You know who these people are. You may not know if you are one of them. The Guests From Hell, that is.
If you live anywhere near a place that is a desirable vacation spot (beach, mountains, major amusement/water park) and your house has floor space and an extra bathroom, then you will likely get company this summer. I was always brought up to be a good host and an extremely good guest. In other words, I welcome those who come to my home as if it’s their home, provide as much space and comfort as possible, while affording them cleanliness, good meals and good company. In turn, as a guest, I’m considerate to the extreme. I bring a small gift, offer to pay for meals, offer to help with anything and make sure any facilities I use are left as clean or cleaner than I found them.
Apparently, I am a little behind the times on the host/guest memo. I’m hearing some really disturbing “guest from hell” stories lately. Like the one from an acquaintance who had to put up with her husband’s friends (husband, wife and their kids) crashing at their place after their camping trip went bad, with their camping gear and ten loads of laundry. And that was on top of expecting to be fed and entertained for four days, complaining about the size of the guest room, and not lifting a finger to help or pay. Let’s just say these are not people who would be on my holiday card list anymore.
Another acquaintance recounted two weeks’ worth of taking time off to take care of her visiting mother-in-law’s needs while her husband continued to work without time off. She did this while mother-in-law dearest reminded her often of how unworthy she was of being her son’s wife.
There are plenty of examples from this hilarious New York Times story, part of a 2007 book review of Judith Viorst’s “Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days,” the story of household life when the author’s son and his family moved in with her during a home renovation:
- “Shortest staying houseguest: My husband’s brother, who had hardly put down his bags before looking me up and down, gasping and saying “Wow! You’ve got so fat. You should work out. Look at my abs!” He was hastily handed a cheese sandwich to eat on the train during the journey back home an hour later.”
- “My worst houseguest invited herself to my home when I was on maternity leave with my 4-week-old firstborn. I was hesitant about having a guest but she insisted, saying she would be visiting other friends most of the time and just needed a place to crash. Instead, she was around all the time. My newborn was extremely colicky, and I was underslept, bleary, and tearful. Still, I dragged myself around trying to entertain and feed her (She never offered to help with a thing). The kicker was when she asked me what I would DO all day if I didn’t have her to entertain, and told me I would be incontinent in my old age because of giving birth vaginally.”
- “When my Australian daughter-in-law arrived she ordered that all the sheets and quilts for herself and the rest of family be re-washed, cleaned out perfectly good food in my fridge and said she would take over the cooking; sniffed the milk and jars and pronounced most of the stuff unhealthy, and kept my washing machine at work almost all day long. When I offered the grandchildren chocolate and gifts she removed them saying only SHE could decide what they could eat or have. I wanted to tell her off, but didn’t in order to spare my son. But next time she comes, if ever, she can stay in a motel.”
- “Cousins from the Midwest stopped by for just one night on their way home. They had been touring Cape Cod, but it smelled as though they had been to a garlic festival and sampled every form of the stinking rose known to humankind. Their combined breath was so bad, it was … well, breathtaking. Our entire house reeked of garlic for days after they left.”
- “Within days of my moving into a new house an old friend showed up unannounced and needed a place to stay for a few days, which ended up being 8 weeks. She moved her girlfriend in, smoked crack in my spare bedroom, broke dishes and “hid” them in my bathtub (why??) and spilled candle wax on my new carpet. She had gross habits like taking a bath and leaving the water in it ‘in case somebody else wants to take one too.’ The day I kicked her out she proceeded to lecture me on how messed up my life was and that I should get help.”
Summertime, and apparently, the living isn’t so easy when you have guests like these. How about you? Got any good guest from hell stories to share?
- Summertime…& the living is easy… (tivyhall.wordpress.com)
- Summertime Fun: Bathing beauty takes the plunge! (carpentersquill.wordpress.com)
- Summertime (lovebykimb.wordpress.com)
- The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Winter (with apologies to Judith Viorst) (fredsfive.wordpress.com)