Q: We have relatives who asked to come visit us to watch the eclipse. We’re up to nine from different parts of the country who will arrive sometime Sunday. Our house is big, but it will be totally full. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking and freezing. We have also invited about forty local friends and co-workers to join us starting early Monday morning for a breakfast brunch, which we are setting up in the garage. Please provide your opinion on these questions:
▪ As the hostess, I have asked some of the local guests to bring a couple of extra lawn chairs to accommodate our out-of-town guests. And coolers as well to keep food and beverages in. My husband thinks that was tacky.
▪ As the hostess, I asked everyone to bring the right kind of glasses and/or box to watch the eclipse. Was that OK? He wanted me to go buy all the glasses, and I only bought a few.
▪ My husband ordered a port-a-potty because we only have a half-bath on the first floor in our house. It will be behind the garage. I think he should have ordered two because I don’t think it is appropriate for both sexes to use the same one. I think they will be uncomfortable.
▪ I am also going to set up a table next to the port-a-potty with water, soap, towels and sanitary wet wipes. He thinks we just need the wet wipes in a bowl at the beginning of the food line.
A: How wonderful of you to invite your out-of-state relatives into your home to watch this momentous event. That’s quite an undertaking, along with all the other guests coming on Monday. To answer your concerns:
▪ Asking some of your guests to bring extra lawn chairs and ice chests is not uncommon, and I am certain they do not have a problem doing so. I also feel it was appropriate for you to ask your guests to bring their own viewing glasses. Having a few extra on hand should be very sufficient.
▪ The port-a-potty: With only one restroom on the first floor of your house, ordering another restroom facility was appropriate. Most people have used this type facility when attending other outdoor events, and in some cases, the facility was no doubt for both female and male individuals. Those who feel uncomfortable using this type facility, still have the option of using your indoor facility.
▪ I feel it is most important for you to provide the table next to the port-of-potty with plenty of fresh water, soap dispensers, paper towels, and sanitary wipes. Be sure to have a large garbage bag-lined waste can next to the table. Having additional sanitary wipes available at the beginning of the food line is also a very good idea.
Best wishes for a wonderful day with your family and friends!
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Dianne Isbell at Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.