Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Honk Honk

When you have house guests over to stay, unless they’re your immediate blood relatives, you do try and keep yourself nice.

For a while.

By ‘nice’ I mean no nude runs from the bathroom to the bedroom; keeping the bra on after 6pm, toe nails to remain unclipped in front of the telly and perhaps even refraining from slipping into pyjamas until it’s actually time to turn the lights off.

With our recent guest Taka, I kept myself nice because the duration of his visit was way under the Three Day Limit of the
Kath Lockett Code of Compulsory Consideration of House Guests. Two days: barely enough time to say, “If you want a cup of tea, then you know where to find everything for yourself.”

When guests stay for four days onwards, things get real. Well, sort of. Still no obvious nudity and any wanton bralessness is always carefully hidden under an oversized t-shirt and sloppy polarfleece jacket, but rules do get relaxed.

The Farj Family will attest to this. During their week-long stay – which I must stress was fun and extremely enjoyable (for me, at least) – my hostessing skills took a nose dive from Day Four.

In Australia I used to go to great lengths to hang the daggy smalls at the back of the line so that only innocuous items such as towels and sheets were visible from the dining room. Here in Geneva, conversations with all four Farj Family members were continued as I walked around the living room festooning damp underpants, bras and socks on clothes horses, door knobs and the backs of dining chairs without worrying about what aspect they were being viewed from or pausing for breath.

“So you’re now lead cornet in the town band, Frankie?”

Being ‘on’ for house guests – no matter how anticipated and beloved – can get tiring, especially if sparkling breakfast wit at 7am ends with slightly sloshed clinking of wine bottles in the recycling bins at 1am without a break. But on Day Four, it’s perfectly acceptable behaviour under the
Kath Lockett Code of Compulsory Consideration of House Guests to say, “You know guys, you go on ahead to the tulip festival without me; I’ll just have a short nap.”

The risk of missing out on potentially one of the country’s most exciting afternoons out is worth taking if it means that the household continues to experience coherent sentences, a regularly unpacked dishwasher and semi-acceptable facial features from my good self for the rest of their stay.

Boiling your own beverages, wet jocks and naps notwithstanding, the most significant sign of Free Reign post observance of the 
Kath Lockett Code of Compulsory Consideration of House Guests by far is my guiltiest daily pleasure, always avoided when non-family members are visiting.

The nose blow in the shower.

Honk honk hooooooooonk!

There’s no way to disguise the noise – it’s either that or a silent nose pick which has never been my style. Sinus-blasting sound over sneaky snot-squiggling any day.

Day Four onwards - Honk honk hooooooooonk!

The Farjs politely feigned deafness but the Gregorys did not. I’ve known Jill since I was a baby and her husband for over twenty years, so they got the Day Four Watery Schnozz Shooting match right from Day One. 

We laughed about it over breakfast but Jill was merely biding her time.

On Day Four, I was dying for a run. Would anyone mind if I just popped into my room, shut the door and went for a sesh on the treddie whilst they finished downloading holiday snaps and Love Chunks was doing the roast chook? The noise should be minimal with the door shut....

I couldn’t have cared less about the noise – privacy and avoidance of shame was always my biggest concern. The thought of being seen puffing, sweating and panting; bits-a-jiggling, bum bag around my Michelen-Man-enhanced waist, groaning out a lyric or two made me fart in automatic self preservation as I bent down to tie my shoelaces.

Still, as usual, the hallowed Zone of running was entered, and I was off. Random thoughts, songs, reminiscences, ideas..... all punctuated with drops of sweat spattering on the kick guard. Eleven years I’ve stuck at this; helps blow off the cobwebs and partially accounts for the industrial-sized loads of chocolate inhaled.

With a Playlist pounding in my ears, eyes straight ahead ostensibly staring at the wall but in actuality into my own brain, I didn’t notice the door open.



Next time she comes to stay I’ll honk in the shower on Day One. And walk out of the bathroom, starkers, before sprinking her freshly-made guest bed with my toe nail clippings and saying, ‘Get your own damn cuppa.”

She’d probably prefer it that way too. 

Visitors make me realise just how much we’ve achieved in less than a year and how beautiful this part of the world is. Love to all of you who have been brave enough to stay with us.


Cat J B said...

I try to stay out of the jammies when the mother-in-law visits, but no one else gets that lucky.

Loving that last photo...!

Jackie K said...

It sounds fun at your house!
And sounds to me like your guests really enjoy their time there.
We haven't had house guests, though the mother-in-law over from Greece for a few WEEKS is a possibility.

Anonymous said...

A less than perfect exhibition of planking. It is lovely to have house guests and even lovelier when they leave.

Btw, the gift to Melbourne from the clock makers of Geneva has had a massive renovation. I doubt much of the original is left. I refer of course to the floral clock. I'll take some photos when the just planted seedlings grow and you can pass them on to the Geneva clockmakers.

MedicatedMoo said...

That last photo, CatJB, was me attempting to 'drape' myself over a fence post in Berne, at Mr Farj's suggestion. "Looks more like a retarded plank," LC rather correctly observed.

WEEKS are hard, Jackie K. We had two such visits in the mid-1990s - both for six weeks at a time. By week three, at night LC would be whispering furiously, "When are they going to leave?" Luckily, all visitors and durations of visits here in Geneva have been wonderful.

Ah yes, the floral clock, Andrew. They have one here that they're mysteriously very, very proud of. "Piss weak" was my first reaction to it, as there's a much better one in Brougham gardens in Adelaide. Perhaps it was the first floral clock or something.

Nuttynoton said...

I get into trouble with visitors at our house as I normally sleep starkers, but have to have joggers by my bed in case I need a mid sleep wee wee! Mrss NN always reminds me particularly as most of our visitors and female! This will make my lot laugh. Glad to hear you are still enjoying visitors and your time3 there keep those posts coming it lightens my day

River said...

I insist guests make their own cuppas from minute one, that way they get their coffee exactly as they like it, learn their way around my kitchen too.
(also this is not a hotel and I'm not a maid)

Last photo - your parachute didn't open yet you still landed safely.

Elephant's Child said...

Having just endured a visitor (who I like but whose timing was waaaay off) I snickered my way through this post.
Isn't it a strain pretending (even a bit) to be couth.
Wonderful post (as always) and I did love your take on the plank. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I also hang the 'intimates' on the hidden inside of the line, masked by T-shits and pants from view to neighbors and our own house alike.
Fortunately I never have to masquerade for my family or hubby's, they know us too well, but I do put on the 'good face' for friends or less immediate family.

Pandora Behr said...

Our three day rules with visitors are similar - though I have a speech about "here's the cups, here's the kettle, here's Mde Krups, here's the milk - make yourself at home". The shutting of the loo and bathroom doors always gets me. Great post.

MedicatedMoo said...

Thanks for your kind comment, Nuttynoton. My advice to you, when guests are there, is to have a dressing gown (bathrobe) at the end of your bed. Covers all 'evil bits' and ensures that your guests remain untraumatised...

River, I like your tea idea and usually do that too - say, 'please help yourself to anythign and everything in the kitchen. Tea bags are here, kettle's over there, cups are in this cupboard, etc." LOVE your interpretation of my draping gone wrong - much more flattering!

E-Child, I've become far less couth than I used to be and figure that living together means that 'real selves' are allowed to emerge. After Day Four.

Good to see that I'm not the only one who 'masks' their washing, Suki! It's impossible, however, when it's done inside an apartment - underwear dries so much quicker when hanging off the backs of the dining chairs.

Thank you Pand - ah yes, the shutting of the bathroom door - another one I forgot. I usually leave it open to let the steam out and when visitors come I have to keep it closed and it feels like a rainforest.....

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I had to laugh because Mrs PM is the same as you. In fact, she's herself when she's visiting too (sometimes much to my embarrassment).

Still, if you can't be yourself in front of family and friends then there is something wrong!

Day 4? Mrs PM is like that on Day 1.




Cathy said...

Love this post, Kath! I'm looking forward to a couple of friends from Oz coming to stay at the end of May and then my parents on their biennial month-long stay at the end of June. Note to self - dig out dressing gown! Dare I ask when you, LC and Sapphire are coming to visit us in lovely (cold, windy wet... but still lovely) Brittany? AND HOW LONG YOU ARE PLANNING ON STAYING??? (just kidding, stay as long as you like, I can't wait to have you here)

MedicatedMoo said...

PlasMan, I'm glad that MrsPM is like that as a house guest - I am too, even on Day One. I figure that if I lower the tone, then the host/ess can too...

Cathy, we'd love to visit you - a big drive across France (or train trip?) is on the cards..... DRESSING GOWN is a must!

Red Nomad OZ said...

Hahaha! Laughed like a drain while I read this. I guess that means there's a lot there to relate to ... I have memories of hiding in the laundry in the nude for ages after a guest surprised me returning from the loo. I still don't know if he actually saw me or not!!!

MedicatedMoo said...

RedNomad - perhaps your answer is if the guest ever came to stay again?