Saturday, September 27, 2014

Martha Stewart, I'm not
Some people brag about being great hostesses. I am not one of those people. I may do an occasional cork art project, but my hostessing abilities are the following: I can invite people over for a meal. Scratch that. I can invite a-ton-a-lotta (that's Itanglish for many) people over for a meal. Then I can have my husband cook that meal while I nag about why the kitchen looks like a hurricaine hit it seconds before they walk in. In that way, I do resemble Martha. He says he loves me anyway.

I clean the bathroom, mind you. I Windex the windows. I Swiffer. And I do dinner chat. That's about it. If anyone has ever slept over here who is not a friend of T's it has been sheer coincidence because I don't invite people to sleepover. Not since I was twelve or a drunken 22. That's why I admit that I went into panic mode when F's sister's daughter asked to come stay with us.

We haven't seen her in person in twelve years. She is now 21 and studying for six months in Norway. Her request to come stay with us was perfectly understandable. She gave us about two weeks lead time. Then we didn't hear from her ever again. In the meantime, I scrambled. I sent out emails enquiring about apartments for her. Surely she values her privacy as much as I value not having to clean the bathroom sink five times a day. I'm germaphobic, okay. I said it.

This is tourist season and the discount friend rate would have still cost me forty euros a night. I then tried to made a deal with a student: Her appartamentino for my lessons. My niece was, apparently, in bed with a cold for a bit and also she is not a planner. My side of the family are planners. This student called me as she was on her way out of town to Greece and the frantic text exchanges seemed like they might mingle friendship and business to an uncomfortable degree and so I dropped out of the negotiations mid-stream. It was complicated because there is only one flight from Norway to Pisa that takes three hours instead of nine hours and costs around 300 euro instead of 500 euro and that was for today.

Unfortunately, my hostessing style is a little more ala Kanye.

Flash forward to yesterday -- the day before the flight -- when our niece decided to confirm. Should I start monogramming stuff or flower arranging? I would have . . . . but now it's too late.

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