Hi Graces, I know it's been awhile. Lest you think my silence is a result of an epidemic of etiquette, I am sorry to disabuse you of this idyllic notion. I have simply been busy working. Writing this blog feeds my soul, surely, but alas, does not feed my family. This working girl was slogging away in the salt mines, so to speak. And I really would have continued devoting my time and energy to paying clients were it not for the epic tales of rudeness involving summer homes and vacation woes that many of you have shared with me over the past few weeks. This topic will likely span a few posts, so fasten your seatbelts......
As you may recall we are fortunate enough to have access to a beach house owned by my family. This, generally is a wonderful thing; we escape the heat of the city, kids see their cousins regularly, the extended family breaks bread together...the fact that we all run screaming off the Causeway mid-way through Labor Day weekend and don't communicate with each other until Thanksgiving is no indication of the joyful times we share throughout most of the summer.
Today's post deals with co-habitation and house sharing. Future posts will address guest behavior, hostess gifts, and related matters.
Here are some Gracious rules of thumb, which, you no doubt can infer, were grievously violated in recent weeks.
1. Do not invite vast numbers of guests when the regular occupants are all in attendance. Or at a minimum, clear it with your co-habitees. Comparing calendars is really not difficult in this day and age--iCal or Google calendar, anyone? Sure, go ahead and invite your therapy group, the mailman, your guru, fortune teller, and dental hygienist--just do it when the usual crowd is elsewhere.
2. Kids and dogs. Train them. Take care of them. Or leave them home. If they are in attendance, provide more than cursory surveillance of said dependents. When both sets of species have resorted to foraging in cabinets at mealtimes and strewing trash, wet towels, banana peels, candy wrappers and other forms of waste on the floor, put down your beer, haul yourself off the beach, and do the needful.
3. Share. This means the workload, the goods and the costs. Writing your name on the Cheerios box is neither Gracious nor effective. This doesn't mean that every single person has to do a load of laundry or chop the equivalent number of onions. It means that everyone pulls some weight. Call me a Marxist, but I'm a proponent of "each according to his ability and each according to his needs." To a point. Just because you excel at reclining on the couch and hoisting Coors Light cans doesn't make that your contribution. Buy the groceries. Cook a meal. Do the dishes. Take the kids mini golfing. Lead the charge at putting them all to bed. It doesn't really matter what it is, but be sure to do something that makes the day run more smoothly.
Anything I've forgotten, Graces? Next post: Gracious Guide to Being a Good Guest.