TC and I wholeheartedly agree, after blissful reflection, that our Greatest Guest of All Time is TC’s sister, K! Over the years we’ve had a steady stream of visitors through which we’ve learned the value of a decent guest room, shower-scheduling, sight-seeing ideas, local maps, and take-out menus. If a visitor isn’t comfortable striking-out on her/his own, then that person becomes Chief Babysitter/Dog-Walker and we take-off (alone) as much as possible. This winter we’ve had a series of guests fly in to help prepare for the new babies. They all worked hard, but none worked as hard as K, Our Greatest Guest of All Time. K was here for three weeks, which ranks 3rd in trip duration (2nd place belongs to my young cousin who stayed a month one summer and 1st to my mother who came for five or six weeks when I was very ill). Today I honor K’s extraordinary house-guest achievements. Here’s why… (Roll film.)
- The Cinderella Factor. K regularly loaded/unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen counters, set/cleared the table, cooked, served meals, swept floors, emptied trash, folded clothes, put away all toys, etc. For TC and I, it was like being on a domestic magic mushroom trip minus the let-down.
- No Evidence of K’s Belongings. This is tricky for most guests, because they see the state of chaos we live in and figure no one will notice another sweater flung over a chair or dirty cup on the table. K kept her posessions piled in her room giving us less to fixate on while we moved through the disaster zone we call home. She neatly made her bed every day. Seeing a made bed in the house was a sunny change.
- Invisible Bathroom Usage. If K used the bathroom, I certainly didn’t see her. She was cognisant of our busy morning schedule and went out of her way to shower long before us, long after us or use the gross downstairs bathroom. I have no idea where she kept her toiletries; they simply weren’t there.
- No Complaints. Every house comes with its own quirks and ours is no exception be it sticky windows, broken/missing screens, appliance interfacing, leaky toilets, cramped cabinets and a nauseating amount of dog hair. We never heard a negative word, not one! We still think, how can it be?
- Exceptional Dog Care. She assumed full responsibility for our dog including lavishing him with much-needed affection. We wondered if she planned to take him with her when she left. I’m sure he would have preferred it.
- Private Time. Without prompting K spent time out of the house, leaving our family time to reconnect. This made it possible for us to miss her when she was gone – a much embraced, novel approach and a highly advanced skill considering she’d only been here once before.
- Child Care. Though our children took monstrous advantage of her (overflowing the toilet, abusing one other, tantrums, dinner shenanigans and bed-time scheming) she braved the storm, stayed the course, and kept right on babysitting.
- The Servitude Factor. After working her fingers to the bone, each day ended with happy offerings of tea, treats and adult conversation. We couldn’t imagine where she was coming from as we sat splayed across the couch, exhausted (while sipping tea).
- Respect for Recycling. Everything was recycled, even tea bag sleeves! Portland recycles more than other cities, so I’m normally busy picking dirty items out of the trashcan and relocating them to yellow bins. Not this time.
- Supporter of Pregnancy. Every utterance regarding my state of being was positive, loving and sympathetic (contrasting to other guests who told me I’m gigantic thirteen times (!), which according to my doctor is “inappropriate under any circumstances”). She was also quite optimistic about our adding two more to the brood. Her vote of confidence made us feel a lot better about what’s to come.
- Courageous Road-Tripper. Poor K, horrendously sick with kid germs, was willing to endure an endless car ride to SF and did it with such grace and dignity it left us breathless. Her game-face alone is deserving a Lifetime Achievement Award.
- A Willingness to Come Back. Not only didn’t this trip scare her away from us forever, she recently offered to come back for an extended stay this summer. K is one brave soul!
For these reasons and more, we extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to K, our Greatest Guest of All Time! (Applause – – audience slowly stands – – more applause – – tears in eyes – – cheers, whistles – – hurray, K!!)