Monday, July 07, 2008

Morning Edition - 7/7/08

The Road To Hell Is Paved
With just three nights remaining before my parents return home to Puerto Rico, the only line that repeats in my head is, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” When we planned my parent’s trip to NYC, we agreed that 14 days was a long time for anyone – even my loving parents – to stay for a visit. We have a saying in Spanish that directly translated says, “Fish and company both stink after three days.” Whoever masterminded that word tooling apparently had parents exactly like mine. I love my parents and love having them to visit, but as one person trying to work a full time job, play entertainment coordinator, maid, driver and counselor to my aging parents for 14 days straight I am thoroughly worn, irritable and dagger-tongued. My mother, a relentless tyrant, refuses to understand why I would be exhausted by the end of each night. Last night, as we ate dinner she mentioned she would never visit NYC again since she, “was such a burden during her visit.” Rather than counter her guilt-inducing drone, I decided to meet it head-on. “You wouldn’t be a burden if you and dad would simply understand that I’m only one person trying to make your stay as comfortable as possible – by myself!” Rather than relent and see my dilemma she plowed forward with her ranting. “I’m just so sorry you’ve been so put-out and have been so inconvenienced by our stay.” By now, she managed to work herself into a good frenzy and was doing the heavy handed boo-hoo. My guilt was replaced by rage. “I’m really sorry that your stay was so horrific that you don’t want to return,” I chided, “Maybe you’re right…maybe it was a bad idea for me to think that I could single-handedly tackle cleaning, driving and catering to two people while trying to work AND be a pleasant social butterfly – on under five hours sleep per night.” Just as quickly as it started, there was silence. I returned to the kitchen to wash dinner dishes and she retreated to her corner for a wardrobe change before announcing that I would be driving her to see another family friend; then to see my brother and his family; and finally home to clean-up snack dishes; walk my dog; iron for work and shower for bed. Am I feeling guilty? Slightly. I should have had the forethought to realize that the extended stay would be a bad idea. The moral of the story is to follow the rules of engagement – regardless of who you’re dealing with:
Opt to stay at hotels when visiting out of town family and friends
If you’d like to make you’re family/friend stay an extended one, attempt to find several friends/family members to jump between to prevent exhausting any one person.
Recognize that no matter who you’re staying with, you are changing their routine and altering the normalcy of the home you’re staying in.
Respect the rules of the home you’re staying in, including: Level of cleanliness, bedtime hours and return furniture, etc. to where you originally find them.
Allow your host time to regroup, rest and collect themselves. Take trips out on your own and make plans to give your host time to have their home to themselves.
Hey, I’m sure some of you will think my take on my predicament is cold or unrealistic because I’m dealing with my parents. The truth is, everyone is different and handle situations differently. As someone who has lived alone most of my life, I’m less concerned with what anyone thinks and more interested in loving and missing my parent’s next visit. God willing, I’ll have an opportunity to make intelligent decisions about having my parents visit me for years to come.

On Blast
What has having extended-stay company taught you about yourself?

Keep passin’ the open windows…


Kensilo said...

It has taught me more patience and less knife stabbing... I am working on the stabbing part!

Mr. Jones said...

Very good rules, Cocoa. I feel these are (or at least should be) common sense. I mean...parents are a little different because they can do pretty much whatever they want that's within reason and us (usually) kids can't say much about it.

Even if it's just a couple of nights, I typically refuse to host guests. So, you're a better man than me for hosting guests for 2 consecutive weeks.

Promise me a phone call when all is said and done. We have so much to catch up on. Do you know how many major decisions I've had to make without consulting counsel?

Anonymous said...

It is understandable that you would get tired, two weeks is a long time for them to stay, epecially when you are working full-time. But one day sooner than you think, you will remember these days and smile. Forever isn't long enough with your parents, and parents don't last forever. My mom was sick for a few months before she died, and as her death approached her condition worsened. It was hard taking care of her (even with the nurse and hospital staff's help). In hindsight, every minute was worth it. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I would do every minute again, if it meant just a few minutes with her. I understand that people, relationships, and situations are different, but hopefully this will give you a little more to consider.

-just somebody who enjoys your blog from time to time

Anonymous said...

That just because the guest is someone that I may love dearly---doesnt' mean my husband will. I went 15 years without seeing a friend who I attended middle & high school with. He was traveling back to this area and needed a place to stay for 4 days so of course I offer up my guest room, with hubby's approval. I should have KNOWN that this wouldn't work sheerly due to the extreme personality differences between THEM alone. It ended up being a very stressful visit, fraught with tension all around and I vowed to never do it again. In the future I will put folks up at my mom's house instead, (five miles away) since most of my out-of-town friends already know my family anyway and that home is more conducive to hosting guests. Or, I might just politely let them know that they will need to make other accommodations altogether. It's just so stressful!!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're not just horny as hell and a little bit cranky because you cannot bend it like Beckham while the Ministers are home with you? : )

Honey, I have news for you. Your parents did everything you have been doing for them over the past two weeks for YEARS when you were a child...EVERY SINGLE DAY. And they had to wipe your ass and boogers from your nose. In addition, you vomited on them and kept them up at night when you were sick. I love your parents (despite the fact you haven't told me when I can come and see them). Be patient with them : )
You know how you feel when Ma is sick and you are in NYC and she is all the way down in P.R. Just hug your Mom and Dad and sit on the couch with them and order in the next couple of nights. The world will still turn if you don't do housework the next couple fo days.

You know I love you. Take deep breaths. Enjoy their company.

Anonymous said...

SO that's why I avoid house guests as much as possible.

Omar Ramon said...

I completly agree/sypathize with your opinion/situation. The rules are on point and don't reflect a cold heart, just a realistic mind.

Having extended guests, on several occasions, has taught me that my heart is bigger than my patience and my wallet.

Darius T. Williams said...

Hey Cocoa...actually having an extended stay ain't taught me nothing...cuz I don't have extended house guests - lol.

Q said...

Okay Curio...? That's what I was about to say...

bLaQ~n~MiLD said...

Extended stays, no. Please get a teli. A couple days ok but I don't do it often.


One Man’s Opinion said...

I just want to laugh at you, you know that right. I love the honesty of this post. Parents can be a handful, and a burden, but a burden that we gladly carry because we know we were sort of a burden growing up (well, not me, but most kids were a burden. I was a delight).

Parents also have that unique ability to piss you off, cause you to raise your voice, knowing full well you will feel guilty about it. And say what you will. Your folks will be back again and staying with your happy ass, and you know it. That is just want good children do for their parents. pains in the ass or not.

A couple of years back I had friends for England come to vistit over the summer. Two couples, one older one younger. Well, people in England take long ass summers off and they wanted to stay with me for like two weeks are more. Err, no. First although I can get off for that long, I won't because that is know vacation for me. They ended up staying for a week. I thought it was going to be murder. First, because I am a home body and don't do shit. Second of all, because I am a loner and always have been. People in my space? I just didn't see it happening. Lucky for me a good friend of mind was willing to plan the whole week's routine out for me. I was very greatful, because all I had to offer was television and me walking around naked. LOL

Anyway, what I learned was that I am a damn good host. That I can actually go a week without television. I can keep my house clean, if I put my mind to it. And home ain't really home until you had company that finally left. LOL

You a good son. Remember, someday lil meme will be telling this same story about you and daddy.

That Dude Right There said...

I don't do extended stay guest. I never have and never will. When people say that they are coming to town, I start with hotel recommendations.

On the same token, when I go to visit I ALWAYS get a hotel! ALWAYS.

ShawnQt said...

This is great advice!
A weekend is long enough for me!

I'm a better guest then host though.

Joey Bahamas said...

That I love my space, my space is private and when it's invaded for extend periods I go crazy. I go crazy mainly because I am crazy and my space is the place that I can express my craziness privately. When that's taken away from me, my crazy kinda overflows.