When Malcolm and I married, we knew we wanted to move out of California, only we didn’t know exactly where. My only condition: it had to be west of the Mississippi. Malcolm’s only condition: it had to have home-delivery for the New York Times. The dart landed on Santa Fe, New Mexico, a southwest tourist mecca. Tucked in tight against the Sangre de Cristos Mountain Range, Santa Fe is host to a wide range of culture, several museums, great restaurants, outdoor sports and lots of shopping opportunities from expensive art and indian jewelry to cheap T-shirts with silk screened scenes depicting the Southwest. The lure of Santa Fe not only brings thousands of travelers and visitors annually, it also brings lots of family and friends, guests who arrive for mini get-away vacations.
And while we open the doors of our home, welcoming our friends, we always need to preface their visit with a few words of warning: YOU MUST LOVE DOGS…… AND DOG HAIR! Oh yeah, and a very fat cat named Gordita.
What we really mean is, you must love OUR dogs and not be allergic to cats. House guests are not allowed to be upset if their kicked off shoes ends up outside in the dog pen, if they discover they are missing a sock days after they go home, or if there is black dog hair clinging to their pants leg and to their shirt and to their jacket and to everything else they own. Throughout their stay, the odds are high they will pull a stray strand of dog hair from their wineglass, or see a puff of canine curls floating down and around. Malcolm and I chuckle to ourselves when we catch sight of a guest discretely pulling out a hidden hair off their lips. We advise our friends to shut their bedroom door tight at night or they could very well end up with one to three animals curled up next to them, sharing not only the soft mattress but more dog hair. We regularly invest in lint rollers, placed in every room for convenience. Even I do a roller-run-through on my slacks every morning before leaving for work, checking for dog hair.
After several years, we have filtered our guest list down to three categories: Those that LOVE our girls, keeping their bedroom door wide open, hoping for a midnight cuddle and don’t mind the stray dog hair; those that don’t mind our dogs, but are careful with their shoes and keep the lint roller in hand; and those that stay in a hotel.