Friday, February 17, 2012

Flowers In The Guest Room



Ed. Note: The Gold Digger is back.  This time she will help us with that pesky warm hospitality/charming decorating conundrum: What does the perfect hostess put into the guest room to welcome family and friends? 


I've chosen a few photographs of bedrooms created by one of my best and oldest friends, the brilliant interior decorator, Betty Lou Phillips. You'll note importance of flowers here. . .


When I was a Peace Corps volunteer and couldn't afford anything - except a cleaning lady once a week, but before you laugh and judge me, know that it was cheaper to have someone clean my house and wash my clothes by hand than it was to take my clothes to the laundromat, although when you factor in how quickly clothes are ruined by being scrubbed on a pine board, maybe the laundromat would have been a better long-term option, I vowed that once I had a real money job again, I would do three things:

1. Have a cleaning lady - which I already had, but she was an awful cleaning lady. I would get someone who actually cleaned my house and of whose personal life I knew nothing so I wouldn't have to feel bad about firing her if she did a crummy job. How can you fire someone who is the sole support of her widowed, ailing mother? You can't. You continue to pay her $10 a week (which was four times the market rate) and then clean your house yourself. Or take off your glasses when you are inside so you can't see the dirt.

2. Get new underwear every year.

3. Have fresh flowers in the house all the time.

I did all three things for a while. When I finally got my post-Peace Corps job, which took a while because apparently, corporate employers think Peace Corps volunteers come to work in Tevas and dreadlocks, I got a cleaning lady who came once every three weeks.

She cost a lot more than ten dollars.

I threw away all my old underwear, which seemed horribly wasteful, but I reminded myself that I was preventing possible humiliation should I be in a car accident.

And I started buying flowers.

Then I got married and I became the cleaning lady. At first, my husband got flowers. Now, alas, he does not. But I try to keep flowers in the house. When we have houseguests, I put flowers in the guest bath and bedroom. Usually, that's easy: I just cut something from my garden. Shockingly, we don't get many houseguests in the winter, so the lack of garden flowers is not an issue. Why don't people want to come to Milwaukee in January?



But I've always thought flowers for guests - in addition to a few bottles of water and some snacks, usually a bowl of chocolate from the Chocolate Drawer - are a nice touch.

So I was very pleased a few years ago when my husband and I visited his parents and discovered flowers in the guest room. They were from the hisbiscus bush in the front yard, but that's OK. They were pretty and, more importantly, showed that perhaps my husband's mother had begun to change her attitude about me since the initial, "We're not coming to the wedding and you better not marry her" hissy fit.

I was pleased. She was finally coming around. I was not the monster she thought I was. She was admitting she was wrong about me! No words, but a gesture suffices.

I left the bedroom and found her. "Thank you for the flowers!" I said. "They are lovely."

She looked confused. "What flowers?"

"In the bedroom. On the dresser."

"Oh!" she said. "The cleaning lady must have left those."

At least the cleaning lady liked me.


Ed. Note: If you, like moi meme cannot get enough of my friend, let's call her Melissa or Miranda -- something like that -- do visit her at one or both of her blogs: The Diary of A Gold Digger or the other one.

15 comments:

Today's Treasure by Jen said...

Thanks for the great memories... my grandmother always had fresh roses in the guest room when we arrived. It was just lovely. You can never go wrong with fresh flowers. Also, love Betty Lou Phillips, I carry her books at my shop. Merci, ~Jen

The enchanted home said...

That is too funny......thanks for the laugh to start my day, hopefully an indication of a lighthearted day (sure could use one of those)!! I agree fresh flowers are such a nice touch not just for our guests for ourselves too, even if its picking up a 7.00 bouquet of tulips at my local supermarket, they just put a smile on my face.
Love Betty Lou Phillips...she is so talented! And I have every one of her books....enjoy your day Tish!

sanda said...

This post had me smiling throughout. And I too love flowers in the house, esp. guest rooms. My daffodils are in full bloom so I'm going out right now to cut some for the vases. Thanks, Tish, for inviting The Gold Digger and I will certainly visit her blog!

Villette said...

I was once lucky enough to be a guest at a house where the cleaning lady liked me. It was in deepest France, at a big country house. The cleaning lady had not a word of English, but knew it when she saw it. So she went to the library -- yes, it was that sort of house -- and chose two books to leave by my bedside. One was a first London edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin and the other was a guide to Wild Mushrooms of Britain. Better than flowers, at least as far as surprise value...

BigLittleWolf said...

Delightful post. Of course, the dilemma with flowers and chocolate in the guest room is the guest who then feels so welcome that he or she never wants to leave...

It's fine with some guests, and with others, not so much.

As for spouse/partner-provided blooms, it's lovely when we are surprised by them. But it's also easy enough to drop $3 (or less) for something simple and lovely at the supermarket, which can sit on the bedside table for us, and offer color, fragrance, and a bright spot when we wake on wintry mornings.

Joni said...

Great post! Yes, flowers are a nice touch but if your guest should have allergies, well then . . .

kathy peck said...

So funny - thanks for the laugh this morning.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Love flowers and always have some in our home. Guests get both chocolate and flowers in the guest room as we want to let them know how much we appreciate their visiting us.

Laughed out loud at the last bit!

kkchang said...

Although I love Tish's blog, and her lovely, lovely, writing, Gold Digger- you are killing me! It helps that my husband and in-laws are also from Milwaukee (husband left for college 25 years ago and never went back).

Chula Wula D'Augue said...

Thank you for yet another good read. I live in both California and France, and have an idea for a blog post. Could you please let me know how to contact you?
Sherry

Maryl said...

I aim for flowers in the guest rooms at my house at the Jersey shore assuming my gardens are bountiful enough. Even if it's just a single stem, I think it says you were being extra thoughtful. I never think to put them in my room though? I guess I need to think of myself more!

California Girl said...

Yes, I'm fond of my MIL too.

Splenderosa said...

Darling, I absolutely LOVE this. So so funny, and so true for all of us at some point. Flowers. Yes, they solve multitudes of problems. xx's

The Gold Digger said...

You guys are so sweet! Thanks for coming to my blog.

Villette, I love the story about the books.

Big Wolf, we keep people away because we have cats. Unfortunately, some of the people we want to have around are also allergic, so it's not a perfect solution!

la fourchette said...

This post was too funny. Made me laugh. The only thing I like to do on that list is get flowers for the house. I love new underwear but hate the process of buying it. I wish someone else would do that for me...like I wish someone else would clean my house...hmmmm...note to self... ;}

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