Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Guess who’s coming to dinner – and staying!

From page C4 | November 16, 2012 |

Those who’ve managed to keep tabs on the coordinates of my far-flung family know I have a husband in Colorado, a daughter with me in Florida and another daughter in Texas allegedly attending college.

It’s complicated, and just got more complicated.

The Texas daughter now has a boyfriend. (The nerve!) Holding up the family tradition of not living in the same state as your significant other, she’s chosen a young man who lives in Colorado. There he also allegedly attends college, though I’m not sure how given all the time he spends texting and calling Paige.

They met last summer at a camp where they both worked as counselors. Unlike most teen summer romances, this one did not fade by Thanksgiving. Now The Boyfriend is coming to Florida for Thanksgiving.

And not just for dinner — for the week!

Over the past few months, I have taken comfort in knowing my daughter’s romantic interest lives several states away, where he should stay, until she’s about 33, so she can get some studying done.

“Sure, he can visit, honey,” I say when Paige asks if she can invite Him to Florida. “Where will he stay?”

“We have a guest room!” she says.

“Right. Of course.”

Just then my stomach releases three gallons of hydrochloric acid. I am not prepared to add this dimension to my family life.

I’ve had lots of house guests over the years, but a boyfriend houseguest? Never. I begin to seriously rethink the guest room. Rather than fret about the condition and quantity of down pillows and sheets, I contemplate surveillance cameras and motion detectors.

Paige will stay in her room upstairs. The Boyfriend will sleep in the guest room downstairs. Between them lies a set of ancient wooden stairs, which creak like a graveyard gate. I picture ways I can booby trap them — wax them and rig them with a string of tin cans.

My husband, Dan, who will be in the house, will be the bouncer. Never mind that The Boyfriend, whom I have only seen on Skype, appears to have arms bigger than Dan’s legs, and could pick him up with his teeth.

“Bring your shotgun,” I tell Dan.

“I don’t have one.”

“Get one.”


“To protect your daughter’s virtue.”

“I’ll never get it through security.”

“You explain to TSA that a 19-year-old young man is staying in the house with your 19-year-old daughter, and the agent will make an exception.”

It’s not that I don’t trust my daughter. I do. (Him, I’m not so sure.) But I also know that the line between trust and denial is thinner than a butterfly’s wing.

Just witness all those parents who assure you their teens don’t drink or party. Next thing you see the kid’s Facebook status. They’re passed out on some bed, and you think I want some of what that parent’s having.

“Mom, he’s a perfect gentleman. A gem. You’ll love him.”

“I’ve ordered a straight jacket.”

“Please, don’t embarrass me.”

“Two straight jackets.”


“Don’t worry, dear. I’ll have the guest room all ready.”

Motion lights are going in this week.

Regardless of who’s visiting you this holiday season, it’s a good time to give the guest room a once over to make sure it has the essentials, plus a few tailored touches depending on the guest. Here a few of my tips, along with some from Sally Morse, director of creative services for Hunter Douglas, a leading maker of window coverings:

Storage space — Guests don’t usually want to look like slobs, but they will if you don’t give them space to put their stuff. Clear out the closet. Leave some good hangers. If the room has a dresser, empty a couple of drawers. Install hooks behind doors for coats, purses and towels. If space is tight, a folding luggage rack would be welcome.

A well-dressed bed — All-cotton, high-thread count white sheets, please. Layers are luscious, and down is dreamy.

Privacy — The room should have window coverings that not only add a decorative touch, but also provide privacy and light control, says Morse.

Layered lighting — In addition to overhead light, have a lamp on the bedside table, one the guest can reach from the bed. A nightlight will help guests find their way in the dark.

Dual purpose — If your guest room doubles as a home office, gym or den, move out or hiding the non-bedroom items. Put the stationary bike in the garage, and the files in a covered basket. Try to make the conversion to a bedroom as convincing as you can.

Mirrors — Most guests appreciate a good mirror, ideally full-length, in their room or in an adjacent bathroom, Morse said.

Seasonal flowers — Fresh or even dried flowers, like hydrangeas, which last much longer, and add an elegant, vintage touch, say welcome. A bowl of holiday potpourri or pinecones with sprigs of pine and berries feels festive.

Welcome basket — Put one in the room filled with granola bars, nuts, water bottles, fresh crisp apples and a few magazines.

Added security — If your guest happens to be romantically interested in someone in the house, install motion lights, and laser-beamed security sensors that summon police and trip traps that cage the midnight wanderer and douse him in cold water.

Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through





Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3



My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment



Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8



Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate




Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17