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?