Getting closer!

Getting closer!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Bill of Responsibilities: Rules for being a Houseguest

The Momocracy of the Swaggon(tm), on the occasion of the Great Northern Adventure that begins on Wednesday the thirtieth of June, two thousand and ten, at the time of their adopting the constitution expressed a desire, in order to prevent potential embarassment and avoid fierce punishment of citizens, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added that pertains to behavior while acting as guests in someone's home. Extending the ground of family members' faith in the ability of Swaggon(tm) citizens to behave while acting as houseguests will best ensure harmony and goodwill and enable citizens to maintain positive future relationships. RESOLVED by the Momocracy, assembled online, with both governing members agreeing unanimously, that the following articles be made law:

1.) Find out and follow the house rules for whomever's home you are in. No shoes in the house does not mean that your chuck taylors are an exception. Watch out for sneaky indoor cats when you come and go, and don’t give the dog people food, even if he’s making his I’m really hungry face. If food is not permitted outside the kitchen or dining area and you are discovered munching on crackers in the den, you might find yourself embarking on an involuntary fast. Follow the house rules, and follow our rules, and we'll all get along just fine.

2.) In any regard, on any topic, citizens will ALWAYS ASK or TELL YOUR MOTHER FIRST. This goes for any question/comment/issue you might have, regarding food, regarding showers, regarding schedule, regarding tattling, regarding mood or boredom, regarding ANYTHING, ASK OR TELL YOUR MOTHER. If you cannot find your mother, you may ask your Aunt. If you cannot find either, that means we have left you with whatever family member you are staying with. Good luck and Godspeed.

3.) ALWAYS BE NEAT. Even though it goes against your nature. Be neater than you are at home, neater than you are anywhere else, ever. Straighten up your sleeping area when you awake. Your things (clothes, books, games) should be kept near your sleeping area to avoid losing or leaving items. Dirty clothes should be placed with dirty clothes, not spread around the house. Our hosts do NOT want to see your camoflouge boxer briefs or your My Little Pony panties on their bathroom floor or anywhere else. Dirty clothes should also not be jumbled up with clean clothes in your suitcase or anywhere else. Doing so will result in stinky clean clothes that you will be forced to wear anyway, to teach you a lesson. A good rule of thumb for keeping track of your belongings: When you’re not in your room, it should look like it did when you arrived. Put your clothes away, hang up your towel and straighten the bed every morning. Don’t abandon your slippers in the hallway, your iPod on the kitchen counter or your book about pirates in the den; take your toiletries into the bathroom when you need them and bring them back to your room afterward. AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FLUSH.

4.) DO NOT COMPLAIN. If you feel the need to complain, sit on it and wait until you can complain in private later, to your Mother or Aunt, but do not expect sympathy. If the bed you are sleeping in is uncomfortable, don't complain. If the dinner being offered it not to your liking, don't complain. If you hate what's on TV, don't complain (and for pete's sake, go find something better to do - we're on vacation!). DO NOT COMPLAIN TO OR WITHIN EARSHOT OF OUR THOUGHTFUL, CONSIDERATE HOSTS. Doing so would be incredibly rude and ungrateful, and will result in immediate punishment. Remember: we didn't have to bring you.

5.) ALWAYS BE POLITE AND CONSIDERATE. If you wake up early and everyone else in the home is asleep, be quiet. If you are trying to sleep and the other people in the house wake you up, deal with it - it's not our house. Before asking for seconds at a meal, make sure everyone else has eaten. Take short showers, don't hog the bathroom, don't use our host's personal things (i.e, toothbrushes), knock on doors and wait to be invited in before entering rooms, make polite conversation when engaged (no mumbling "whatever" as an answer to every question), and share and play nicely with other children. We are Southern ladies and gentlemen, and we will remember our manners and behave as such. "Please" and "Thank you" are required. AND REMEMBER: ALWAYS, ALWAYS FLUSH. ALWAYS.

6.) BE HELPFUL AND OFFER TO HELP. To your mom, to your Aunt, to other kids, and especially to our hosts. Offer to help CONSTANTLY. If someone is working in the kitchen, whether cooking or cleaning, offer to help. If someone is carrying something heavy, offer to help. Utter the question often, because it will never get old: "Is there any way I can help you?". It is the least we can do. IT IS EXPECTED that, after a meal enjoyed in someone's home, Swaggon(tm) citizens will automatically get up and help with dishes and/or cleanup.

7.) GO WITH THE FLOW. We are guests in someone else's home and as such, we will accomodate THEIR schedule. If everyone else is going somewhere and you would rather sulk in your sleeping bag and play DS, TOO BAD. If you take issue with something that is scheduled (see item #3 for more information about complaining), suck it up and deal. There will be plenty of time do sulk and play nintendo at home, let's enjoy seeing and doing things we can't at home. If you want to be sullen and rude, that is your right, just as it is the right of your Mother or Aunt to punish you thoroughly. You do not have to have fun but you do have to be nice.

8.) DO NOT EXPECT TO BE ENTERTAINED. While there are many fun things planned for this trip, not every moment of the day will be taken up by activity. Read a book, play a video game, go outside, take a nap, BE SELF-SUFFICIENT. If you approach an adult complaining of boredom or a lack of something to do, said adult will find you something to do and rest assured, it will not be fun. It might involve toilets or hair clogs or diaper changes.

9.) CHECK ON/FOR BUBBA. Bubba is your fellow citizen, the youngest of our group and also requires the most maintenance. As such, it behooves us all to help ensure his overall mood stays positive. Check on him periodically, to make sure he hasn't fallen out of a window, or to see if he needs something to drink, or if he's trying to rewire the house via a fork and electrical socket, or if he's walking around tearing the pages out of someone's wedding photo album. Your Aunt/Mother appreciates it. Just remember...if Bubba ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy. And that is a fact, Jack.

10.) DO NOT TALK ABOUT BODILY FUNCTIONS OR EMISSIONS OR PARTS. Do not say 'bosoms' or 'scrotum' just to try and get a laugh; believe me, your Mother and/or Aunt will not be amused, and we are the ones that matter in this respect. Do not tell everyone, over dinner, that your poo was green when you were in the bathroom earlier. Do not tell that story at dinner or any other time. Do not scratch yourself in public. Do not tell everyone, loudly, that your private parts are itchy. If that is indeed the case, let your mother know in private. Do not walk out of the bathroom waving your hand theatrically and saying "WHEW! DO NOT go in THERE!" after you have used it. If you must pass gas, try and do so quietly and without commentary. On the occasion of an SBD (silent but deadly), do not sit and snicker and look around expectantly and then laugh when you see someone sniff and make a face. If you are experiencing digestive problems, let your Mother or your Aunt know privately and we will get you the appropriate medicine. Do not announce to everyone that you have 'the squirts'. AND ALWAYS FLUSH. I cannot say this enough.

11.) DO NOT ORDER WHATEVER YOU WANT AT ANY RESTAURANT, REGARDLESS OF TYPE, without checking with your mother first. Whether fast food or a barbecue joint or at a fancy sit-down restaurant, QUIETLY run your menu selection past your mother before announcing your order. DO take prices into consideration, DO NOT order the most expensive thing on the menu. Most likely, YOU are not paying for this dinner. Most likely, your mother is paying, or even more importantly, someone else is, in which case it is only right to check yourself (particularly before you wreck yourself, which is what will happen if you say "I'll have the $24.99 rib platter special" before asking your mom if that is ok). Mothers have every right to veto your choice. You have every right to sulk about that, just as your mother has the right to send you to the van for the duration of dinner. Make certain to quietly notify your mother as to what you would like, as opposed to shouting across the table, "I want to get the hamburger, unless you think it's too expensive, since you're so cheap". That qualifies as wrecking oneself. This is also no time to experiment with new foods; you are expected to eat what you order. Should you order something at a restaurant and not eat it, it will be brought home and presented to you for breakfast the following morning. And every possible subsequent meal thereafter, until it is eaten or until the food becomes sentient and finds a way to escape.

A good rule of thumb is, if you think it might get you in trouble, it probably will, and most likely in TWICE as much trouble as normal since we are staying in someone else's home. Basically, what we are asking for here, is for you and all of us to pretend we're not the smelly, rude, ill-behaved boorish cads that we all really are. For example: say you tell a fart joke in the car that makes the adults laugh so hard that they cry. If you were to tell the same joke while we are houseguests, you will get in trouble. It's not quite fair, no, but it's how things are. Keep in mind that we will only be staying with family for about a week, and then everyone's normal bad manners, hygeine and behaviors can resume once we are back on the road and headed home.

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