Hostess with the mostest bagels


Me a week before houseguests arrive: cool, calm, collected. We are just going to be ourselves.

Me a few hours before houseguests arrive: “I NEED TO PAINT THE ENTIRE PORCH! And also, I hate these baseboards!”

Procedure for greeting guests:

1. Shout “THEY’RE HERE!”

2. Scurry around the house frantically for a bit for no real reason.

3. Pause for a few seconds, then run out on the porch and start joyfully shouting as if it’s all a massive delightful surprise.

It’s no secret that I’m house proud. You don’t buy a fixer-upper and then pour your heart, soul, blood, sweat and actual tears into fixing it up because you don’t care about your surroundings.

I want to provide a warm and welcoming environment. Comfortable guest bedrooms. Gracious porches for visiting. Cozy fires indoors or out when appropriate. Friends have good-naturedly referred to us as “The Seabolt AirBnB.”

I can admit it was going to my head. That is, until Saturday morning when I awoke to discover that a good-sized chunk of plaster had fallen from the ceiling right in the center of the stairs. I picked it up and chuckled. Of course, it did. This house is equal parts glorious haven and an ongoing project. She is bent on keeping us humble.

Please note our houseguests are the NICEST people. I would be perfectly happy if they stayed forever. I am legitimately sad when they have to leave. I stand on the porch and wave morosely. “Bye. PLEASE COME BACK!” I don’t know why they aren’t willing to relocate to the United States just to hang out with me?


In any case, attempting to explain on either side of the border how two families countries apart have become besties is usually met with confusion? How? Why? The darling 26-year-old daughter responds, exasperated, “I don’t know! I was born into this!”

The friendship goes back to Mr. Wonderful’s childhood. They met at a fishing camp in Canada. Two families forming a bond forged in repeated annual visits and holiday joy.

Now, our children have grown up knowing each other. Close from afar, if I do say so. We are told that when asked where they are heading when visiting ‘The States,” the reaction to their answer, “Ohio,” is all too often “Why?”

Apparently, it’s acceptable to visit New York, Florida and perhaps, Las Vegas. Ohio is not a vacation destination. Who knew? It is a running joke that “Ohio isn’t real.” I say we keep it that way. Ohio is actually fabulous, and if too many people catch on, it might ruin it. Let’s keep the wonders of the Midwest our little secret okay?

Otherwise, I think we should have visitors more often. It’s so relaxing on the weekend to set aside the endless to-do list. Guests force us to relax and actually ENJOY our home. We visit, snack and chat. I actually took the time to sit on my own front porch. It’s really nice out there!

Granted, we also have hilarious doorbell camera footage of one of us getting dive-bombed directly in the face by one angry mama bird, but to be fair, she was completely justified. She was just staking out her territory. Her territory just happens to be the wreath by our front door. Now we just give her a wide berth.

We also took our Canadian visitors out back to practice target shooting some firearms because ‘Merica!


We know that due to the problematic and possibly toxic relationship I have with our cat, I’m forever trying to give him away.

Every time they admired him because he is stunning, I offered that they could have him. I’ll just pack him up and send him across the border with them. I know they will give him a great home. They would send pictures. This could work out well.

They kept mulling over the idea, getting my hopes up, before declaring that I would miss him. Would I though? Does anyone know if FedEx can ship felines internationally? Asking for a friend.

Back to food

Three reasonable and normal people were coming to stay for the weekend. Accordingly, I provided enough food to feed at least a dozen extra mouths — per day. Six bagels per person each day seems correct? Seventeen pounds of meat?

Over-planning food is the law in this state. I don’t make the rules. I think America is known worldwide for obesity, so I want our food and snacks to live up to the hype.

I love having houseguests, but then I look around at all the food that’s left and realize it’s entirely possible that I forgot to feed them after all. Dear friends, if you’re reading this, please come back. I finally cut that watermelon.

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