I'm a Lady and so are you. . . .

Alright then:

Your homework from the last installment of Mrs. Spit the Etiquette Freak was to tell me about your sticky situations with guests. I was going to try to answer them.


Please go ahead and put up the button!

Now, mostly speaking, your questions revolve around what to do when people don't play by the rules.

Guests that won't leave
Sigh. I wish it was a guest. Mostly it's my mother. She won't get off the phone, and she won't leave. I was reading Dear Prudence last year, and she made the comment that the thing about terribly rude people is that they don't mind being rude. In other words, it doesn't bother them to be rude, even if it does bother the heck out of us.

So, I have learned, that when someone is being rude, you need to be, well, not rude, but far less concerned about sparing their feelings. For the guests that won't leave, or in Excavator's case, the MIL that stays to dinner, without actually staying to dinner, you need to say:
"I'm sorry, it's been a wonderful night, but it's time for me to go to bed. Let me get your coat." And then dear reader, you stand up, walk over to the coat rack and hold out their coat. Make your responses as short as possible. Yes or No. Open the door for them. Close it firmly when greater than 75% of them are out the door.

Now, I can hear you. I can hear you saying, "Mrs. Spit, that's rude." No. It's firm. You aren't calling them names, you aren't saying terrible things about them, you are reinforcing that it's your house, they have overstayed their welcome, and you need them to leave. Seems a lot less painful than grinning and bearing it.

Disaster Comes to Dinner
Martha asked about what you do when you have a disaster on your hands, right before a dinner party. Mrs. Spit knows all about this. She is, after all, a walking disaster. The answer is "grin and bear it". Tell your guests the truth, but make light of it. No one wants to feel as if they are imposing after your disaster. Minimize it. (I am assuming that your disaster is along the lines of the garbarator exploding, and not your near and dearest losing an arm). Try not to carry on about it, move on. You can complain to the internets or your spouse, or both, in the morning. There's nothing more annoying than the person who says "well, we were going to have prime rib, but the garborator exploded" all evening. Once is sufficient.
If the disaster necessitates a change in plans, because the prime rib became flaming hockey puck rib as a result of an oven (or owner!) malfunction, shrug your shoulders, cook pasta or call out for pizza. Your dinner will be memorable, if not for the reasons that you hoped!

Just Very Strange Things
And finally dear readers, when someone brings their cat to dinner, and expects to feed it off the table, that's not an etiquette issue, that's a health issue. You aren't being catty and it won't be a catastrophe if you say no.
Your Homework:
Is to invite someone to your house in the next 3 weeks. Dinner, Dessert, Tea - there must be food involved somehow. After that, it's up to you.
Report back on February 3rd!