Saturday, November 22, 2008

Color Me Cranky

Here's how NOT to be a good guest.

I've had an out of town friend spend the last three nights at my home while attending a training session. Understand that I like this person immensely, and I doubt she has any clue as to how she drove me crazy during her stay.

First thing: She came downstairs to my warm living room, threw open the french doors that close off the living room from the upstairs, and said, "It's cold upstairs. Let's get some heat up there."

Umm--let's NOT!

I deliberately close off the upstairs because I don't see the need to heat the bedrooms, especially when they are not in use during the day and there are down comforters for the night. I have oil heat, and though oil is coming down in price, it is still expensive. Why couldn't she see that all the doors were closed, and obviously I did not want the upstairs heated?

Then she took a shower, and suggested I get the water pressure checked because the shower was "slow."

Again, umm NO!

Both of the bathrooms in my home have low-flow showerheads. Get used to it. I have.

She picked up the phone to make a call, but discovered I was online. Yep--Grace still uses dial-up. My friend proceeded to tell me how much better a dedicated computer line is. Well, yeah, but it also costs a heck of a lot more.

Finally, she looked in my refrigerator for a Diet Coke. There was none because none has been on sale since I got back from my vacation. To be fair, every other time she has stayed with me, I've had soda but when I said it was too expensive, she made a comment about "not taking the current crisis so seriously that I deprive myself of small pleasures."


I know she means well, but I still found myself resenting her remarks. I wish that she had kept her observations to herself and assumed that I had rational reasons for doing or not doing what she thought should be done.

I'd be even crankier, if she hadn't treated me to breakfasts in restaurants three mornings running! Feed me, and I'll forgive almost anything.


Retired Syd said...

I can so identify with this one! Except for me it's my in-laws--the comforter is too warm, the soap dish drips, prefer a plastic glass in the bathroom to a glass glass, the pillow's too big. I've learned how to get set up for them over the years, but I would just keep my mouth shut if I was at someone else's house.

But the last part of your post really hits home! We are becoming very cost conscious (or penny pinching as the case may be), and while some friends appreciate it, others don't get it. Yes the current crisis effects me immensely, so yes, I am going to give up some small pleasures--Diet Coke doesn't really hold THAT much in the way of pleasure--reading a library book in a hammock gives me WAY more pleasure.

Anonymous said...

This hits home also. I don't remember when we all became Princesses. But it happened, nonetheless.
I've learned though. Now, whenever someone complains about my hospitality, I tell them the local hotel is more than happy to attend to their every need.
I think this complaint so far, has been the best, for me: when I invited friends over to stay for the weekend at my beach house they told me they didn't like the quality of sand at the beach. How's that for a kicker?

I think as we get older, we get cranky. But you should hear the complaints from my kids: too cold, too hot, sheets too ruff on their precious faces, not enough towels, hot enough hot water, butter not Smart Balance, white bread not wheat, the list goes on and on.
Didn't we all used to live in the same house together? Yeah, that was way back when, when there was only one woman in charge: me!

louise said...

oh I can identify with this! I've become even more frugal this last month so I can meet MY goals, a friend wanted me to go shopping for the day with her yesterday and when I said "no, I'm not spending any money at the minute" she said to 'lighten up, there's no shops in heaven!". I felt really offended as I am not a scrooge! I just cannot bear to fritter money on even more 'stuff' that I don't need or even wantanymore!

At home I only heat or cool the room I'm in, I put on a jumper or use a knee rug if it's cold. I have low flow showerheads (ugh!!)thankfully I don't have visitors to stay over, I don't think I could stand it!

CT Mom said...

Hi Grace - I was thinking that this visit could have gone much differently if your guest had asked rather than acted like she had a right or was entitled to heat, Diet Coke, high speed internet. Then perhaps it would open a conversation rather than resentment on your part and judgement on hers.

And if your guest doesn't agree, a gracious guest accepts the host's hospitality, rather than treating the place like a hotel. I really saw this as an example of your guest's poor manners. To preserve the relationship, maybe she should stay at a hotel next time?

frugal zeitgeist said...

I have some empathy for your guest on the issue of cold rooms because I'm extremely sensitive to the cold. (Flashback to visiting my ex-inlaws: the British normally keep their homes far colder than most people in the US do, and it was all I could do not to wear my coat and mittens in the house. It was miserable.)

Having said that, I do think she could have made a better attempt to fit in with your lifestyle.

Florence said...

Wasn't it Ben Franklin who said that after three days both fish and visitors begin to smell? LOL.

Sylvia B said...

Boy, this hits home on both counts. I don't know what makes guests think that commenting on the errors in your lifestyle is acceptable or just ignore your clear preferences in your own home. There's a little to how much we can be expected to accomodate anyone I think. As for becoming more cost-conscious I think it's what wisdom dictates. Thinking that this financial crisis is "no big deal" and will pass follows along with folks thinking that the environment being in danger was also nothing to worry about. I'm making choices, and Diet Coke definitely won't trump a walk in the woods.

Jerry said...

Yikes! That is unseemly behavior! I totally understand about the heat. We have a house in New England and do the very same thing. We use oil and it is terribly expensive. We all do things to provide a little insurance for our wallet and some of them might be closing off the upstairs which leads to some savings in our wallet. Friends who are aware would know that! Better luck next time :)