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Has your country home been converted to an inn by people you scarcely know? Can friendship withstand a weekend stay with homeowners who long to be alone? The house-guest experience often presents a daunting challenge. But this agreement will help ensure a tiff-free time.

AGREEMENT, entered into this ________, 20__ by reluctant Hosts and would-be Guests.

WHEREAS, Hosts told Guests that they should sleep over someday;

WHEREAS, Hosts were drinking at the time and said this only to be polite;

WHEREAS, Guests know Hosts didn't really mean it, but won't let something like that stand in their way;

WHEREAS, Guests have announced their impending weekend visit, and Hosts can't figure out how to get out of it.

NOW, THEREFORE, Hosts and Guests hereby agree to the following house-guest guidelines:

1. Guests shall consist of one husband and one wife. They shall not arrive with children, friends, or roaches.

2. Guests shall come bearing delicacies including, but not limited to, smoked salmon, duck pate, canolis, marzipan, and basmati rice, such items being their price of admission.

3. In return for Guests' commitment not to bring their cat, Hosts assure them that their house is rodent-free. Additionally, they indemnify Guests against any mental or physical injury which may occur in the event a mouse scampers by during their visit. Such indemnification shall not extend to squirrels, raccoons, muskrats, wild boars, or any other wildlife that happens to wander in.

4. Hosts hereby advise and warn Guests that sundry insect-type creatures inhabit their home and the surrounding area such as giant furry wood spiders which may look like tarantulas but, to the best of Hosts' knowledge, probably aren't poisonous. Assassin bugs, deer ticks, dragon flies, gypsy moths, killer bees and snapping beetles may also appear from time to time. In consideration of Hosts' agreement to furnish sufficient supplies of insect repellent, citronella candles and mosquito netting, Guests hereby waive any claim they may have with respect to bites, stings, nibbles, and/or other trauma sustained in the probable event that such precautions fail to work.

5. Hosts guaranty Guests a rollicking weekend of rowing, sailing, swimming, hiking, mountain climbing, and other country-type activities. In consideration of said promise, Guests represent that they do not suffer from hay fever, fear of heights, aqua-phobia, or bad feet, or if they do suffer from same, Guests shall suppress all urges to grumble, gripe, or whine.

6. The phrases "It's so quiet, I couldn't sleep," "The crickets kept me up," and "That damned rooster woke me at 5:00 a.m.," shall be strictly prohibited. Moreover, sleeping difficulties shall not entitle Guests to raid the refrigerator, listen to heavy metal, or watch infomercials in the middle of the night. Sleepless Guests may, however, leave the house for a predawn dip, provided that they remove all sand particles and snapping turtles prior to reentry.

7. Guests shall not abuse the furniture, place phone calls to Japan, or treat Hosts like servants. Guests shall be expected to perform minor chores such as dish drying and setting the table. However, Guests shall not have to vacuum unless they misbehave.

8. Guests acknowledge that they have no special dietary requirements. They further agree not to utter any of the following during the full term of their visit:
(a) "Didn't I mention that I can't eat salt?"
(b) "I'm a vegetarian, so I'll just munch on some lettuce."
(c) "Wine? Good lord, no. I gave it up last year. But you go ahead. It's your liver."
(d) "Do you have any idea how much cholesterol is in that stuff?"
(e) "Dessert? No thanks. I'm on a diet. And could you eat yours in another room?"

9. The visit shall not exceed 36 hours except in the event of a natural disaster. Tornados, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions shall entitle Guests to a 24 hour extension, unless they snore, make love too noisily, or hog the bathroom, in which case they may be thrown out any time on 30 minutes notice.

10. Finally, and most important, Hosts and Guests agree that this is a one time deal, and that they will never, ever do it again.

SIGNATURES: ____________ ____________ __________ _____________

© Madeleine Begun Kane. All Rights Reserved.
1st Published Hysteria Magazine

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