Here come the house guests from hell

July 27, 2014

They will come unannounced in the middle of the night, bearing gifts of blow-up mattresses. Folks you haven’t seen in years, people you just met for five seconds at a truck stop on the turnpike, relatives who look like they normally don’t have a pulse and in-laws still clutching their remote controls, all will descend on your home like a horde lined up outside a midnight sale on Black Friday. They are, of course, the house guests from hell. Sure, it’s the end of July, and you were just hoping maybe you could get through the summer without that visit. Well, that hope has sailed. The DNA is in the stars, which are glowing brightly over your house.

So buckle up - you can get through this, but you will need to prepare like any other battle. You have to remind yourself, these are times that call for a warrior mentality. You’ve done it on the road, in waiting rooms, circling for parking spaces, and now it’s your home.

First, it will be necessary to order a big trash bin immediately; there is quite a demand at this time of year, and with good reason. Your dining room table will disappear under a mound of skateboards, wet towels, shoes, beach umbrellas and the occasional child whose head has been super glued to your teak finish. No one will claim these items until December, and then it will be in the form of an incredulous accusation, so keep the dumpster outside the dining room window for easy disposal. Eating over the sink eventually gets easier.  The cable company should have been called for an appointment sometime around May; they are booked solid, so it might be too late. Hopefully, someone will take pity on you, particularly if you Instagram them a photo of yourself wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothes. This isn’t too much of a stretch, since this is your normal attire when driving on Route 1 on a Saturday afternoon anyway.

You will need this appointment, since your cable system will never be the same after the house guests from hell leave; that is, if you can get them to leave. Selling the house with them in it is always an option.

In line with these obstacles, make sure your medical insurance is up to date.   

After you trip more than a couple hundred times over all the cables and cords hooked up to every outlet in the house, for no decent house guest isn’t connected to some form of Wi-Fi, iPhone or iPad, the muscles in your legs and the bones in your ankles are weak enough to cause a break just by sneezing. Control of your bladder has long ago failed.  Fortunately, we live in a country where any medical or psychiatric condition caused by a visit from the house guests from hell is covered by insurance.   Also, be prepared for your utility and phone bills to skyrocket. The phone will be in constant use; important people like parole officers have to be called on a daily basis, and it takes an enormous amount of electricity to cut those monitoring ankle bracelets off. Lights are mostly kept burning so your house resembles an all-night liquor store; the only thing missing is the blinking Open sign. You actually might have one if one of your guests belongs to a fraternity.  Don’t be surprised if the heat and air conditioning are on with all the doors and windows open, as thermostats are frequently in use depending on the age of the house guest.

It’s too late now, but postcards announcing you are in the Federal Witness Protection Program should have gone out before the season started. You never listen though, do you? By the end of July, your power to reason has been reduced to that of a jar of mayonnaise, so just follow the hints listed above or just call it a day and go sailing. They are coming regardless.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.