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For Our Beloved Guests

August 31, 2014

Castle Franconville Compliments of a 10-minute walk from the National Mall means The Fella and I get a lot of house guests. It makes sense to write down all the things they need to know about staying over.


  • To use the Sonos (the speaker thing) you can just turn it on and listen to whatever was last playing – probably Florence and the Machine or dubstep if it’s 2014. Or you can download the Sonos app to your mobile device. Follow the directions to connect to “The Dungeon” via the house wireless. Look through the Pandora options to play whatever you’d like. Don’t accidentally turn on any other Sonos device in the house. Then play that other device loudly. At 6am. While we’re trying to sleep. Unless you hate us.

The Bathroom

  • You can change the pressure in the shower by turning the shower head knob (the one that’s about 6 feet high). Please note that the hot water tank is right behind the bathroom wall. Niagara Falls-style water pressure can result, which means you can empty the water tank in 10 minutes. If you’re sharing the guest room, and you’re the first to shower, I pity you the abuse you’ll have to endure from your significant other for emptying the hot water tank.
  • The tub stopper works. You just have to turn it and lift it up and jiggle it a bit. Sometimes, it helps to buy it dinner if it won’t stay up, but it usually doesn’t come to that.
  • If you get a lot of water on the floor, please wipe it up with something from the closet just outside the bathroom. All the installers told us a wood floor in the bathroom was a terrible idea. I spent hours loading the cracks with wood filler so that water wouldn’t get into the floor and warp it. I intend to take pictures of my eternally-pristine bathroom floor and create a slideshow to play at the funeral of each and every one of those installers who gave me the “You’re-crazy-and-wrong-lady-but-all-I-can-do-is-mock-you-with-this-one-raised-eyebrow” look.


  • The closet just outside the bathroom has all kinds of things in it – more pillows, soaps, shampoos, toilet paper, a fan, a radio, some slippers, a humidifier, etc. Use whatever you’d like. Especially the slippers. The Fella really wants someone to use them. I suspect he weeps a single majestic tear every time a guest visits and the slippers go unused.
  • The closet by the head of the couch/bed has additional blankets in it and a space heater. Use whatever you’d like. You can also hang up your clothing in there. And if there’s a homeland security emergency, you can use the 7-day supply of water in the closet to bargain with me and The Fella for food from the second floor.

Temperature in the Guest Room

  • In the summer, the guest room and the lower floor of the house can get quite cold as we try to keep the top floor of the house cool. If you’re too cold, you can close the vent above the bookshelf. In the laundry room, you’ll find folding chairs next to the water heater. You can stand on one a folding chair to reach and close the vent above the bookshelf. Don’t try to stand on the bookshelves unless you want to find out if your insurance works in the emergency rooms of this country.

Noises From the Laundry Room

  • In the winter, if the noise of the humidifier is too much, you can turn it off. The humidifier control is in the laundry room at about five feet high facing the washer and dryer. Aren’t the washer and dryer pretty? They’re done in cherry red. That’s The Fella’s doing. Plain old white wasn’t good enough for him in a house with rooms painted green, blue, black, cream, white, and gray. He was totally right. Just turn the humidifier down to zero while you sleep, and turn it up to 40 when you wake.
  • In the summer, the humidifier is off, but the water pump that makes the noise is part of the system that helps to keep the house cool by pulling humidity out of the air. The water pump has to stay on, but isn’t it so nice and cool inside the house? And don’t bother trying to report us to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our house is super-insulated, the heat pump is new, we only put 800 miles a year on the car, and we don’t have any kids. We’re so freakin’ green, birds want to nest in our hair.

The Garden

  • The key for the back gate/garden is in the laundry room. Make sure you know where this key is in case of a fire. By the way, don’t start a fire in our house. If you are going to sit in the garden, be sure that when you come back inside the house, you use the key to lock the gate, use the latch to lock the sliding back door, engage the foot lock and reset the poison hex generator.

Random in the Guest Room

  • A white noise maker can be really handy. If you don’t want to use the one in the bathroom closet, you can download a white noise maker app to your phone. You’ll be able to drown out noises from car alarms, fire trucks, police sirens, construction and calls over the elementary school’s P.A. system for Miss Gillon’s class to come inside. However, try to avoid the app sounds that will give you nightmares (boat rocking, lightning storm, campfire) or cause you to go insane (water dripping, vacuum cleaner, cats in heat).
  • Please make sure air can flow unobstructed into the big vent between the bathroom door and the laundry room door. That vent is the air intake for half the house. It’s not like we’ll suffocate upstairs, but smells travel, so be kind. (If my brother’s reading this, I know what you’re thinking. Don’t do that, or you’ll be shacking up at the HoJo’s!)

Enjoy your stay in Southwest DC!

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 11, 2014 9:08 am

    I will definitely keep that in mind. I am tempted to write a little about my house. If you hear scratching noises outside, it is just the birds. If you hear them inside, it’s just the mice. Also, remember not to leave soap in the bathroom overnight or there will no soap in the morning anymore. (Rat thieves.) The water boiler in the bathroom that will provide with a whole bucket of hot water (and possibly two–this has never been tested) for your “bath” will take about 30 minutes to heat and 30 minutes to fill the bucket. Plan ahead. No, there is no fridge. The milk will last as long as it lasts. The dogs will not bite you. Except that adorable one who belongs to my landlord. She hates me. It’s possible she will also hate you. Don’t touch.

    Liked by 1 person

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