I’m so glad you’re coming to visit. For your convenience, I’ve compiled this list of things you should probably know to make your stay more comfortable:
1. The wiring in the guest room has one tiny quirk: you’ll get an electric shock whenever you touch the light switch. Also, when you turn the lights on, you might notice a faint burnt-toast smell that gets stronger over time. But the lights themselves work just fine.
2. An occasional indoor termite swarm is perfectly natural and not a cause for alarm.
3. If you wake up before I do, feel free to make your own breakfast. Help yourself to anything in the fridge, but if you can’t figure out what something is, or why it’s that color, or why it’s so fuzzy or has such an unusual smell, you may want to move on to something else. Actually, it might be best to avoid all the unlabeled containers completely.
4. Yes, the plumbing is supposed to make those noises.
5. Because there’s been some confusion in the past, here’s a guide to the condiments and other items on the kitchen table: the tall wooden grinder contains black pepper, the short wooden grinder contains white pepper, the green bowl contains red pepper flakes, the dark blue bowl contains sea salt, the navy blue bowl contains sugar, and the midnight blue bowl contains rat poison.
6. Make sure the kitchen windows are wide open any time you use the left rear stove burner. And I can’t emphasize this enough: don’t use the right front burner at all.
7. I don’t have rats. The rat poison was a gift from my aunt, and it would be rude not to display it.
8. The cats may come into your room and pounce on your feet or other body parts while you sleep. Isn’t that adorable? There are band-aids in the bathroom; please be considerate and make a serious attempt to stop the bleeding yourself before waking me.
9. There are no rats in the attic. The sounds you will hear at night are just squirrels running across the roof. It’s true that I haven’t been up there in years, so technically I don’t know for sure that there are no rats, but you could just as easily say that I can’t know for sure that there isn’t a serial killer living there. A very quiet serial killer, who broke into my house one day when I was at work and is now just biding his time until he decides to strike. Or she. Or maybe a whole family of serial killers, complete with children and a very quiet serial-killing dog. But really, it’s just squirrels.
I’m really looking forward to your visit! When you get here, remember to knock on the front door; do not, under any circumstances, touch the doorbell.