Monday, August 30, 2010

Someone Else's Laundry

We recently returned from Cape Cod, where we stayed with our good friends and their three charming children. The plus of staying with friends rather than at a hotel are obvious -- you have more time to spend with your friends and get the chance to experience the rhythmes of their every day life. The downside is pretty obvious too -- there's no hotel maid, no room service (or mini-bar) and not much privacy.

The truth is that I'd trade even four-star hotel food for our friend's cooking. They made even the most simple dish (a BLT sandwich, for instance) into something truly memorable and delicious.

When it came time for their daughter's 8th birthday party, they went all out -- making two cakes from scratch, along with two types of frosting, homemade ice cream, homemade whipped cream and caramel and fudge sauces. I am still coming down from the sugar high.

In return to their amazing hospitality, I tried my best to be handy. I helped do the laundry, tidied up the toys and volunteered to help clean the house. They assigned me the task of vacuuming the living room and I happily agreed. But then I was stumped.

"How do you do this anyway?" I asked.

"Don't you vacuum at home?" one of my hosts wondered.

"Well, usually Avo does the vacuuming."

So I got a lesson in Vacuuming 101 and they saw first-hand how undomesticated I still am.

Then at dinner, they asked if I could kindly cut the corn off of their daughter's corn on the cob since she has some missing teeth.


But when I picked up a sharp paring knife and started to whittle the cob, our hostess looked alarmed.

"You're scaring me!" she said before doing the job herself with a dull dinner knife.

I can only hope that at least I did a decent job changing the sheets when it was time for us to go.

And I hope they don't hold my lack of domestic skills against me and invite us back again next year. My witty banter, sharp conversation skills, and warm companionship compensates for my lack of know-how around the house, right?


Zephyr Eurova said...

I seize up when I start chopping vegetables in someone else's kitchen. For example, I always assume there's a right way to cut the tomato for whatever dish they're preparing. But I also feel foolish asking them, particularly if they're busy doing something else. Whatever the task, when you're in someone else's home, it's easy to wonder if you do something in an odd way compared to how they'd like it done.

Anonymous said...

A friend and I did the same thing this summer, sharing a house together for a week. We had a great time. She made the breakfast - I made the dinners. Oh, and she did the vacuuming!

Beau Valtz said...

Don't feel foolish, Z: you're just trying to do it right. It's thoughtful and gracious to ask, "So how do you want this tomato cut up?" I do most of the cooking at our house, so trust me on this.

Paula, for some reason I'm no longer alerted when you make a new entry here, so I never saw this. You KNOW you'll always be invited back.

And next time--lucky girl!--we'll teach you to do windows.

xo Beau