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House Guest Or House Pest?

My friend Natalie arrived from Los Angeles last Thursday for a week’s visit. We hadn’t seen each oth

er in over a year and the conversation was non-stop, topics springing around like pinballs. In preparation for her arrival, the two of us created an itinerary that included dinners at ABC Kitchen and Café Gitane, strolls through the High Line and Riverside Park, sampling food at Zabar’s and Eataly, seeing Tatzu Nishi’s Discovering Columbus exhibit high up in the center of Columbus Circle, and even a weekend jaunt to Vermont where we ate the world’s best granola.

While hosting houseguests is a wonderful way to explore the city, having them stay in your private space can be daunting; especially for New Yorker’s whose apartments are already spatially challenged. Now that I’m living in 500 square feet I’ve become eligible for the “I have a friend I can stay with in NYC” register. And my friends have been signing up.

While there are tips for preparing your home for houseguests (i.e. have plenty of towels, fridge stocked, meals planned, etc.), there are other tips – often overlooked – for preparing your sanity.

1.    Be mentally ready. To do this, I get as much work done the week before as I can, so when I’m spending an afternoon (or two or three!) walking around the Union Square Farmer’s Market, riding the ferry to Staten Island or exploring Soho, I can enjoy it stress free.

2.    Be flexible. By flexible I don’t mean like the Texas HS cheerleader whose 35 consecutive backflips last week set a new Guinness World Record. I mean be willing to not only share your space, but everything in it. Even your socks.

3.    Let it go. If you have a hard time following Steps 1 and 2, then just follow Step 3. Letting it go allows you to get over the cramped quarters, the laundry scattered on the floor, and the hair in the tub. What’s the secret to doing this? Yoga breaths. Calming yoga breaths keep you centered and focused on the big picture. With each slow inhalation say to yourself, “It’s only temporary” as you remove wet towels left on the bed. Then say to yourself, “You love your friend” on the exhalation, while cleaning crumbs off the counter.

Remember, life is short, friendships are long, so what’s a few dirty dishes left in the sink?

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