When my mom said, “What do you think about this?” and continued to ask me if she could invite my cousin from Oklahoma and her three boys, ages 4, 5 and 7, to join my family on our summer vacation I thought, “Why in the hell would I think about that?”

For the past few summers my family has rented a vacation home in Jackson, Wyoming and during our time in Jackson many people have come to stay with us. Some we invite. Most invite themselves. It’s not always horrible entertaining and cooking for our vacation interlopers but after my mom mentioned inviting Oklahoma relatives to stay with us for a week, I decided it was time to put my foot down.

So, I came up with some rules, in no particular order, that I will be passing out to my family and friends at the end of the school year.

1. Don’t invite long lost relatives to join me on my vacation.
Seriously mom? You want me to house 3 boys under the age of 7, plus my own son and a cousin I barely know, who’s a smoker!? For a week?
2. Don’t wake me up. Ever.
I don’t care if you have to pee so bad you’re crying piss, hold it until I’m awake, out of bed and drinking my tea.
3. Don’t expect me not to wake you up.
If you’re staying with me be prepared to be awake when I’m awake. No more tip toeing around the house or whispering for me. If you’re looking to sleep in, stay in a hotel.
4. Don’t expect breakfast.
I do not eat breakfast so if you want breakfast, go to a diner. And take my son. The same goes for coffee. I don’t drink it, and let me tell you, if you’re not a coffee drinker making a pot of coffee is a pain in the ass. How much water? How much coffee? Where do I put the water? How in the hell do you turn this thing on?
5. Don’t eat all my food.
Nothing pisses me off more than dreaming about eating a piece of cake leftover from last night’s dinner only to discover you have polished off the cake along with the potato chips, peanuts and beer.
6. Don’t ask me to take you shopping.
I hate shopping, unless I’ve had a couple of drinks, then I’ll buy the whole damn store. However, rarely, but not unprecedented, am I drunk at 10 in the morning which seems to be the time all of you want to go shopping.
7. Don’t expect me to give you directions.
Look, there’s a thing called GPS. It tells you how to get to places you’ve never been to before. Use it.
8. Don’t leave your shit all over the house.
I don’t let my husband get away with this so I’m sure as hell not going to let you. That wouldn’t be fair. The way I see it, I’m nice enough to give you your own bedroom and bathroom, can’t you be nice enough to leave your crap in the space provided. If not, you brought too much shit.
9. Tell me when you’re coming.
The Jackson rental has 1 extra bedroom. If you show up on my doorstep unannounced, chances are someone will be using it. In which case, the best I can offer is a tent in the backyard.

I took a criminal law class at the local community college so I’m practically a lawyer which makes this practically an ironclad legal document. Please feel free to send it on to your family and friends. Then sit back, relax and enjoy your summer vacation! I know I will.


About the author: Anne Archer is an ex-CPA, by choice, and an ex-ESL teacher, by the community college’s choice. She now takes care of her 7 year old boy while trying to decide what she wants to do with her life. Anne shares her thoughts on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReallyPeople), Pinterest and anywhere else that will let her.

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