Well, our boarders moved out the second their power came back on. They went home, even though trees still litter the landscape over in their town. They were up before 7 and gone within the hour.
Word is they spent their day mopping up the puddles from their long-thawed fridge-and-freezer; I spent mine washing all the linens from the beds they slept in, and the towels from their many baths and showers. It was fun actually. And with all the mindless work of the Tide and the Bounce, the smoothing of sheets and the stuffing of fat-lady pillows into their corsets I realized a few things:
(a) It’s easy to have house guests who go to bed right after supper.
(b) It’s equally great and easy if there’s a ‘no-TV-on-school-nights’ rule. The talk was excellent.
(c) I found it wonderful that I could exploit the two younger boarders, in a Child Labor kind of a way; turns out little kids like nothing better than to clean out a closet. They can’t get enough of the task of pulling things out and examining them. Someplace over the last few days I saw the bottom of one closet for the first time in 25 years.
(d) Old Dave and I turn out to bicker less with houseguests around even when one of them is our own child. Not that we ever argue that much; still, these last few days we were acting like a couple of people lobbying for sainthood. I know I don’t want to be seen as some witch in front of that sweet little family. I don’t want to come across like the yammering wife in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
I want my kids to miss me when I’m gone, not be dancing down the aisle behind my casket. I want them to remember me as the placid ventriloquist’s puppet David wishes he had married. (Click there to see me perched on his knee that week we went to Paris.)
So that’s all I wanted to say here. Good houseguests have many qualities, but that going-to-bed-right-after-supper is possibly the awesomest. If we all had a bath and a book and Lights Out just after supper, there’d be a lot less grouchiness in the world — and that’s the truth, pbbbbt!