Domestic Engineer Guys get to establish most of the houseguest rules (after attaining sign-off from their live-in ATM). So, if you ever pass our way, here are the houseguest rules* for the Frohreich Funhouse.
—Arrival gifts are always a nice touch. Here are several suggestions:
A really good bottle of Syrah
A really good bottle of red wine (not pinot noir)
Belgium chocolate, unopened
An R-rated cook’s apron—full length
—The first morning here, guests will have to sit through a TV operations class.
—Changing the channel while the cook is in the kitchen and the football game is in his line of sight makes the cook cranky.
—The recliner in the family (TV) room is off-limits—always—unless PJ is in it.
—Guests must pat the dog at least twice a day, and once a day play fetch with his spittle-soaked toys. Walking him once a day with the pooper-scooper earns future invites. Guests with allergies are not excused. Tyveks, gloves, and masks will be provided. Any guest Dutch does not approve of doesn’t get invited back.
—If the stay is longer than a couple of days, the washer and dryer are available, but Domestic Engineer Guy, aka Laundry Man, is not.
—Anything in the refrigerator or pantry is fair game, except for leftover filet-of-beef or rack-of-lamb. Open bar is a 24/7 policy, though 5 PM is the preferred start of social hour.
—Interrupting Domestic Engineer Guy in the morning with trivial pursuits while he is engrossed in the daily crossword puzzle makes him cranky.
—Special diet or food and beverage preferences must be emailed to Domestic Engineer Guy at least three days prior to arrival. If your face looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy (only blushing), after you consume salmon, it would be good for the cook to know.
—The cook is an adequate mixologist (except for Mai Tais and Cosmopolitans). Special requests will be stocked with advance notice.
—Guests staying a week or more are expected to toss some jack into the kitty. It is the gesture, not the amount that matters.
—Guests are not expected to participate in any of the household duties. Helping clear the dinner table and stacking the dishwasher is fine. Unloading the dishwasher is a no-no.
—Domestic Engineer Guy is not a barista. But his coffee is better than Starbucks.
—Guest don’t have to love everything the cook prepares, but if it wasn’t on your this-makes-me-vomit list, then you are expected to eat at least half a portion. Moans and accolades are permitted. Trust me, you will eat better than at most restaurants.
—Offers to help in the kitchen will be rebuffed. But it’s okay to ask. The cook has enough trouble organizing himself. The cook usually does not need a sous chef. Besides, he is more of a shoo chef—as in get out of his kitchen.
—Chauffeur duties are free and available, though not unlimited. But you have to humble yourself and be seen in a 12-year old, bottom-of-the-line Saturn.
—Sitting at the kitchen dinette with an adult beverage, regaling the cook with stories is expected.
—You don’t have to make your bed each morning, unless Domestic Engineer Guy has let you sleep in his office, but at least keep the door closed.
—The kitchen is open for lunch, but the cook is not on duty. Provisions will be provided.
—Showing up for dinner five minutes before it is served makes the cook cranky, and not a good way to begin an evening. The cook is flexible. He just needs advance notice about the day’s plans.
—Sleep in as long as you like, but Domestic Engineer Guy is not a cook-on-call in the morning.
—Departure gifts are not necessary but adding us to your will, will earn future invites, access to filet-of-beef and rack-of-lamb leftovers, and passes on doggie duty and wine gifts.
—The number one rule is to enjoy yourself. You are our guest.
* None of these rules apply to PJ’s nephew. He keeps the computers humming and shoots and produces Domestic Engineer Guy’s YouTube videos. He can do any damn thing he pleases.