April, 2005 Contest: When guests come to stay, where do they sleep and how do you make them comfortable?

Congratulations to our contest winner!
Carla Beth Price of Ashland, OR

My parents are usually my only house guests, and thank goodness for that. While my cottage is charming, it is also matchbox small, and doubly so when all four cats are scoping out their indoor sleep stations for the night. When, in the middle of the night, the valve on my dad’s air mattress inevitably bursts open, the cats bolt for the exit, and my mom yells, “Not again!” as she readjusts her bedding and reaches for the air pump, I smile and go back to sleep. Ever the mindful hostess, I know they’re in for a rough night on my kitchen floor while buried under piles of cats that find them irresistably warm cuddle buddies.
So in preparation for my parents’ visit, I bake fresh scones and make gourmet omelets for breakfast; I plant cheery flowers and fill the birdbaths with fresh water and I clean my oak kitchen floor that I proudly refinished myself. The following morning, if mom says, “Your cats are history, kiddo,” I go into distraction mode and whip together a scrumptious breakfast, bring in pots of flowers for table decorations, open windows so the birds can be heard, and thank dad for letting me borrow his floor sander. That always seems to do the trick, because when night falls and mom loudly announces that she’s trapped under two snoring cats, and air starts gushing from dad’s mattress, the giggles that follow make everything okay. And when our visit is nearing its end, someone always manages to ask, “When can we come again?”