Replies
                1. re: JRicher

                  Few people can admit to their own bad behavior. Bravo to you for doing so and making amends.

                  Out of curiosity, since you were staying at a hotel at first, where were you going to host this family gathering you planned on? And also, why didn't you tell your father no, that you couldn't impose on your SO's family? Or insist he stay at a hotel.

                  1. re: chow_gal

                    We were visiting my family, and there's a restaurant in their area that has a floor you can rent out for private functions, which my family often does. We were going to have the get together there. My father wasn't going to go with us when we were planning to stay at a hotel because he's in a wheelchair and hotels, even the ones that claim to be accessible, are an absolute nightmare for him. Once he found out we were staying with my Aunt & Uncle (not my SO's family) he changed his mind and decided to come. I didn't say no because he contacted my Aunt before discussing it with me.

                    1. re: JRicher

                      Thanks. Sounds like you did the right thing all around and it turned out lovely.

                      1. re: JRicher

                        .........I'm liking you more and more :)))

                    2. re: JRicher

                      that's an "ah" moment, good job!

                    3. My mom and her husband in their motor home, used to really enjoying coming to Ventura from upper California for a "many months" long visit.

                      Who blamed them after all: they'd drive up the driveway, plug their electrical into our outlet, hook up to our hose and there you have it, they were set and stayed 2 months, free of any charges and all meals included, who could blame them?

                      3 kids in school, I was in school and worked too, hubby worked long arduous hours.

                      I cooked dinner every night, of course they never did, of course they argued like banchies, yelled/screamed/cussed [< my personal favorite] at each other because he was the champion wrestler of the world and very used to getting his own way PERIOD [not kidding, he owned "that" belt] and had the cauliflower ears to prove it] of course it scared the kids because what he lacked in height he made up for in loudness.

                      One night my husband got home from work and said 'that's it. You two either shut up around here or go, our children shouldn't have to listen to you two". With that they shut up [that night] but started right back in the next day.

                      No one knew it but back then, moms husband had started displaying early signs of Alzheimers. We thought with old age you do weird things or become forgetful. So, one day he used the restroom while eating a perfectly huge apple and thought the toilet was the garbage disposal, so put the uneaten apple in the toilet and flushed. Ahhhhhhh...

                      A week later, my mom decided to come out of her comfort zone and peel potatoes for dinner that night, as I'd asked her too. But with strict instructions not to put the peels down the garbage disposal because the house is very old, the roots and branches are [''a many'' around the pipes] and no need to purposely clog the sink. Every one of those peels went down the drain and clogged the drains so I had to call a plumber [who couldn't come for 3 days] and they refused to pay for either of those two plumber calls saying it's our fault the drainage system is old. AAARGH

                      Then one day remembering that my husband had said he was going to change the oil in our truck, thought he'd do it for him and save him the trouble. Nice thought right? Wrong. When the truck didn't or wouldn't start, my husband asked him what oil he'd used as my husband hadn't bought the oil yet. He uses Amsoil, the synthetic stuff. Step father showed him the container the oil had been in that he'd used. Well, he'd been very thoughtful and used two containers of "oil" > one was FREON, used the whole container, the other one was ANTI FREEZE, used it all up too.

                      pleasant quiet creeped across the rafters when they finally left [to visit Malibu] moms' sister just loved that :)))