Being alone isn#8217;t what it#8217;s cracked up to be

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 3, 2006

Ah, guests.

Two years I lived in Delaware and received only three sets of visitors.

Not that I blame them too much. At first glance, Delaware doesn’t hold much appeal.


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But I move to Virginia Beach and low and behold! I have friends and family wanting to cram into my tiny apartment like a fat man in a little coat.

First my childhood friend Nate, then my husband’s family, then the bachelorette trip, then a gang of my husband’s friends (we don’t want to go there), then my sister and her boyfriend, now a friend from Delaware (I guess even Delawareans don’t find Delaware appealing), and next week, my brother and his family.


I work and clean, clean and work, try to make it home in time to go out to dinners and still squeeze in some time on the sand. It’s hard to stay motivated at work when you’ve got a houseful of people in vacation mode.

They get to sleep in and lazily make their way to the beach for the day, then they’re ready to scarf their weight in seafood and down cold beers at night.

People who live near the beach should be able to take the summers off. It’s just too daggone tempting.

Of course, it doesn’t help when some of my visitors were a group of single guys in their late 20s wanting to party nonstop. They’re great guys, but good grief, I thought I was back in college hanging out at a fraternity house when they were here. They were bonging beers off my balcony, watching mindless Will Farrell movies, grunting and scratching themselves.

OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad. They’re good guys, terrifically funny, even if most of their jokes are at the expense of each other. I was just struck by how boyish grown men can be when you put a bunch of them in a room together for an extended period of time!

It is interesting to see how different guests like to spend their vacation time. Some, like the guys, just want to be intoxicated the whole time.

Others, like my sister, want to bake their bodies to a golden brown in the sun each day. Then there are those who like to check out more of what Hampton Roads has to offer than just drinking and tanning.

Over the past couple of months, I have learned more about being a good hostess.

First, it is actually a good thing if I’m not home a portion of the time.

Then my guests get more of a chance to make themselves at home without having to worry about messing something up. That’s what I want for people, most of all — to raid my fridge, lounge on the couch and just be completely comfortable.

Second, I’ve been sure to provide each guest with a list of important phone numbers (work, for instance), directions to key places, and a list of good restaurants to check out. Most people like to explore while on vacation, but it helps to give them a little bit of direction.

But, I’ve also realized from having all these people around almost constantly just how much I miss that. I’d never really thought about it before, but growing up in a family of seven, it was rare to be home alone. There was always someone else around n a parent or sibling. Even if I did find myself alone, it usually wasn’t for long.

Having my apartment full of people I care about, who care about me, has made me feel more at home in my own home.

McKnight-Taylor is a News-Herald staff writer. Contact her at ashley,, or call 934-9617