Ten Great Excuses to Prevent House Guests with Ill-Behaved Children from Staying with You
"Great News! We're Coming to Visit! And We're Bringing the Kids!"
So you've got a brother with two little pre-tween terrorists … or a friend with four future felons. Maybe your cousin's little angels are the spawn of Satan … or your sister's kids are orangutans. You've got the call: "Hey, sweetie, guess what? Great news! The kids and I are coming out for a visit!" Now, I'm sure you love your friend or family member, but the kids are a whirling dervish of destruction. Problem is, you can't think of a graceful way out, and your potential houseguest is not taking your subtle hint. You need an extra-strength excuse -- the queen mother of all excuses -- one that makes it seem like their idea to avoid visiting.
Here they are, ready to go. Practice saying them aloud first. Remember, delivery is critical! Be casual when you deliver the line, as if you're mentioning a bit of trivia. Let it sink in. Then, drop the supporting bits of information -- the "eww" factor in many cases. We'll call those the additional script. Once you've crossed the point of safety -- that moment when your potential guest says, "Oh, geez, I think we'd better reschedule our visit" -- act disappointed. Offer a potential solution -- one that cements the visitors' decision to stay elsewhere (or not at all). We'll call this the unattractive solution.
Ready? Here we go!
The line: "There's an outbreak of rabies in the bats in the area. Because they're sick, they fly much lower than usual and are more likely to make lethal contact with shorter people. I'm not sure the kids would be safe."
The additional script: "You know, it's not like they're going to go attacking anyone, but if they fly into the kids' hair or faces and they leave any trace of saliva, and the kids manage to wipe their faces and rub it into their eyes or any open wounds, they can get it. Ugly way to die, man."
The unattractive solution: "Hey, I've got a great thought. Why don't you get your kids some rabies vaccines? I don't think they're as painful or expensive as they used to be. They might not even have to give them in the stomach anymore."
How Popular is Your Own "Inn?"
How Often Do You Have House Guests?
The line: "My radon-gas gauge is off the charts. Until I can get the air properly decontaminated, it's recommended that the elderly, small children, and people with compromised immune systems avoid breathing it here."
The additional script: "I knew I shouldn't have gone for granite countertops throughout the house. I mean, it's not like there IS a good solution -- granite with radon, formica with formaldehyde."
The unattractive solution: "If you think everyone can hold their breath, they might be okay. It's really up to you."
The line: "Hey, take a look at the dogs' poo in this photograph. Do those look like worms to you?"
The additional script: Provide visual evidence. (This is a "prop.") Drop white rice kernels in the doggy-doo and snap that photo!
The unattractive solution: "Are your kids really good about washing their hands every time they've petted an animal? They should be just fine."
The line: "I was doing a community volunteer event and I managed to come into contact with someone with head lice. Eww! I'll be washing my hair tonight but you know how those nits are -- they keep on hatching."
The additional script: "Danged things spread like wildfire. Hey, can you bring some anti-itch cream when you come?"
The unattractive solution: "I'd be so disappointed if you couldn't come. Do you think it'd be safe if you were just to shave all the kids' heads first?"
Just Say It … I Won't Tell.
How much do you appreciate house guests with small children?
The line: "Oh, my, I just found out there was a huge leak in the guest bathroom and there's black mold everywhere. You should see it! Oh -- I guess you will. I never realized how stinky that stuff is."
The additional script: "I've been dumping all sorts of hazardous materials on the stuff to try to kill it off, and then I learn that it isn't enough just to kill it -- apparently it releases all sorts of toxins when it's dead. It's true, bacteria ARE going to take over the world!"
The unattractive solution: "If you don't mind wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus it's really not a problem. You'll want to take the kids in to be specially fit, though. It's important that there's a tight seal around those precious little faces."
The line: "Check out this picture of Chloe. The vet says it's mange!"
The additional script: This one calls for visual documentation. Make another prop. Shave a few random patches of hair off your dog. Use pet-safe dyes, like food coloring or cherry juice, to enhance the bare spots with the appearance of inflamed red skin. Pat a little flour-and-water paste on top to form the appearance of a crust. Get a blurry photo. Enjoy!
The unattractive solution: "Chloe needs baths every day. I'd love it if your kids would handle that job for me. I'll get some rubber gloves -- the stuff is highly contagious."
The line: "Spring is certainly here! Everything's in bloom. Did I tell you I've been having a horrendous problem with killer bees moving in? They've got a colossal hive in the wall! At night I can hear them buzzing and buzzing around -- it's creepy."
The additional information: "Sad about old Hank next door. He's the guy who liked to mow the lawn in his Speedo every morning. The lawn mower disturbed the bees and … well, you know. I guess bees like it really quiet!"
The unattractive solution: "You might want to get bee suits for everyone. And those epinephrine shots that goes straight into the heart, just in case someone has an allergy."
Icky, Gooey Guest-Room Death.
The line: "Oh my goodness, guess what I just learned? The neighbors told me that someone died in the spare bedroom a few years ago. Well -- I mean, not just died -- they were dismembered and sealed in plastic baggies."
The additional information: "I always did have a strange feeling when I was in that room. Like, rushes of cold air and this feeling that I wasn't alone. I just thought it was the house settling or something. I'll be curious if you have the same experience when you stay there."
The unattractive solution: "Can you help me rip the carpet out the day you get here? The floor will be bare but now that I know what those bleach stains are for, I just don't feel right letting you sleep there. Oh -- wait -- I wonder what's going to be underneath that carpet?"
The Loose Python.
The line: "I am SO glad you're coming. Cody's python got loose and we can't find it anywhere. I know it's in the house -- it shed its skin under the armoire -- but I tell you what, that creature knows how to hide!"
The additional information: "It shouldn't be too hard to find him once you're here. He hasn't eaten in weeks and must be getting hungry. I bet he'll show himself once he sees the kids."
The unattractive solution: "Maybe we can speed things up by luring him. Does Kennedy still have that sweet little fleece mouse costume she wore for Halloween last year?"
Conversion to Scientology!
The line: "Did I tell you my own big news? I've converted to Scientology! I cannot wait to tell you and the kids all about it. Now's the perfect age to introduce them. My spiritual mentor planning to come out and lead us in some initiation rituals."
The additional information: "Did you know that we are descended from space aliens who came here from other planets long ago?"
The unattractive solution: "Oh, gosh, if you're having second thoughts, maybe you could just send the kids out for the weekend? I'd love to have them all to myself!"
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