Thursday, January 31, 2019

Being a House Guest or Host

     I really think this is a subject I should cover today, since the beginning of the new year I have been both a house guest and a host at multiple places over the past month.  Actually, I've been hosting at my house for awhile now, various different Dungeons & Dragons groups, and family members and I've begun to think that people just don't KNOW how to be a host and how to function as a good house guest.  So... I've come up with a list of things I've noticed lately that people tend to really screw up a LOT.  Here goes:

If you are a HOUSE GUEST:
(that means you're either visiting another's home or staying somewhere else)

  • Be courteous - say "please" and "thank you" as the people who are hosting you will really appreciate being thanked.  If they go out of their way to cook, clean, clear the snow off your car, keep a tidy house, have a well-stocked fridge they allow you to raid, etc., be grateful!
  • Don't take for granted the Hosts "Rules" of the house.  Do they want you to take shoes off at the door?  Maybe they want you to speak and walk quietly as not to disturb pets or children.  Do they want toilet lids closed to keep pets out of hazardous chemicals in them?  Maybe they like all dirty dishes to be placed in the dishwasher.  Maybe they like to recycle and have a specific bin rather than throwing it in the trash?  Maybe they need specific bed times, or quiet times.  Pay attention if it's your first time and ask if you don't know.
  • Don't be a SLOB!  Don't leave trash laying around.  Clean up bathroom counters from makeup or toothpaste before you leave.  Make the bed!  Don't leave your things lying all over the house, it's not YOUR house!  
  • Offer to help!  Even if they don't take you up on the offer, at least they know they can ask you to help if needed with basic household chores like dishes and setting the table.
  • If you have restricted dietary needs or don't like some foods, send your host a list beforehand!  And speak up if they take you somewhere you know you can't eat at!  A good host wants to know what they can do to make you happy!
  • Don't be afraid to state any requirements you might have as a guest - do you need a cold room at night?  Or a hot one?  Do you need more blankets when you sleep?  Do you need an extra plate to separate out food?  Do you have a certain bed time?  Speak up!  Come to an agreement ahead of time so everyone knows what they are getting into!
  • Don't make your hosts repeat the rules to you every time you come over.  If they've spoken to you about shoes at the door, etc. don't be a jerk and make them remind you every single time.  Eventually they'll just stop inviting you over.

If you are a HOST:
(someone is staying or visiting at your house)

  • Be as gracious as you can to your guests, they chose to stay/visit you!  They didn't have to come, so make sure they're happy.  Offer drinks or food if they are staying for awhile.  Plan entertainment for overnight guests, ask them what they like, movies, games, or just quiet time doing their own things?  Come to an understanding, have a conversation early.
  • If your guests offer to help and you'd really like them to (say, do the dishes because they're in another room and you'll miss out on things, allow them to help!) let them help!  Maybe it's just a matter of, "could you help me dry these?" or "could you put on some hot water for our tea?"
  • Be ready to fulfill the needs of your guests, have multiple offerings, set up a menu ahead of time so they have time to suggest something else, have clean towels for bathrooms and clean sheets on beds.  Make sure there is extra toilet paper and mention where they can find other toiletries, plates, cups, etc. if they need to get something for themselves during their visit.
  • Don't have dinner in front of your guests or eat unless you've warned them ahead of time!  If you're baking a cake and your guests can't have any, let them know the reasons, and apologize - or offer them some!  Don't be rude and walk around eating in front of everyone unless you have enough for the 'class'!
  • Make sure you warn your guests of pets, children, or other family.  Maybe you need to quiet during a certain period of time, or maybe your guests are allergic to cats - let them know well ahead of time to plan on what they need to do.
  • If your guests don't know about certain rules before they arrive, ask them politely to do such things as keeping specific doors shut or open, shoes off at the door, toilet seats down, or letting you know where to put the dishes or recyclables. Don't be rude about it, they've never been to your house before!
  • Learn what your guests like and don't like.  First time's a learning experience, but if you're always feeding the same guests dairy when they've said three times that they're lactose-intolerant, they'll probably stop coming over to see you!


  • Communication is key to any host/guest scenario.  Speak up, but then LISTEN to any answers given.  Remember (even if you need to jot yourself notes, most smart phones have note sections in the phone number area!) the things that are set in place because then everyone will be happier at the end of the day.
  • Don't demand to visit or demand visitors.  If you want someone to come to your house, offer.  If you would like to visit sometime, say "I'd just like to visit" - don't say "we need to have a cookout sometime" just because you want to use someone's grill or visit their pool.
  • Spend time together.  This does NOT mean spending time on your phones while sitting in the same room.  DO SOMETHING together.  You're visiting for goodness' sake!  Act like it!  Have a conversation, listen to one another about things going on, actively participate, and be courteous about covering both sides, otherwise someone might start thinking that the other person just wanted to talk AT someone instead of TO someone.  Deep conversations with guests/hosts tend to make return trips a must!
  • Limit your visits - as a host, let them know how much time you have free to have guests because it takes a lot of work!  And as a guest, know when to go home!

Hope this is handy for everyone!  If I find more things I remember I'll add them later!

End of January 2019

     So, it's the last day of January, 2019.  It's barely above zero degrees today, but super sunny and clear.  We went out for donuts this morning and brought them home to eat with our own home-brewed coffee rather than the so-so stuff they sell at the donut shop.
     Why am I rambling about this?  Because, perhaps, I have nothing better to do, just thinking back over last year and thinking about what I REALLY want to do THIS year, as there are a couple of really big milestones that I hit this year.
     The first one is I get to celebrate my 10th Anniversary to my husband.  The second, I celebrate my 40th birthday.  Guess I'll have to change my blog's description from a "thirty-something" to a "forty-something" very soon, eh?
     I find, though, that even though I'm looking forward to both, I'm also not looking forward to the stress that undoubtedly I have to go through in the meantime.  I wish I were a wizard (hence the picture here) that could just foretell the future.  Or, even in a hazier sense, see if I get to enjoy myself this year rather than just following along, wondering what I'm doing with my life.  I surround myself with things I like, but as I'm sitting in my computer room, I'm thinking seriously that I need to change things up, that things are stale and I'm unhappy with a lot of things.  Maybe that's the reason that I have been so unhappy lately - that even though on a smaller level some things have changed, there's also a lot of things that haven't changed and maybe I really need to do something about it!
     The problem with days like this one, where I feel trapped inside and find myself staring aimlessly at the computer screen or television, my mind goes blank.  I sit there thinking, "what did I want to do today?  What should I accomplish today?  Where do I want to go?"
     And when it's cold, or raining or snowing or just not a sunny day, I sit there going, "nope, nothing I need to accomplish, and it'll be annoying to go out today, and I really don't need to buy anything anyway."  But maybe by the end of the night I realize I was supposed to do the laundry today.  I had wanted to clean the sheets on my bed and the towels in the bathroom. That I want to clear off my desk in my room because it's become too cluttered.  That I need to change the pictures on the walls because I'm tired of looking at them.  That maybe I should have gone out to take my books to the used bookstore to sell off because they're collecting dust and I haven't actually read them in a decade.
     So, what did I accomplish in January?  To sum it all up, not much.  I had a week off of work in order to recover from the holidays, only to return to a disaster as if nothing had been done while I was gone, and I had to make up for every single thing that I didn't do while I was gone.  And then three other keyholders all went on vacations and I suddenly have to do ALL of THEIR work TOO!  So here I'm catching up on MY stuff that THEY didn't do, and keep up with all of THEIR work, because I wouldn't just leave it for them!!
     All the relaxing I actually managed to do was destroyed.  I got one weekend where I got to hang out with some friends, but by the end of it I'd dropped too much money on the most awesome leather bodice (which I'm sure I'll wear a whole lot more once the weather gets better and I have conventions to go to again) and yet I was also super annoyed that my house guests, although they thanked us briefly for letting us stay with them, also didn't follow our house rules, destroyed the guest bed, and never said a word about the fact we cleaned off their car for them from snow before they left!  I really didn't want anything to do with them at all when they left, especially since they were so grouchy at us as we took them back to our house so they could go home.  What kind of appreciation IS that? I have a title for my next guests.... stay tuned!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

First Week of 2019

The sun is shining.  Didn't do that a whole bunch in 2018 (I think where I'm at there was a record for most cloudy days, and most rain) so it's sort of a rare occurrence to see the sun.  At first I thought that was perhaps the reason for the majority of my depression.  But now, I'm not quite so sure.  I think it's where I work, or rather, who I work for, and that stress, has caused both my depression and my anxiety (or perhaps it has caused my anxiety which also causes my depression?  I'm not sure).  Either way, I'm starting to really think that medication doesn't really help anything, and only getting a new job (or a new boss, perhaps) would solve matters.

It's a struggle.  Every single day I feel like I'm the second mate of a ship that is sinking.  The Captain is standing up on the top of the boat, ordering people to keep raising the mast and steering the ship - but completely ignoring what's going on below decks.  Each person below is plugging their tiny holes, but then instead of helping with the biggest gouge at the bottom of the ship, they pretend like everything is fine.  So I'm at the bottom, standing in three foot of water, hauling one bucket up at a time because I can't get anyone else to help me seal up the hole.  When I do get someone to help, the Captain drags them away to help mop the deck or repair the sails, or some other task that doesn't help the bigger issue!  And this, I figure, is how I am going to drown eventually.  Either I go down with the ship and drown in the hull, or I go up top and jump over and try to make a break for shore.

There, that metaphor is about the closest I can come to what's been going on and why I'm so stressed out all the time.  Sometimes I just go down and start bailing water, and other times I pound a nail or two into a stray board to help seal the gap, but most of the time it just doesn't help and I want to sit down in the water and let myself drown in the water and my own tears.

But I also have another issue.  I don't feel like I can jump ship, because I know something big is probably coming in the world, perhaps another depression or recession.  My husband's job is cutting people again and moving into smaller digs and there's still talk off and on about him perhaps not having a job sooner than later.  So, what if I did jump ship?  What if I couldn't make it to shore in time before I found another 'boat' going my way?  I'd love to be able to just jump and go into a part-time job somewhere, start from scratch and perhaps get my head straight again.  I just worry.  What if next week he's out a job?  What if he can't find one again right away?  What if I have to support us? 

Then thinking about the future kicks in.  What if I were to just take care of myself for awhile and then something happened to my husband?  I never want to be in a position like my Mom is where she didn't have a job most of her life, has loads of debt because my father apparently didn't instill in her the same money sense he had (I'm not sure who was really do blame here) but I see her struggling because she and my dad didn't save for their retirement and she's just barely squeaking by.  I don't want to be that person.  Our house isn't paid off, and I would really like to be able to live here the rest of my life, and take care of everything but it bothers me day after day thinking that something could go wrong, so why change things?

Because...I'd be happier.  I wouldn't be depressed all the time....right?

Wouldn't that make me a better person?

But I don't want to struggle, either.  I know I should take chances and better myself, but I also like this fairly secure (or is it?) life that I have currently.

Hopefully 2019 will be a good year, but I just don't know.  And that stresses me out too.