Those who've managed to keep tabs on the coordinates of my far-flung family know I have a husband in Colorado, a daughter with me in Florida and another daughter in Texas allegedly attending college.
It's complicated, and just got more complicated.
The Texas daughter now has a boyfriend. (The nerve!) Holding up the family tradition of not living in the same state as your significant other, she's chosen a young man who lives in Colorado. There he also allegedly attends college, though I'm not sure how given all the time he spends texting and calling Paige.
They met last summer at a camp. Now her boyfriend is coming to Florida for Thanksgiving.
And not just for dinner — for the week!
Over the past few months, I have taken comfort in knowing my daughter's romantic interest lives several states away, where he should stay, until she's about 33, so she can get some studying done.
“Sure, he can visit, honey,” I say when Paige asks if she can invite him to Florida. “Where will he stay?”
“We have a guest room!” she says.
“Right. Of course.”
I am not prepared to add this dimension to my family life.
I've had lots of houseguests over the years, but a boyfriend houseguest? Never. I begin to seriously rethink the guest room. Rather than fret about the condition and quantity of down pillows and sheets, I contemplate surveillance cameras and motion detectors.
Paige will stay in her room upstairs. Her boyfriend will sleep in the guest room downstairs. Between them lies a set of ancient wooden stairs, which creak like a graveyard gate. I picture ways I can booby trap them — wax them and rig them with a string of tin cans.
My husband, Dan, who will be in the house, will be the bouncer. Never mind that her boyfriend, whom I have only seen on Skype, appears to have arms bigger than Dan's legs, and could pick him up with his teeth.
It's not that I don't trust my daughter. I do. (Him, I'm not so sure.) But I also know that the line between trust and denial is thin. Motion lights are going in this week.
Regardless of who's visiting you this holiday season, it's a good time to give the guest room a once over to make sure it has the essentials, plus a few tailored touches depending on the guest. Here a few of my tips, along with some from Sally Morse, director of creative services for Hunter Douglas, a leading maker of window coverings: