Friday, September 23, 2011

The Houseguest: Camber's mom

Our Houseguest came. And behaved herself very well, thank you.

Something about having my mom come transformed me into a little girl wanting to play show and tell, "See mom! There's our parking spot! And our gas station! And look at that tree outside our window!" Etc. It's as if few things in my surroundings held any meaning for me until time to share them with another person. 

Another advantage of houseguests is the excuse they give to visit things that only tourists ought to visit. Like the Amish Colonies. And the apple orchards. Fun places, but we just kept forgetting to go to them. Until my mom came. 

Yet another perk: my mom lives life with great zeal. She is the kind of person that will continue to have girls night with young married girls in their 20's. And grown men in their 20's and 30's will sit down across from her chair at work and confess everything from woes with women to their latest surgery (and show her their scars). Even my husband has been known to call her up and chat for an hour. Without me around. She can find humor in a traffic jam and joy in a $1 bacon cheeseburger. Any road trip with her is guaranteed to bring great excitement and noteworthy memories.

So when we went to Nauvoo (just the two of us) she proclaimed the old men that led the tours adorable and loved the horses and the temple and the pioneer dresses and bawled at the Carthage Jail tour and became BFF with our waitress at the hotel buffet and laughed at the pancake machine that produced ridiculously tiny pancakes at breakfast. And I enjoyed them all the more with her.

The ridiculously tiny pancakes

One night we went to dinner downtown and settled in...and realized the food was waaayy more expensive than we'd planned. I voted to leave. Isaac thought that was awkward. We already had water, after all. Then, because my mom is always up to adventure we decided to split an entree three ways. Not just any entree. A burrito. So that's what we did, and we loved the restaurant all the more for our funny memory of a three-way burrito.

Also at some point one of us mentioned crepes and that led directly to making plans for an epic crepe night. Which we carried out. We made probably 2 dozen crepes for...three people. We ate crepes for dinner and for dessert as well as pre-dinner snack and bedtime carb loading. 

And then she left.

And life got a little more boring.
At Carthage Jail in Illinois where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred.
This picture was taken post-meltdown. Mom is recovering here.
These champs took us on a tour of the countryside.
This is one of about 16 pictures we took with the horses.

This is a placard with a quotation from my 4th-great grandmother.
Apparently she wasn't the docile, subservient type. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rules for Houseguests

A few years ago, my mom came to visit and Isaac decided that it was in our best interests to write up a list of houseguest rules to prevent potential misunderstandings.
She is coming today to Iowa for the first time, and Isaac sent her an updated list of rules as a friendly reminder of appropriate conduct on our premises. I promise, this is well-worth your time.

Dear Mom,

In preparation for your visit, I thought I would send you an updated list of rules. I have made updates to each section, and have added a section for "Iowa" at the end.


Section 1: The Kitchen

Rule 1.1 Guests are prohibited, except in cases of extreme life-threatening emergencies, from making any negative comments regarding the general state of kitchen cleanliness, the height of the stack of dishes, or the inability to find the bottom of the sink. Compliments are encouraged.

Rule 1.2 Guests are prohibited from snacking on chocolate chips

Rule 1.3 Guests are prohibited from breaking dishes (except in cases of self-defense), climbing into the refrigerator, banging pots and pans (except on January 1st), or hiding under the table (except in cases of self-defense).

Rule 1.4 Guests are prohibited from commenting on the general lack of counter space, the stains on the kitchen table (it is not blood), or the old linoleum on the floor.

Section 2: The Living Room

Rule 2.1 Guests are prohibited from touching any remote belonging to a television, DVD player, CD player, lamp, or fan.
              Rule 2.1.1 Guests are prohibited from wanting to touch the remote.

Rule 2.2 Guests are prohibited from complaining about the volume of the radio, television, or DVD player.

Rule 2.3 Guests are prohibited from using (or touching) musical instruments, including (but not limited to): the piano, the guitar, the ukulele, the kazoo, the nose whistle, the jaw harp, or the armpit. Justin Cooper (Camber's little brother) is exempt from this rule.

Rule 2.4 Guests are prohibited from commenting on the cleanliness of the sliding glass door. Each remark will be punished by the guest having to lick the sliding glass door completely clean.

Section 3: The Bathroom

Rule 3.1 Guests are prohibited from borrowing, stealing, using, breathing on, or looking at my toothbrush (it's the electronic one).

Rule 3.2 Guests are limited to 10 minutes in the bathroom during a normal potty trip, 20 minutes for one (1) long potty trip during the day, and 30 minutes in the morning (which includes shower time).

Section 4: The Office (Guest Bedroom)

Rule 4.1 Guests have unlimited access to the office. It's your haven, your temporary home, your refuge.

Rule 4.2 Guests may not read any journals on the book shelf, but may enjoy the pictures on the cover.

Section 5: The Master Bedroom

Rule 5.∞ Guests are prohibited, upon penalty of death, from entering the master bedroom, from opening a closed door to the master bedroom, from peeking under the door into the master bedroom, from banging on the door of the master bedroom, and from any other practice which would disturb the peace, quiet, happiness, or general zen-like state of the master bedroom occupants.

Section 6: Iowa

Rule 6.1 Guests are prohibited from confusing the state of Iowa with the state of Ohio. Guests are required to perform 15 pushups for each mistaken reference to "Ohio." The substitute "Ohiowa" will be accepted up to three (3) times per day; each reference to "Ohiowa" beyond three times will result in a 15-pushup punishment.

Rule 6.2 Guests are prohibited from stating the obvious, especially from the following exclamations:

"It's cold here in Iowa!"

"There's so much corn!"

"Rivers here are big!"

"There are no mountains!"

"Iowans are fat!"


Rule 6.3 All statements, questions, thoughts, heart-felt loathings, or sighs about corn are prohibited. If a guest wishes to make a remark about corn, he/she must substitute the phrase, "Iowa is awesome," for the word corn. Example: "Goodness me! There are so many -- Iowa is awesome -- fields here!"

Rule 6.4 Guests are required to make two (2) positive comments about Iowa during each stay of the visit. General compliments regarding the greenness of the trees, the rolling hills, the general scent, the loveliness of the university, and the general lack of monkeys, are encouraged.

My mom is a very good sport.