STAN DELAPLANE’ S POST CARD: October 23, 1959
The carpenters have arrived to put a guest room on the family scatter. It is not my idea. It is the banker’s idea. “It will increase the resale value 20 per cent,” said the banker, twirling the rubies on his gold watch chain, “Maybe 25 per cent.”
This is nervous talk; it makes me nervous, anyway. What is all this talk of resale? My banker has about 50 per cent of my house action. I look on a house as a home. A place to live.
My banker looks on it like a bag of groceries that he would unload if the price was right.
I see no reason for guest rooms. Because the minute you put in a guest room, you are likely to draw guests.
I will say that the house gets polished up when guests are on the way. But it is a wearing thing.
Rooms have to be swept. Floors must be mopped. Windows polished and drawers emptied. A new washer must be placed in the faucet that drips.
In fact, when guests are coming you would not recognize the old place.
Well, by and by the guests arrive (our guests usually arrive by car). There is then a great struggle who shall tote the suitcases upstairs.
I am a polite cat in such cases. Polite and insincere.
“You go right ahead. I’ll bring up the bags.” “No, I should say not. I guess I can carry my own bags up, ha, ha.”
We then go into a struggle who should carry the bags. “Let me have them.” “No, let ME have them.”
We both wrench our backs and bark the skin from our hands.
A state of strong distaste is firmly established on both sides.
That is just a good beginning. And it gets worse.
A guest room is not for guests. It is a second-best room and therefore is for the family. The guests get the good room.
This involves transfer of a good deal of clothing. And you always forget the right pair of pants.
You then stand around in your shirt tails until the guests rise and come down. Then you can sneak in and get your clothes. Guests rise very slowly and you can freeze while you are waiting for them.
After dinner is the jolliest time. It is the time when the women battle over who will do the dishes.
“Why, I wouldn’t THINK of having you do them. Now just sit down and relax.”
“I really INSIST on helping. Now you must be all tired fixing that LOVELY dinner. Joe and I will do those dishes in a jiffy. Won’t we, Joe?”
“Uh huh,” says Joe. And he says it without enthusiasm.
We have a spirited little struggle for the soap and the towel.
Meanwhile, their child has got your child’s toys. He has taken the toy fire engine and belted a welt on your child’s noggin.
Both moppets are screaming. You must face this with a smile. “Now it really is nothing. I’m sure he’ll be all right in the morning. It’s nothing but a bruise.” (It is a lump the size of a cantaloupe.)
“He should learn to let other children play with his toys —PUT DOWN THAT AXE! Oh, I really didn’t mean to yell at your boy. But we do have a firm rule here that they are not allowed to play with sharp things. LET GO OF THAT CAT’S TAIL!”
This is what comes of putting guest rooms on a house.
It is very good for the banker. But very bad for the householder. It adds 20 per cent to the resale value but takes a big percentage off your life.
The best way to handle visitors is to let the hotel put on an extra room. You like that idea? Be my guest.