HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


An open letter to my house guest....


Dear Houseguest --

We are so glad that you could come to see us, and we had a great time visiting with you and showing you around the city.

I sincerely appreciate your tolerance when we had to do something for work, and respect your ability to head out on your own. I sincerely appreciate your keeping things reasonably neat and tidy -- my kids are expected to hang up wet towels and make their beds...so it's nice that you didn't have to be asked to obey the house rules.

I also appreciate your efforts to clean up the kitchen and load the dishwasher....but....

The fact that my kitchen is not arranged like yours should not have been taken as an invitation to reshuffle my kitchen to meet your expectations, particularly when you didn't cook in my kitchen. I have specific places where I store things, and your efforts to re-organize me and my system while I was at work mostly just irked the snot out of me. Rearranging the front row of spices wasn't help -- it left me shuffling through the cabinet while things lurched out of control on the stove because I didn't know you moved things, and I don't know what your system is.

Really? If I tell you to just leave my kitchen alone because I know where everything is, I expected you'd take that as a real answer, not some vague protestation --- and your actions indicated that you feel my system and my kitchen aren't up to your standards.

So next time, really -- stay out of my kitchen. I want you to come back; I want you to enjoy yourself -- but my kitchen is MY kitchen and MY domain and you need to keep your mitts off, and since you can't help yourself -- just keep out.

    1. re: Uncle Bob

      that's just it -- it wasn't!

      My MIL and I get along quite well, and she wouldn't do that!

      1. re: sunshine842

        Kinda thought it wasn't your MIL...but had to ask. ~~~ For me, this person would 'neva' be a house guest of mine again. ~~~ If you're gonna be there at all times so you can monitor her.. then that's another matter. ~~~ I wonder if she went through your 'sock' drawers....maybe checked to see if ya had any holes in your underwear....

    2. I'm sure most of us have experienced something like that to some extent when hosting house guests. If they were staying with us 10 months out of the year, their attempts at being "helpful" might become an issue. If they come to stay with us for short visits infrequently, their good intentions would not be of significant concern. I have more important issues in life to be fretting about. Of course if they are good friends I would feel comfortable expressing my feelings to them in a manner that would get the point across and if they were truly good friends they would respect our wishes as the homeowners.

      Were these guests friends of yours? Did you mention anything about your preferences?

      10 Replies
      1. re: Fowler

        Yes, they were friends (I've never had a houseguest who was a stranger...) -- and yes, I did ask this person to not "help" -- a day or two earlier, they'd put something away and it took me 20 minutes to find it -- and I did mention that I have specific places for specific things.

        (and I get quirks of personalities, too -- but I was just a little stunned because it wouldn't ever even cross my mind to reshuffle anyone else's kitchen without their knowledge and consent -- especially if was just a temporary visitor. It leaves me rummaging through all my drawers and cabinets, because it was a lot of items -- including things I didn't even use during the visit -- and it's driving me bananas. )

        1. re: sunshine842

          Wow, as my gramma used to say, the NERVE of some people!" I get irked when DH consistently puts my implements in the wrong spots...I'd be mighty miffed if someone deliberately went against my wishes and rearranged my stuff!

          Though I've got to admit a desire to redo some of my sister's drawers and cabinets...but I subdue the monster.

          1. re: sunshine842

            I guess if they refused to respect my wishes and it was only a short term visit I would simply remind myself that they are guests and spending time with them is more important than the annoyance of hunting for this gadget or that spice in the rack. If I could not get past their attempts to be "helpful", I would probably not invite them to return. Problem solved either way.

            Thank goodness they did not try to be helpful and do the laundry. They would probably mix the blacks with the whites with the reds all in hot water!

            1. re: Fowler

              They are a guest in my home and they are taking it upon themselves to rearrange MY things in MY home to suit THEIR preferences.

              I took time off work (there were things I couldn't miss), stayed up late talking and laughing, prepared at least one meal per day for this person, and two or three a few times, and made no complaints about the bathroom being tied up, etc., etc., etc....

              and this isn't one or two items -- this is a long list -- from misplaced dishes to the rearranged spice rack to putting things away that I keep on the counter for a reason.

              I'd have been less peeved had they worn my clothing out of my dresser.

          2. re: Fowler

            <I'm sure most of us have experienced something like that to some extent when hosting house guests?>

            I've never had this happen and I've hosted many house guests. I would interpret my house guest's 'helping' as a message to me that their way is much better than mine. Sunshine should not have to mention her preferences....it's her kitchen, her home and her way of doing things.
            It's rude and insensitive.

            1. re: latindancer

              >>> I would interpret my house guest's 'helping' as a message to me that their way is much better than mine.<<<

              I must have too much of a soft heart because I believe that when a friend tries to help me they are genuinely doing something that they believe is helpful. I am also secure and do not view their attempts to help as some sinister way of sending me a message that "their way is much better than mine".

              We must have vastly different views of our friends and their motives.

              1. re: Fowler

                there's a fine line there -- putting dishes away, even if they're in the wrong place, is definitely an attempt to help and I wouldn't interpret it as a passive-aggressive swipe at my kitchen. Frustrating yes, but but overall a good intention.

                Much as I like my visitor, I couldn't help but interpret the myriad little "fixes" as a not-too-subtle hint that my kitchen and my ways aren't up to their standard -- doubly so when this person mentioned several times that they don't cook much at home.

                Throwing away sponges - a new one!, putting things away in cabinets, and moving the fruit bowl from the place where it has stood for several years is not a benign "trying to help" -- I cannot imagine what one's justification might be for re-organizing someone else's spice cabinet, **especially** when that person didn't cook a single dish in my kitchen, other than to imply that they know my needs and my kitchen requirements better than I do....which is NOT helpful to me nor to our friendship.

                As before -- no lost sleep -- but there will be limits imposed should this person return for another visit.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  My future plans with said person would be a joint vacation together as opposed to staying at your home. That way you get the quality time without their invasive reorganizing.

                  1. re: Dcfoodblog

                    and if it's a rental cottage how confusing can the generic place settings for 4 and the obligatory disposable S+P shakers get? (smirk)

                    that's when the washing-up reaches critical mass.

                2. re: Fowler

                  "We must have vastly different views of our friends and their motives"

                  To each his/her own.
                  If my friend chose to come into my kitchen and "re-organize me and my system" as Sunshine stated yes....the message to me would be that my way just didn't measure up and perhaps my guest's way was more efficient/better.
                  My friends would never be that presumptuous.

            2. WITH YOU 110%

              Up to your standards,not just like yours.I don't give one tiny little hair on a rat's ass.

              Fortunately for me and our friends,all of us are with you.If I can't find it,what good is it.You own it for a reason and keep it in a PARTICULAR PLACE for a reason.

              Sue & Steve BIL& WIFE are in the charter yacht business.A galley kitchen is purposed down to the last dime size patch.THEY UNDERSTAND ...and do the captain and staff keep helpful meddlers out.YOU BET
              Three neighbors on the same corner in Chevy Chase always took care of each other and beasties for trips and bad weather.Not one of us EVER put anything away,not trusting the memory to exact.If I needed something,found it in a cupboard and used,it was washed and left in PLAIN SIGHT.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lcool

                Love when guests wash the dishes for me, hate when they put them away. Now even worse, I have an in-home aide that comes a few hours a week and not only can't I find my cups, knives nor utensils without a major search; I told her not to do the laundry but she does anyway, and despite a 3 compartment hamper, puts it all together, even the handwash. Boo! Unfortunately I need help with my husband so how can I complain without sounding like a jerk (just a rhetorical question). Luckily I just found my solitary grapefruit spoon as I was out the door to buy a whole new set. Whew!

                There I feel better already. She's a gem otherwise! Now next week, I have some new "friends" coming for a long visit, we have talked online for the last year or two but never even in person. I am somewhat nervous to tell the truth, and this subject is just making me more so. Don't know how kitchen oriented she is, guess I'll find out!

              2. thanks to all, by the way -- I knew most of you would understand my frustration!

                18 Replies
                1. re: sunshine842

                  It sounds to me like your friend could be suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. I have friends with this, and it's a really tragic disease. People with OCD aren't satisfied unless objects are arranged to their satisfaction. It's possible that rather than being rude, your friend really couldn't help herself.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    I don't think so - because I saw no other OCD behaviour in any other way throughout the visit. (usually that burden manages to spill itself in more than one place)

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      I hate it when guests load the dishwasher (always break something), when they try to put things away after they've been in the dishwasher (always in the wrong place), and when they offer to help clean up after dinner (that's my ocd).

                      1. re: whs

                        I loved the help cleaning up after dinner and loading the dishwasher (and to give credit, only had to move a couple of things, and they are because of some quirks of my individual dishwasher, so specific mostly to my house!) -- but putting things away in the wrong place and rearranging where I keep things really got up my nose.

                        Biggest thing I have is that I prefer everyone to just leave stuff on the table, because it's easier to load the dishwasher if I don't have everything heaped up on the cabinets...that's my quirk. I've been known to carry things back out to the dining room table when people leave so I can load the dishwasher/clean up the way I like to do it.

                        We all have our screwy quirks, don't we?

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Well, they're not screwy quirks if I have them too! My kitchen is tiny and there is no dishwasher (apart from me), so I need a clear staging area to dry "cleans" and stack "dirties" as I see fit. And plate desserts somewhere along the way. When people empty the dinner table and stuff the kitchen, it's just no help at all. Rant over. My sympathies, s842.

                          1. re: monfrancisco

                            my dishwashing quirk is I can't stand it when folks try to 'help' by putting everything in the sink stacked haphazardously. thx. now I have to unload the sink to re-wash out the food bits before I can even start on the dishes. thx. even worse when it's a double sink and both basins get filled with stuff.

                            1. re: hill food

                              OMG I can't stand that either!! It's especially aggravating when I already have the beginnings of a neatly organized stack of dirty dishes on the counter next to the sink and some butt clown will completely ignore the "staging area" by chucking their dirties (caked with leftovers and all) into the sink while I'm retrieving serving plates or bowls from the dining room. Really??

                                1. re: Mutch2Do

                                  Mutch2Do & hill food

                                  Quirks abound.I do not want clear,clean and load help.The smart people I know that have zero understanding of a well and septic are numerous.I want to get things loaded in a way that works here.All food scraps into two bowls for whatever animal eats it (small farm).And the table for 10-16 easily means 50-75 stems,many tall with pinot bowls.None of which I want willy nilly off the table.
                                  Loading both dishwashers,reasonably to accommodate large plates and stems requires a plan or quirk if you will.
                                  Once a guest,sort of friend to all made the mistake of,to proceed emphatically, tell me how she does it.Another guest instantly quipped up,"Mary,just when was the last time you and David hosted a dinner for 18,five courses & paired 9 wines,4-6 bottles each,three desserts with more wine,cognacs and whisky?"
                                  Not another word,harsh or not was added,by anyone.

                                  1. re: lcool

                                    I want to come to your house for dinner. Would it be rude to invite myself? :)

                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                      not at all rude
                                      All who do fine in outspoken chaos are welcome here.We have a sign on the way to the barn,"leaving chaos,passing ulcer gulch,entering insanity alley" and please disregard the beggars and mooches.

                                    2. re: lcool

                                      9 wines, 4-6 bottles each! About 45 bottles of wine. That's 2 1/2 bottles per person plus cognac and whiskey! Must have been a heck of a party. Can I come with cleobeach?

                                      1. re: Bkeats

                                        Keeping in mind when old cellared wines are coming out one never knows where the problem bottles are going to turn up.Some fragile enough that we don't decant or stop at 2/3 - 3/4 of the bottle.So calculating for the one per case that got hurt etc in transit and up to 25% waste the bottle count comes down by 1/3 instantly.With a 600+ case cellar and our age we aren't in the wine storage business.We drink it with friends and host,donate for charity.

                                        1. re: lcool

                                          dinner for 18? there's not enough xanax in the world and if I took enough to deal with it then dinner would never happen. I gotcha on the trash. we don't have trash service where I am, so yes clean up really isn't any more difficult (ok gotta rinse out the recyclables as they'll be around for few weeks), but does require a bit more attention.

                                      2. re: hill food

                                        I agree. I hate it when people think they are 'helping' by putting dishes in the sink, RIGHT NEXT TO THE DISHWASHER! I'm speaking primarily about family members so it really does not happen often in our kitchen.

                                    3. re: sunshine842

                                      Biggest thing I have is that I prefer everyone to just leave stuff on the table, because it's easier to ................................................... I've been known to carry things back out to the dining room table when people leave so I can load the dishwasher/clean up the way I like to do it.

                                      I completely relate to this! My friends are trained that when I say "leave it" they leave it. Still working on the husband though, he has a complusion to stack things to the ceiling if left unsupervised.

                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                    It does, but it could be in an area where you wouldnt notice or care: say making sure that bath towels hang the exact same distance from the rod. I mention this because reorganizing the spices and deciding that some items belong in cabinets is classic OCD behavior. People with OCD often know that their behavior is irrational, but feel helpless to stop. It's a really scary disease.

                              1. You know this person, so you know if he or she is likely to redo things to make them "better." If she isn't, is really a kind, thoughtful soul, then I'd overlook it. If she is a kind thoughtful soul who literally did rearrange all my cabinets I'd be pretty peeved too. If it is just a few things out of the dishwasher, then I'd just move on.

                                When I am at someone's house during a visit, I wont' put anything away unless it is obvious where it goes. I've had guests stick things in strange places, and it is never a happy time looking for whatever it is that has been misplaced. But you just have to over look a little of this.

                                If you truly feel that this guest tried redo your stuff to suit her ideas, then I don't know if I'd let her back in my kitchen.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  Yes, as I mentioned -- my visitor (never mentioned a gender, incidentally) rearranged my cabinets, put stuff into cabinets that I keep on the counter (like the bottle of olive oil with a pour spout that lives next to my stove), moved the lower level of spices around, **moved the fruit bowl** (???), threw away a brand new sponge....no single major thing -- just a laundry list of penny-ante little bullshit that makes it NOT my kitchen.

                                  ...and no, won't be allowing this otherwise very pleasant person into my kitchen again.

                                  I totally get the desire to help -- but I totally don't get the urge to re-organize.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    This person needs to get a life! But just move on and if it ever comes up again, tell her to leave your kitchen alone. You are justified in being highly annoyed.

                                2. sunshine, can you go take a little visit to your friend's house for a few days and rearrange HER (or HIS) kitchen?
                                  What's good for the goose.....

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                    what kills me is I've been in this person's kitchen -- and have been asked to help! -- guess I should have rearranged it when I got the chance.

                                    1. This has been an entertaining thread on a windy/rainy afternoon. So I have to thank the OP.

                                      I'm kinda new here so I am hoping (?) that this thread is somewhat in jest. That it was posted so the OP can vent a bit cyber-wise and gain some peace of mind.

                                      I'm sure we ~all~ have house-guest horror stories (don't even get me started on the friend who left her baby's dirty diapers at the foot of my staircase...). But, at the end of the day, as mature adults, we pour a glass of wine. We chuckle. We move on.

                                      If nobody dies, and no one loses a limb, it all kind of evens out at the end.

                                      Still, funny read. And a great way to spend a few moments of (non cooking) internet indoor time!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pedalfaster

                                        I wish it were in jest -- I posted it here because mostly only fellow hounds would truly understand having your inner sanctum rearranged!

                                        I'm not going to lose any sleep over it -- but yes, it gives me a chance to vent to kindred souls.

                                        Should this person visit again, there will be a discussion about limits -- like the one painted at the kitchen door.

                                      2. I just make it clear to everyone who comes to my house that it's MY Kitchen, and that I do not need help in any way, all the way down to clearing the table. I have my way of doing things, and don't want to have to re-do the dishes. Every one kids me about it, but they respect my wishes and stay out. So, in the future, be very firm to your guest about your kitchen wishes. You may have to repeat yourself firmly, but, they will get the picture and leave your kitchen alone. Actually, everyone is okay with this because they don't have to do dishes.

                                        1. My response for anyone offering "help" when I'm in the kitchen?
                                          "Stay the hell outta my way!!! And the best help you can give is to go visit with everyone else that's leaving me alone."
                                          But, there again, in grade school I used to get "Doesn't play well with others" on my report card.

                                          11 Replies
                                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                                              Such hostility towards people who just want to help! Oh my....

                                              I would be grateful to anyone who wanted to clean up after me, and I certainly wouldn't care where they put stuff. It all shows up eventually. HOWEVER, I LIVE with someone who constantly rearranges things in the kitchen to suit himself. He cannot leave ANYTHING alone. Food left on the counter to thaw or even reach room temperature before cooking gets whisked back into the fridge when Im not looking. Olive oil in a tall bottle in the pantry (NEVER next to the stove - horrors!) gets put with the other tall bottles (liquor, etc) instead of on its own shelf with the other olive oils and vinegar. I have to keep buying things like chicken stock and rice, because every time I go to use what I think I have, its not where I KNOW I put it, and I think I've used it up. This is definitely OCD in its most blatant form, and I know that if I don't "let" him do this, his poor little brain will explode. Luckily, he has many other fine qualities. He's just a control freak.

                                              1. re: Cheflambo

                                                I think that's basically the same thing that the OP is describing though. I'm sure your roommate is only trying to help, by putting stuff away, and moving stuff to the fridge. It's just as annoying when a houseguest does it as when a room-mate does it.

                                                1. re: Cheflambo

                                                  How did I miss Cheflambo's post?!?!?! Are we married to the same man?

                                                  Mine does the same things and it drives me crazy. We have been together 20 years and now I just write giant notes and actually tape them to items.

                                                  Most recently it was a bag of snacks for my son's soccer team. I wrote in giant letters - DO NOT TOUCH OR MOVE THIS BAG, I NEED IT FOR TOMORROW!

                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                    Lol. I have the other end of the spectrum. I came home from work one day to find a cheesestick lying on the counter in wrapper. I asked The Duke why he'd left it there. He said he thought it might be one of my "experiments" (sprouts, ferments, pickles, etc.) and didn't want to ruin it.

                                                    P.S. Cleo -- we use a rubberband around the container -- means DO NOT TOUCH and used for items saved for work, raw, marinating, planned for dinner or other uses, "experimental", or possibly homemade catfood. They only eat the (actually very tasty) homemade catfood once before they respect The Rubberband.

                                                    1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                      such a great idea! Will definitely implement capitalized rubber band in my kitchen as of today

                                                      1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                        Funny, except a rubberband would be too subtle for my crew. The other day I put a container of chicken meat pulled off a carcass after stock was made. I put a big note on top: DOG CHICKEN, identifying the designated recipients. This morning my youngest sidled up and whispered "what's IN dog chicken?" Spouse who fed the dogs completely overlooked it.

                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                          Lol tcamp, I don't have a solution for those issues, except to make sure that there's always an evening glass of wine available for yourself. Best of luck. ;)

                                                      2. re: cleobeach

                                                        Cleo - this is a great approach. If only Mr. "I Am Always Right" would abide by written notes.... the problem would be solved. I had no idea he was such a control freak during th 7 years we dated - the past 8.5 we've lived together and it just, never, ends.

                                                        Ive tried to make him understand that constantly re-arranging a cook's pantry is just like going into a blind person's home and rearranging the furniture. And if I take something of HIS, and put it in a place where he would not normally look for it (but where it clearly belongs) he gets quite pissy. I can't win this one ..., I've just surrendered to it.

                                                        1. re: Cheflambo

                                                          Cheflambo - GPS enabled RFID chips, for either the pantry items or the SO to track ALL movements.

                                                2. Unless this person was malicious in their intent, then I wouldn' t sweat it. In their mind they were trying to help. If it bothers you that much, don't invite them back.

                                                  1. Wow. Just wow. I cannot imagine anyone rearranging the kitchen of a house they are a guest in. Absolutely, if someone is kind enough to have me as a guest I am more than happy to pitch in and help in any way that is wanted...but to rearrange a kitchen? That's just bizarre.

                                                    I must admit that when I'm cooking I don't like help in the kitchen. I have a way of doing things to get a meal timed perfectly for the table. I don't know what that way is, but I do know when people offer 'help' things don't get done to how I want it, get done out of whack with my schedule and things get repurposed for things other than my original intention. Nothing major, but it irks me and I like to cook in peace without supervising whether my greens are being blanched appropriately or not.

                                                    If I'm washing up in someone elses house I look in the cupboards to see where things go. If I don't know where they belong I leave the item clean and dry on the kitchen bench, in plain view, so the owner can place it wherever it appropriately belongs. Without going into detail my mother rendered a very important and expensive piece of machinery completely useless by putting a small essential piece *somewhere* and forgetting where that place was.

                                                    I never found it.

                                                    17 Replies
                                                    1. re: TheHuntress

                                                      It was the garbage can probably. Been there, done that.

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        Unlike Mr. Shallots, who in a fit of cleaning up somehow decided the top of the garbage can was trash and moved it from the kitchen to the outside garbage cans for pickup.


                                                        1. re: shallots

                                                          One time, I threw out my wedding ring somehow, I thought the cats knocked it behind the refrigerator but was too lazy to look at the moment. The garbage men were coming down the block, my husband freaked out at my nonchalance and ran out, grabbed the can, dumped it in the garage and lo and behold, my ring was sitting on top of a piece of cheesecake. Don't ask me! He actually threw it at me, and I don't blame him.

                                                          I also threw out our entire address/phone book after I did the Christmas cards one year, and again he found it after all my denials. Guess I figured I was done. Just lucky I guess.

                                                          1. re: coll

                                                            coll - I did the opposite once. in a transcontinental move I took the phone book (yellow pages) and not truly sentimental stuff. idiot.

                                                      2. re: TheHuntress

                                                        "but to rearrange a kitchen? That's just bizarre."

                                                        uhh, I've done worse. <blushing in recall>

                                                        I'm better now.

                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                          Haha. Maybe it's my fundamental laziness that prevents me from rearranging someone elses kitchen. I don't really believe in housework, so in my mind rearranging a kitchen, be it my own or someone elses, is bizarre.

                                                        2. re: TheHuntress

                                                          Ah c'mon lol. Don't need details of how it happened but unless it was some complex naughty toy, do share what was the machinery? I need closure. :)

                                                          (And I am STILL looking for a replacement blunt-ended baking-chamber screw for an ancient breadmaker that worked like a freakin charm. I believe I tossed it from the sink strainer.)

                                                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                            LOL If you really must know it was my breast pump. My mother came to "help" when my son was a newborn. I spent all the time wishing she'd stayed at home and just got on the webcam I'd sent her...

                                                            1. re: TheHuntress

                                                              lolsnort. Okay, now I'm officially an invasive cow. But seriously, no shame in breast pump, in fact terrific for using/trying.

                                                              Moms. Couldn't be alive without them; can't send them 2000 miles away for just 15 minutes. Whatta ya gonna do.

                                                              1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                LOL She now claims she "doesn't remember" this ever occuring, which is such a mum thing it's not funny. I always said there was a reason I moved 2500km away from home. Now I love just far away enough (the other side of the city) so that uninvited house calls just don't happen. It's much easier when a social visit is planned 'cause then I can install her on the couch with a never-ending glass of wine :)

                                                                1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                  Ouch about the breast pump!

                                                                  My mother as has the same type of selective memory when it comes to stresses she has caused me.

                                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                                    As our mothers, that is their right. :-)

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      When my elderly mom was visiting me once, she still loved to "help", especially with housework and "odd jobs" that no one else liked to do. I returned home from work one time and my mom was standing over the bathroom sink with a perturbed look on her face. In the sink was a big pile of oooey gooey, shredded "shrapnel" of some kind, and she had tweezers in one hand...and small bit of something in the other. She says "what the heck got into this anyway"?????.... "I've been working on this for over an hour- and it STILL has a bunch of of junk in it"!!! She held up the tiny sliver of what was left of my $6.00 "special treat" oatmeal bar soap.

                                                                      I almost wet my pants, I laughed so hard.

                                                                      1. re: sedimental

                                                                        Sed - that reminds me of the AbFab scenes when Gran tries to help Saffy in the kitchen, like cutting the 'extra' points off the Star of David shaped Xmas cookies or doing dishes with 'femi-doms' for wash gloves and condoms for the thumbs.

                                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                                            My MIL threw out the blue cheese-it was moldy! She also rearranged my cabinets on day but was just trying to help and was so proud. She was a dear though and I just changed it back after she left. I totally would get being aggravated with someone with different motivations.

                                                                            1. re: wekick

                                                                              My MIL threw out the blue cheese-it was moldy!

                                                                              Thankfully I was only drinking water when I read that . . .it exits the nose so much more easily than other beverages ;)

                                                            2. Sounds like my wife. I know, technically, it's half her kitchen too but I do 80% of the cooking so I should have 80% of the say where things go. Maybe if I made the bed more often...

                                                              1. I feel your pain! A few years ago (yes I still remember aaaagh!) at our vacation home, my guest decided to rearrange my kitchen. We have an open plan so I'm in the living room and I can see her doing something in the kitchen for quite a while. Cabinet doors banging, etc. I asked her what she was doing and she said "oh just puttering". I did not know her very well - husband was a long time friend of her husband's - so I said nothing. The day she left I redid my kitchen. I thought it was ????? Now I see I'm not alone.

                                                                1. Dear Houseguest...

                                                                  I love that we have known each other over 35 years and the fact that we live in different countries means that much more that you came here to see me.

                                                                  Living in wine country, it was cool that when you asked me to choose between two colognes you wanted wear, you understood that I didn't like eye-tearing, throat-closing, nose-bleeding aromas which interfere with wine tasting and smelling.

                                                                  I thought you would have remembered that the following morning when you were getting ready to leave and you drenched yourself with one of those colognes and made my guestroom (art studio!) completely uninhabitable for almost a week while I aired it out, sprinkled baking soda on the rug and vacuumed, and had wash every sheet and towel you were exposed to during your short stay.

                                                                  I love you madly, my old friend. But I think you should stay in a hotel next time...

                                                                  1. Just a thought - any chance this guest did this only to irk you, in a misguided attempt at a joke? You know 'hey, I bet it will make sunshine842 crazy to see the pepper in the place that the cumin should go. Haha.'

                                                                    1. Putting something away in a kitchen not your own *not knowing where it goes* --
                                                                      haha the same as hiding it!

                                                                        1. re: beevod

                                                                          only if you promise not to rearrange my kitchen! :)

                                                                        2. And what would happen if you politely told her that this "helping" caused you X hours of re-fixing the kitchen and could she/he not do it again on their next visit - or do so if they appear to be coming to visit again? Is this a person whose presence in your life is essential or is it someone whose possible snit and not returning would not create a void?

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: lemons

                                                                            I like the honest statement. I mean, we're all busy, and spending 5 minutes each, looking for 20 different things, is time most of us don't have.

                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                              should this person visit again, there will be a very civil, but very direct statement that I really don't like having people moving my stuff around in my kitchen, so while they are welcome to wash dishes and load the dishwasher, I will take care of putting things away.

                                                                              There will be an equally civil-but-direct statement that my kitchen is arranged according to my preferences, and altering that in any way, even under the guise of "trying to help" will leave me far more annoyed than appreciative of the efforts.

                                                                          2. I have never had a house guest intentionally rearrange my kitchen - how frustrating!

                                                                            We have a running joke in my house that when we can't find something in the kitchen it's because my stepfather put it away - because whenever they visit he helps out by emptying the dishwasher/dish drainer, and putthing things in completely different and sometimes very strange places. it's not worth getting frustrated over long term, hence our little family joke. :)

                                                                            1. sunshine, you could always print out a copy of this thread and share it with your friend. Venting with kindred spirits is all well and good but don't you really want to deal with this directly so there isn't a next time...perspective can be a great educator.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                HillJ, nice idea, but too easily deciphered as passive-aggressive/ducking (and we've said some mean things). better to be up front. "I LOVE that you wash, but just leave it in the rack, if you're bored and you want to alphabetize my bookshelf by author, COOL! just leave the cabinets alone PLEASE"

                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                  and that's probably very much along the lines of what I would actually say.

                                                                                  I wouldn't say to the person's face that I think rearranging my kitchen is weird and makes me think that you find my kitchen not acceptable, nor that it drove me batshit crazy for two days trying to figure out where you put things and to put things BACK to the way I like them....

                                                                                  ...unless a little self-deprecation (yeah, my kitchen is one of the mysteries of the universe - nobody understands my system) and the above approach flat-out didn't work. THEN I would just be really blunt and upfront and lay it out unadorned, as in Okay. I've tried subtle, now I'm just going to ask that you just stay out of my kitchen, because it makes me crazy that you feel the need to reorganize my stuff.

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    hey hill food, morning somewhere!
                                                                                    I believe my idea was to deal directly...not just vent here. The only person directly bothered is sunshine. And sometimes sharing the perspective to help make your points (since it appears the point did NOT get thru) can help. Think of this thread as a TOOL. Passive-aggressive is venting here and doing nothing about it in RL...which sunshine is not doing.

                                                                                2. Aiyiyi... LIke a good friend of mine always says, houseguests are like fish - they both start to stink after 3 days. Although in this case, sounds like they wore out their welcome a lot quicker!

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                    or as a bike messenger in SF in 1992 once told me "agencies are like underwear, ya gotta change them regularly"

                                                                                    which I think covers a wide swath...

                                                                                    1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                      House guests are a pain. Who really has the space? Get a hotel!

                                                                                    2. This made me remember something; another way guests might be looking at it. While my husband was in the hospital long term, my sister flew cross country to stay with me and give me support, which was wonderful and much appreciated. But as she went through my house, she accused me of being a "hoarder" and (with my permission, I was in a fragile state) moved everyday things I had out on the counter in the kitchen like oils and vinegars and what she didn't throw out, she hid deep in the pantry, out of sight. Went through my garage and declared I had too many empty jars and tossed them all. I don't mind a bit of clutter, especially in my kitchen, but from reading other threads here I realize that some like a clean, antiseptic look....I'm nowhere near a hoarder by the way, but I do like to have a few months rations on hand at all times!! If she tried to do that now, though, I'd say thanks but no thanks.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                        I've been through that, coll!
                                                                                        Over the last few years, I've spent a good amount of time away from home for medical reasons. The ex-bf would regularly rearrange everything to suit him. It was frustrating as he** to complain about it and get "if you need to find it or reach it, I'm always here". As soon as he was gone, the kitchen got rearranged to my cooking and reaching needs.

                                                                                        OT, but related to the garage incident, the last time I was gone for 3 1/2 months. Mom was kind enough to clean up my closets and dresser. She tossed things out with no rhyme or reason - not size, not color, not wearability or comfort. I keep planning on what I'll wear, only to find that it's not there. But it's led to a big thrift store binge, LOL!

                                                                                        1. re: tracylee

                                                                                          I have a doppleganger friend flying in tomorrow, with her husband who is in the same shape as my husband, and her dream is hitting all the thrift shops within an hour of here. I am so looking forward to it!

                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                            Yay! That's my kind of girls shopping day :-)

                                                                                      2. Is this maybe a generational thing? I dunno, I just can't imagine any of my friends doing this, like EVER. Ok, one friend, but she has a mental illness that causes manic episodes, and if she wanted to rearrange my kitchen because it would make her feel better, that would be fine with me. But note, I said "manic episode" - when she's in the sane zone, this would never even occur to her either! Could there be some mental illness involved in this? It seems a bit obsessive and controlling....

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                          I also wonder if maybe it is generational? Or age-induced? I am in my early 40s and agree with Heatherb, not one of my friends or house guests would ever re-arrange anything in my house.

                                                                                          Not the same as kitchen antics but my father had a 70 yo visitor that took it upon herself to "clean" his kitchen cupboards and prune all of his landscaping. He went absolutely nuts when he came home and saw what she did. (this was a friend travelling with his sibling)

                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                            Nope, all involved parties are fortyish.

                                                                                            And coll -- just say no. (always easier said than done, but I think I would make it clear that the "help" is not welcome)

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              I would have said no, but they did need it and I just hadn't found the time and it's getting so close to winter. Lots of excuses, it seemed like a great idea at the time. I think my husband was happy though, he loves that military look.

                                                                                            2. re: cleobeach

                                                                                              Ooooh, I just had someone prune my front hedges and hydranga; she offered and I said great as long as you don't go too crazy. I like the natural, sort of overgrown look, and explained explicitly. Returned from my shopping trip to find everything hacked down to bare branches. If it was the spring OK, it would grow back quickly, but I have to look at this for the next six months. I was so furious I couldn't fall asleep the next two nights until 3:30AM just thinking about it, and what the neighbors will think (sad to say, but it's that kind of neighborhood).

                                                                                              This is the same aide I mentioned above that "hides' my kitchen stuff, she means well, bless her soul. Guess I should just get used to it.

                                                                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                If it is generational, it also affects people who are currently 20somethings and 30somethings. The last houseguest who re-organized my glassware was born in 1975. The helpful guest who threw out my measuring cup of freshly-squeezed lemon juice that was on the counter, before I had a chance to add it to my salad dressing, then "put away" all my plates and napkins right before my cocktail party was about to begin, was also born in the 1975. The guest who took the initiative to throw out our leftovers when she took the initiative to clear the table was born in 1983.

                                                                                                Some people just can't help themselves.

                                                                                              2. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                Hmm, the generational thing is interesting. My mother always had a compulsive NEED to reorganise my bedroom, and later on my home to HER liking. It always drove me nuts (she stopped when I married Mr. Huntress as he can be formidible, but she still "suggests" what I should do) and it's not something I've ever found within my own generation. I've had many friends to stay with me and she's the only one I ever found to behave in such a manner. To clarify she is 65, insists that she's "helping" and does not understand the word "no!" (much like my beautiful Finnish Lapphund).

                                                                                                1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                  I think some of that is just the mother/daughter thing -- your mother can push all your buttons, because she's the one who wired them all.

                                                                                                  My mom makes "suggestions", but knows better than to rearrange my house!

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    You haven't made my truly sweet daughter! :-) She will always voice some suggestion how I can keep my house more stream-lined and neater. The thing is, she is usually correct.....

                                                                                                2. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                  <It seems a bit obsessive and controlling>

                                                                                                  It is. Years ago I arranged my daughter's kitchen, thinking it would help. She called me on it, enough that I did a bit of self introspection with some help, and never did it again.

                                                                                                3. you know there is good money in becoming a professional house assistant...maybe channeling your houseguests energy in a welcoming direction is the answer. Some busy folks pay good $ for such assistance.

                                                                                                  1. What's wrong with "What the f*ck are you doing in my kitchen?" Works for me. I suppose I'm a bit less passive with my aggression, but there's a lot of power included in a direct approach to anything - especially if the target of the truth has respect for you in some way.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                      wouldn't be my first choice of wording, but wouldn't be the first time I'd said something like that, either. (there comes a point when being nice and subtle hints clearly aren't working...)

                                                                                                    2. Rearranging your kitchen? Oh no no no no NO!!! You do NOT move things around in Sanctuary. Ever! My mother knows that. If she can't find the place to return an item quickly, she'll leave it for me to put away.

                                                                                                      And having read that you had even asked her *not* to help, to continue to put things in places where they didn't belong is way WAY wrong.

                                                                                                      I think less subtlety is needed with this one should she return as a guest.

                                                                                                      1. In our home I do all of the cooking. My lovely wife stays out of my way and does the clean up. This arrangement works for us.
                                                                                                        When we have guests and they ask: "can I do anything to help?"
                                                                                                        My answer is always: "the best thing you can do to help is to stay out of my kitchen!!!"

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                          I'm always glad to have people come in and visit, and I have a few friends who are "family enough" that they'll make a salad, etc. -- they frequently bring ingredients and then prepare at my place so we can spend a little more time together....and I never mind having someone hang out in the kitchen with me while I finish something up....

                                                                                                          but yes, this phrase gets moved higher on the probable-usage list.

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            We have a big kitchen which is divided by a counter/island with stools. If guests stay on their side of the counter I'll put out finger food while I cook.
                                                                                                            But stay out of my cooking zone. I've got a flow and a system. Turning around with a pot of steaming food and running into a "do gooder" who "just wanted to clean this spoon" makes me crazy.

                                                                                                            1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                              my own family can't get that one straight -- can't count the number of times I have a boiling pot of pasta that needs to be drained, and they decide they need to wash their glasses RIGHT THAT MINUTE

                                                                                                        2. This reminds me of something that happened to my sister. When she and my BIL moved into their first home together, my mom & dad went to help them, and (I think) stayed overnight. BIL went to get a mug for coffee and found that Mom had moved them. BIL was a bit peeved to say the least. Sister talked to Mom and she answered she was just "trying to help." Mom doesn't have a malicious bone in her body, isn't controlling in any way and probably didn't think about it at all. Many years later we realized she does have some OCD issues that manifested in other ways much less intrusive. BUT! She was obsessive about cleaning (actually both she and Dad were). She cleaned my microwave oven - barely a month old in my brand new townhouse--and scratched the door. I was not happy about that and the evidence is still there. Dad once cleaned the top of my brother's fridge without asking (thereby instituting a running joke amongst all the siblings--gotta make sure it's clean before they come over) and cleaned my sliding glass door while they were visiting me. He "felt much better" after that one....

                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                            I hadn't thought about this in years -- friends of ours closed on a house just weeks before their first child was born. Because she was pregnant from her nose to her toes, she couldn't do anything except sit in a chair with her feet propped up and direct traffic as we all carried things into the new house.

                                                                                                            Someone asked if they wanted us to unload the boxes -- and nobody thought about the implications -- and she gratefully said Yes, Please.

                                                                                                            So we all unloaded boxes and put things away where we would have put them away in our own homes....and because they didn't know who unloaded what box, they didn't even know who to ask!

                                                                                                            That was different to my situation-- she wasn't capable of doing it herself; we DID ask, she accepted, and nobody thought about it until the amused, then stressed, then seriously-annoyed phone calls started making the rounds to figure out where all her stuff might be. (pissed-off pregnant woman in nesting phase is not a good thing)

                                                                                                            When she and the baby returned home and she felt halfway like a human being again, we took turns going back through and helping her re-organize and find things again.

                                                                                                            1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                              Shared this one on my facebook profile recently:
                                                                                                              It reminded me of two friends I had growing up (in fact we are stil friends 30 years on). They both came from neat-freak households and my house did NOT meet the standard. They would come over and start cleaning. Sometimes I couldn't find the stuff they tidied for weeks.
                                                                                                              There might be a *touch* of OCD there... but they're functional happy adults. Just not ones I would want to live with :)

                                                                                                              1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                The mother of a friend of mine once proudly scrubbed the seasoning off his seasoned cast iron skillets when she visited him and did dishes. She really scrubbed. They were, briefly, shiny....

                                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                  *facepalm* -- I have never seen a shiny cast-iron skillet, even new!

                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                    Well, I've seen shiny, but still dark: when I removed the moldy seasoning of my grandmother's skillets using the Easy Off in a bag and oven cleaning mode steps (separate steps), I got a dark shiny skillet (now the sand in which they were cast was noticeably finer than the cast iron of today ... so beautiful) before I immediately proceeded to re-season them.

                                                                                                              2. I feel your pain! In my 79 years on this rocky old planet, I'm sorry to say that in my realm of experience, "house guest" seems to be a synonym for "former friend." The BEST experience I've ever had with house guests was when I invited total strangers to stay with us when I overheard them on a bus, talking about the horrible hotel they were staying in while their new apartment was being finished. Great guests! The worst guests I've ever had were friends, not strangers. So my basic rule is that if I want to retain a friendship, they stay in a hotel. If I want to dump them, give 'em a chance as house guests.

                                                                                                                Sheesh. This makes it sound like I associate with really rotten people, but I don't! They're all great people. Until they sleep in my guest rooms! Maybe there's something in the guest rooms that turns them into monsters? As for your current guest, I offer the sage advice my mother used to comfort me with: In a hundred years from now, no one will give a damn.

                                                                                                                1. Reminds me of when my mom had a couple relatives of ours stay at her house once. One of them drank all the wine in the house, mom didn't realize it till after they left. Both of them also proceeded to rearrange the entire living room while she was out one morning as well. I thought I might actually see my moms head spin a la The Exorcist on that one.

                                                                                                                  They never stayed at her house again....and even when they visited, the wine she didn't want drunk came to my house for hiding.

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: elkgrovestella

                                                                                                                    "also proceeded to rearrange the entire living room"

                                                                                                                    uhh I've done that. a long long time ago.

                                                                                                                    it is about OCD, whenever my dad drives my car he takes it upon himself to remove the maps, (sealed) water bottles, can of WD-40, the CD cases but leaving the CD's in the stereo, the spare packs of cigarettes I try to 'forget' about so I'm not stranded at 2 AM, etc. I understand the impulse, but jeez. as one wants their coffee mugs by the pot, the usual spices in front, one wants maps and WD-40 and cellphone car charger IN the car.

                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                      OMG anyone messes with my Beast (car) death would automatically ensue. I still haven't forgiven my closest friends new husband when he, trying to be smart on their wedding night, stood on my leather seats in his grubby shoes and scratched them while I was driving them to their hotel. That is akin to using a scourer on my favourite roasting pan or soaking my favourite wooden chopping board.

                                                                                                                      1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                                        soaking wood? ..... that gives me the reaction of chewing on aluminum foil. ok, I can deal with it if I plan on chucking said wood directly on the grill after that.

                                                                                                                        is the Beast a convertible of some type?

                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          I think the chewing on alfoil simile works well.

                                                                                                                          The Beast is a convertible (complete with HUNTRESS number plates), hence probably why he thought it would be a great idea to stand up whilst in a moving vehicle on the highway. It taught me that if I don't know the drunk very well I shouldn't put the roof down.

                                                                                                                          1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                                            or if you're feeling truly w/o scruples, know where the low overpass bridges are...

                                                                                                                            sadly that happened a few years ago in DC on an open-air double-decker tour bus.

                                                                                                                  2. sigh...lol......ALL of theses crazy stories are why people are not invited into our home.

                                                                                                                    1. I totally get not wanting anyone in my kitchen and am politely clear about what is okay for guests to help with. What is bothering me about this thread is the amount of blame being aimed at family and (presumably) friends who are trying to be helpful. It's drilled into many of us that we should be good guests, which to many means cleaning up, stripping beds,etc. Perhaps the best perspective is to see people as well-meaning, and to work on letting go of the inner control freak.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                                        I believe the control freak is the one who goes in and rearranges someone else's stuff, not the one who opens the cabinets and wonders what the hell happened.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                          Oh man did I love that reply. Depends on which shoe is on what foot...I do suppose! Since it's your home, sunshine your rules...but, control...well-don't we all have some level of control over "our" things...

                                                                                                                        2. My SIL who came to stay a short while (4 plus years). I designed my kitchen prior to the renovation as a work place. It was not an entertainment center and did not open to any other part of the house. SIL wanted to help and jumped in improving to her taste my meals. And the layout of my cabinets, etc.

                                                                                                                          She was one of a bale of straws and the divorce happened a year later. In my case, when somebody would ask if they could help, my response was always "Make me a Manhattan."

                                                                                                                          My ex kept an eagle eye on any help with cleanup as the vast majority of stuff was Limoges, Spode, Villoroy & Boch, Bavarian crystal, etc. and had to be hand washed. Our philosophy was that chipped china was a tragedy while broken stemware was inevitable.

                                                                                                                          Touch my spice racks and that is grounds for keelhauling.

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                            >>>"Make me a Manhattan."<<<

                                                                                                                            Brandy or Bourbon? :-)

                                                                                                                            Are you still in FL or WI this time of year?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                              Brandy? Only rye whiskey for me.

                                                                                                                            2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                              "Make me a Manhattan."

                                                                                                                              I like that. I may change the beverage of choice, and add "and after that there's an article in an old Nat Geo on the shelf from the late 60's/early 70's about the Aswan Dam and the moving of the Abu Simbel funerary temples that has some photos I'd like to show you if you can find it".

                                                                                                                              smoke and mirrors

                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                'add "and after that there's an article in an old Nat Geo on the shelf from the late 60's/early 70's about the Aswan Dam and the moving of the Abu Simbel funerary temples that has some photos I'd like to show you if you can find it".'

                                                                                                                                I like THAT. Poifect.

                                                                                                                            3. I always read these kinds of posts and wonder why the person just doesn't say to the offending friend/relative/loved on, "Stop doing that. Thank you." I can't think of one friend or relative that I would invite to stay overnight in my house that I am not comfortable enough with to just point blank tell them to stop doing the offending behavior. Am I alone in this?

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                  because the worst of it wasn't discovered until after departure.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                    "because the worst of it wasn't discovered until after departure."

                                                                                                                                    Fair enough.

                                                                                                                                2. I have to confess... when my ex and I first were young newlyweds, we went back to his hometown for his younger sister's wedding. We stayed overnight at the bride's apartment, which was the upstairs flat in the old house across the street from Mom and Dad. On the morning of the wedding day, I was bored to death, all the family was preparing for the wedding and, having nothing to do, I gave the ancient stained kitchen sink (remember the big white cast iron ones that hung on the wall?) a super dooper good scrubbing and got it pretty clean with an hour's work. Before we left the next day, the bride and the downstairs landlord told me thanks for cleaning the sink, but it's coming out tomorrow and a new cabinet and new sink are being installed, and that's why bridey hadn't wasted time trying to get the stains out.

                                                                                                                                  Lesson learned at a tender age.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. 4 words. Put it back please

                                                                                                                                    31 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                      and that's exactly what I would have said, had I realized what chaos had been wrought *before* this person left.

                                                                                                                                      Should they come back, it will be "stay out of my kitchen".

                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                          >>>have they since apologized?<<<

                                                                                                                                          Your question is interesting because sunshine842 thinks:

                                                                                                                                          " I couldn't help but interpret the myriad little "fixes" as a not-too-subtle hint that my kitchen and my ways aren't up to their standard"

                                                                                                                                          So why would they apologize? In sunshine842's mind, they think her standards are not acceptable.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                            Either that, or s/he is one of those people who is so self absorbed that it never occurs to him/her that doing things their way can be irritating as hell to a gracious hostess. I''ve been reading this thread since the beginning and reliving some of my own nightmares. May this be Sunshine's ONLY nightmare guest. Wish I'd only had just one. '-)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                              >>> I''ve been reading this thread since the beginning and reliving some of my own nightmares<<<

                                                                                                                                              Please share why you would continue to read an internet thread and relive nightmares.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                Perversity. I fall subject to it every once in a while. Moth to a flame, and all that jazz. I have also been speculating as to whether where people live is somehow related to bad experiences with house guests? Sunshine lives in Paris. A very popular place that everyone wants to visit. My greatest number of nightmare guest incidents occurred when I lived in Las Vegas. As with Sunshine, we were old friends. In my case, we had been friends when we both lived in Dayton, Ohio. They stayed in Ohio, we moved to Las Vegas. As guests, they were demanding, brought a family member I had no idea was coming, insisted on using our car for their sightseeing (without us!), wanted breakfast at such and such an hour. They were by far the worst guests I've ever had in my life, and I had absolutely NO idea they could be such tacky idiots when we were friends in Ohio. They were not the only bad guests we had when we lived in Las Vegas, but they were the worst by far. When we moved from Vegas and life returned to normal, I promised myself that if I ever live in a popular tourist destination again, I will have NO guest rooms! Aero! Zilch! So now I'm wondering whether anyone else who lives in a dream-vacation destination has had problems with guests you thought were nice people until they came to sleep in your guest room???? Curious minds want to know! '-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                  The first thing that any realtor in Honolulu tells prospective clients from the Mainland is to be sure not to have any extra bedrooms, or if you do, call it a den, a study, a library, a man cave, anything except a spare room. Have them stay in Waikiki where there are many things for them to see and do while you are busy with work, etc.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                    "The first thing that any realtor in Honolulu tells prospective clients from the Mainland is to be sure not to have any extra bedrooms, or if you do, call it a den, a study, a library, a man cave, anything except a spare room."

                                                                                                                                                    Good thinking. The last thing a person wants are guests. Who in the world would want to host, share hospitality and spend time with their friends.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                      I can understand the sentiments about extra rooms in a home in Hawaii. My father has a winter home in Arizona. If everyone he tells to come visit and stay with him actually showed up, he would have houseguests continually December through March each year. His Canadian cousin used to visit years ago when my Mom was still alive. But when my mother's health began to fail they had to stop inviting the cousin to visit. She was one of those that needed to be entertained and fed well three times a day. Ever since my mom died almost 5 years ago he welcomes visitors, especially at Christmas time. Most of his adult grandchildren have spent Christmas in Arizona. Unfortunatley, my 87 year old uncle (mom's brother), who has visited annually for ten years, now has a failing heart that will prevent him from making the trip.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                        exactly. i don't have a spare room. when people who are important to me come, i spend a week on the couch, unless they are younger than me, then they get the couch.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                          Do you have people calling you from the mainland asking if you'll put them up for certain amount of time? When they're coming for a vacation?
                                                                                                                                                          I mean, that takes a certain amount of chutzpah doesn't it?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                            yes, actually it would be nice if they asked. usually they tell me when they are going to be in town and assume that I will put them up. "Eric had such a good time when he was there, we will be there the last week in August." Never mind that 'Eric' and I have been best friends since 5th grade, etc., etc., etc..

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                              repeat after me: "Oh, really? Where are you staying? Maybe we could get together."

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                we're gonna be staying with you, that way it won't interrupt your schedule to always have to go pick us up for lunch and stuff . . .

                                                                                                                                                                so considerate huh?

                                                                                                                                                                LOL, glad you clearly understand the situation sunshine. let me know when you want to borrow my skillet to clobber someone.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                  Gah. That's when I suddenly remember a business trip or something equally forgiving.

                                                                                                                                                                  That is such blatant dipshittery, and I'm sorry it happens to you.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                        oh I am SO FWD'ing that to a friend on Oahu North Shore (after I visit).

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                          I totally understand that- living in Manhattan means being a constant "hotel". Not that we have a spare room, or even a spare square foot.

                                                                                                                                                          The worst I've imposed in someone else's house is when staying with a friend I cleaned her bathroom. It filthy, borderline unusable. But a kitchen, - I know better than to mess with that.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                          Not my house but our best friends' place -

                                                                                                                                                          Our friends have a beach house and were the type of hosts that loved guests.

                                                                                                                                                          The culture of our group is such that as guests, we always tried to do more than our fair share to keep the house running smoothly. We would plan groceries and beverages in advance (including paying for both) and take turns treating the hosts to meals out. We would take our own linens to keep laundry at a minimum, empty the trash and recycling before it overflows, that sort of thing.

                                                                                                                                                          One week, the host husband invites two couples he was friends with through work. I have never seen such lazy and clueless people.

                                                                                                                                                          The list of their bad behavior is too long to post but the icing on the cake was when we were getting ready to leave, I asked the wife to grab one of the trash bags as we were loading the cars and she said "no, I am on vacation and I don't take the trash out."

                                                                                                                                                          This visit spanned a week. They expected the host to pay for their meals out at restaurants. After the second time, my husband chimed in with "hey, how about chipping in for the tip." They stayed silent with their wallets shut.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                            cleo - what fun!

                                                                                                                                                            you however have an open invitation here. how are you at restringing barbed-wire fences?

                                                                                                                                                            so did you drag the trash out and toss it in their car trunk? on top of the luggage? I hope it was leaky.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                              I'll pack my work gloves.

                                                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, they didn't have a car but that would have been great!

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                              "Our friends have a beach house and were the type of hosts that loved guests."

                                                                                                                                                              I think a 'beach house' is much different than the 'everyday living' house.
                                                                                                                                                              The concept is different. A beach house is where we go to relax...get away from the everyday stresses of life. The dynamic is different than our home where we're in the midst of all kinds of things that don't happen when we're 'away from it all'.
                                                                                                                                                              We can relax differently and guests take on a whole different meaning.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                Garbage still accumulates.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sr44

                                                                                                                                                                  Haha yeah you're right. All kinds of garbage.

                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                              <where people live is somehow related to bad experiences>

                                                                                                                                                              I prefer not being a guest in someone's home. I enjoy the quiet solitude of a hotel with great room service. When visiting friends or family it's what I do. The few times I've had guests were the times people called and asked me if it was alright if they stayed with me. Of course I obliged but I've always been relieved to see them go.
                                                                                                                                                              My home is my sanctuary and I'm yet to find the person who's able to not feel slighted when I'm reading or painting or bathing or relaxing. I'm always feeling like I have to entertain them...take them places, feed them and make sure they're comfortable 24/7. A guest seems to enter a home and think they're entitled to be waited on hand and foot.....their independency that I loved seems to always disappear once they enter the threshold.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                I actually far prefer your type of host. I'm an introvert. I like my "me" time and do not need constant entertaining... it's great when both host and guest can relax with a book! Come to my cottage anytime ;)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                  I AM that low-maintenance type of guest you seek. I don't want you to lift one finger except to say "extra TP is here, hope the couch is OK, let the dogs get to know you and all is cool"

                                                                                                                                                                  and it is.

                                                                                                                                                                  I can sleep through your kid's AM tantrums, find my own way etc. I do find myself puzzled by the 'needy' guests (sheesh here's a map already)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                    <I am that low-maintenance type of guest you seek>

                                                                                                                                                                    Although those very few who've called and asked to stay here....it never happens the way you've described it. I live in a vacation destination spot for out-of-towners and that's generally when they come....when they're going on vacation. Even the most well intentioned friends/family just can't help themselves. It's best they, like me, stay in a hotel when I go to their town.
                                                                                                                                                                    I agree with the 'needy' guests syndrome. One look of 'needy' in their eye I'm done :).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                      my brother-in-law and his wife are actually that type of guest -- thus we never mind having them stay as long or as often as they want -- they arrive in their own rental car with maps and idea of what they want to do, and tell us in the morning or call us during the day to let us know if they'll be back for dinner or not -- they even wash the sheets and towels before they leave!

                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes they cook, sometimes I cook -- and sometimes we just order pizza. It's all good.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                        yeah let them ask a concierge for ideas. I used to live in SF and we got a lot of that type of visitor. actually had a boss once when she couldn't get a room at her preferred hotel in Istanbul would call their concierge desk anyway to book things never mentioning she wasn't actually a guest!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                          so long as she gave the concierge a nice tip...

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                    and Sunshine USED to live in Florida, so you'd think I'd have learned something.... ;P

                                                                                                                                                                    Actually -- when we were in FL, usually when someone called and said "Guess what, we're coming to Florida!" our first response was "Great! Where are you staying?"

                                                                                                                                                                    But here -- because of the expense involved in coming to see us HERE (no $39 Southwest tickets to Paris....) we don't mind letting people stay here, because we get a fraction of the visitors we had in FL.

                                                                                                                                                                    I haven't asked for an apology, because visitor is back in the US, with no return visit on the radar. Everything has been returned to its proper place, and while incredibly frustrating, there just isn't any reason to pick that scab and make it bleed at this point in the game.

                                                                                                                                                                    But, as I've stated before -- should there BE a return visit, there will be an upfront request about staying out of my kitchen, no matter how much you want to help.

                                                                                                                                                      3. I have a somewhat scatter-brained niece (she's only five years younger than me so she was always more like a little sister) who had a kitchen that I badly wanted to organize. Not the food or spices, the cupboards and drawers where she kept the pots, pans, utensils, etc. She has four daughters, one with special needs, and has a hectic life. I was at her house helping out with family birthday parties and was cooking in her kitchen. Apparently, she never puts things like spatulas, bowls, tongs, etc. in the same place twice. She just opens a cupboard or drawer and sticks the clean stuff out of the dishwasher wherever it will fit at that particular time (everything goes into the dishwasher). I told her she really ought to have an organized system for her kitchen stuff. Her reply is that she does not have time for that. Of course, she wastes more time looking for stuff than time she saves using her non-system. I never really seriously considered organizing her kitchen stuff. I am sure she would have appreciated it, seriously, but in a week things would have returned to her chaotic normal. It would have been too much work anyway. She and her family have since moved across the country, but I'm sure she is using the same non-system in Philadelphia. (I hope they ride out the Frankenstorm ok).

                                                                                                                                                        1. My sister house sat for us last week while we were away. I have yet to find my bread board and the mouse for the computer......

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PhilipS

                                                                                                                                                            sounds like a friend I lived with once. OCD and ADD in one package. all the spoons would disappear and show up under the linens. or the broom would just vanish somewhere between the kitchen and the trash can.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Geez. Washing and putting away a few dishes in the wrong place is understandable; I'm sure I've done that to my friends before.

                                                                                                                                                            But this is awful. I would be unable to hide my extreme displeasure with this person. I'm not sure I would invite them over again, no matter how close of a friend they were. Very intrusive.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Amen! I have one dear friend that insists on cleaning my kitchen after dinner. It literally drives me crazy! Even if I flat out tell her I don't want her to clean my kitchen. She puts things in the dishwasher that I only hand wash. I can't find items. Ugg!

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pagesinthesun

                                                                                                                                                                I had a visitor once who liked to help by making sure all his hosts pans were bright and shiny. I didn't mind so much having shiny bottoms on my revere ware, the copper will re-patina itself. But how he got my cast iron pan to be silver grey again i'll never know, it must have taken him hours. Two years later it's still not as slippery and non-stick as it was. The look on his face when I greased it up and stuck it in the oven for 3 hours was priceless.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                  I'll bet..........still laughing here

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                    and you had to have been tempted to dull it a little via repeated contact with his skull....

                                                                                                                                                                2. We are on our way (700 miles) to stay with good friends for a few days and help them paint their newly finished basement. I promise not to try and put anything away in the kitchen. I usually don't anyway, but I won't feel guilty about it anymore. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. So after all of these replies and advice, how did you decide to resolve this issue so it does not occur in the future, sunshine842?

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. We think this thread has pretty much had its day. We're going to lock it now.