It's summer vacation time. One type of vacation is traveling to visit relatives or friends. Sometimes visiting means staying in their homes.
When I was younger, I had tons of summer house guests. They were young too, with several children in tow, we had a few bedrooms, a camper onsite and a pool, so it was just one big party. When you are young you can sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag or lounge chair if there aren’t enough real beds to go around, and we did. Everyone back then pitched in and rules were few: don’t borrow my toothbrush or leave the refrigerator door open. Nothing bothered me or my guests from what I gathered, because they kept coming back.
Cut to today. Now, some of those people have elegant homes, lots of space, elegant furniture or cherished heirlooms and expensive acquisitions they really love. I am guessing that some of them get really nervous when they have house guests who fail to respect the importance those possessions hold. This might be especially true of hosting guests with children. However, having house guests, or being one at those kinds of homes usually means there is a real “guest” room with bath. The defined spaces help to put everyone at ease.
On the other hand, there’s me. My current house is a small house, but not trendy enough to be a “Tiny House”, and nothing I have is too fragile. There is only one very small bathroom (gasp), though there is a half bath under construction in the basement. We’ve no formal dining room until future renovations are complete. My “guest room” is really my office and my dressing room because I use that closet. The guest accommodations part is actually the twin bed that granddaughter Nora calls her own when she visits. This lifestyle is hard to imagine for those who no longer live 1950’s style! So, when people say they don’t care about accommodations they just care about being able to visit with me, do they really understand what that means? And, do I actually do them a disservice when I say, “Uh sure you can stay, we’d love to see you, but let me warn you . . .?
Connecticut also has what’s called the “feels like” temperature, which means the heat feels like double the thermometer reading, because of our horrendous humidity for most of the season. My home is without swimming pool and central air conditioning. We do have a few window air-conditioners and fans, which tend to make the interior “feels like” space even more claustrophobic. Add to this that we both work at home.
Also, unlike most homes, our two televisions are in rooms that are isolated from the main area of the house. It’s because we only turn them on when we choose to sit down and watch them, which is usually in the evening. I forget sometimes that many people are used to having the television on all day and night.
I’ve discovered that I’d rather have visitors than be one. I so hope that the future holds, once again, the perfect home for hosting. Despite that, recently, people I love so much came for a quick overnight visit. Today, I am just taking a minute to accept the gift of perspective with which they have provided me: how huge my little house can seem when they leave, and how much I miss them when they’ve gone.