In these situations, I'm reminded that I don't do well with crisis management. I basically spent my entire day being a Jewish mother to my Jewish mother. They refused to evacuate because they are equal parts stubborn, and equal parts attached to their home. By late afternoon it was clear that given the choice between an evacuation center or her freshly pressed sheets... she's going to take her chances.
Many of you have gotten to know my mother through Instagram, and she's become our unofficial mascot over the years. So here is an ode to Roberta and the home we all love so much. For those of you familiar with her legendary HOUSE RULES, and those of you who are newcomers, I thought it would be fun to share a Roberta approved guide to being a good house guest. Because let's face it, we all have a Roberta in our lives.
This is mine...
As a guest in my mother's home, you will be given explicit HOUSE RULES (yes, in all caps, always, and never to be taken lightly) and a checkout policy. In other words, Roberta doesn't mess around and neither should you.
Don't believe me? Ask Joanna. The first time we stayed with my parents on a work trip to LA, I had to warn her:
"Do you know what hospital corners are? You are about to meet a woman who takes on the human physical embodiment of hospital corners."
So, let's go over the house rules, shall we? Take notes.
DO NOT under any circumstance known to man, roll your suitcase on my mother's wooden floors. It doesn't matter if you have two broken arms and a suitcase that weighs 100 lbs. If you roll the suitcase on the floor, you might as well roll it all the way back to the airport.
Do your research and invest in a lightweight suitcase that can be picked up, carried, or strapped to your back if need be. As far as you are concerned, the wheels serve no function.
Shoes are prohibited on any carpet or rug within the home. It's best to take them off before you even look at a rug or carpet to be safe.
With that said, slippers or socks need to be packed. There's no "I hate my bare feet" or "I need a pedicure" excuse. You could have an extra toe that scares children. It doesn't matter. The same rules will apply.
Turn the lights off when you leave the room or face immediate eviction. If you tend to forget, make yourself a note. Trust me, Roberta flipping a switch is a lot worse.
If you are wearing makeup or even a tinted moisturizer, do not so much as brush up against one of my mother's fluffy white towels. Don't even use them to dry your hands, let alone your face.
Bringing your own towels is advisable, for both makeup and general use. This includes bath towels, hand towels, and even a robe.
If you plan on using the provided white towels, be proactive about crisis management. Prior to use, do field research on the exact brand and SKU number of the towel so you can stealthily replace.
Case study: Sumner, Joanna, and I were staying at my parent's house. A makeup smudge was found on a washcloth. We all invoked the "I only use makeup towelettes" defense, but we can't be certain who slipped. It could have been any of us. We can only assume my mother has the damaged towels at a forensic lab and will be checking for DNA.
You get one water glass during your stay so pick it wisely and wash it often. If you set it down, you better remember where you put it. And, if you lose it? Too bad.
I bring my own travel water bottle, just in case. Supermodels swear by water as their ultimate beauty secret, so I refuse to go more than a few hours without it.
Don't let the faucet or shower run for more than 5 seconds because WE ARE IN A DROUGHT. I get it...but LET ME LIVE.
A shower is a necessity and not a luxury, so treat it as such. Oh, you need to deep condition your hair and shave your legs in the same session? Good luck. The clock is ticking.
And, if all else fails? Dry shampoo.
RULE #7 (AKA CHECKOUT)
Upon checking out of my mother's house, you must strip the sheets and put them in a pillowcase, and place the sheets, along with your wastebasket, by the bedroom door.
Place your used towels by the door as well, UNLESS there is a speck of makeup, in which case you should run out the door immediately and never look back.
To expedite the checkout process, bring packing squares to ensure that no item is forgotten. The only trace that should be left of you is a hostess gift, like a candle, and a thank you note on fine stationery.
Black Makeup Towel
White Fluffy Towels
Cairo Hand Towel
BKR Glass Water Bottle
DRYBAR Dry Shampoo
Voluspa Candle Set
Merci Thank You Cards
Things to Note:
Joanna consistently scores an A+ on house rules, particularly during checkout. I'd say I'm somewhere between a D on the low end and a C+ on the high end.
The "Makeup on Fluffy Towel" case of 2017 is still on-going and the culprit is still at large.
Xo Clea (P.S. it wasn't me)