Today’s manly gift selection consists of items to make entertaining large numbers of house guests easier. These items are manly, as having to put up with so many people invading one’s domain is stressful, very stressful, and while offering refuge in your castle is manly, breaking down and going on a killing spree is not, thus, anything that helps maintain the peace is manly.
The first, and most important, item needed for a high quality evacuation camp is sufficient bed space. People who have just had to abandon their homes and run for their lives are touchy enough, without the added pressure of sleeping in chairs or on the floor. That’s where a supply of these,
comes in. That’s an inflatable air bed, $10 at Target. Without the air, they fold up into a very modest space, and with air included they provide a surprisingly comfortable place to sleep. Don’t forget to pickup some cheap fitted sheets for them. We’ve had 15 or so for several years now, and they’ve survived serious use by hordes of college students, relatives, and dogs (who love these things,) without a single leak or puncture. They’re also handy to have on hand for sleep overs, camping trips, and those party guests who become unfit to drive home.
If you invest in the air beds, you’ll also need one of these,
which is a rechargeable pump to inflate them. It’s $22, and you can save a few bucks by getting the plug into the wall model, but freedom from extension cords is well worth the extra cash.
Even if you’re not going to provide full meals for your guests, just the extra sodas, beer, and milk will fill your refrigerator in no time, so you should have one or more of these,
on hand. That’s a 40 quart wheeled cooler which, for $50, will expand your chilled storage capacity enough to accommodate an extra 5 to 10 people, depending on their consumption rates. The wheels are important, as it will need to be moved around a lot to accommodate the changing uses of your floor space.
You will find it useful to entertain your guests, to keep the chances of armed revolt down to a minimum. One of the best ways to do this is by playing poker,
and this item has everything you need. It may seem a bit steep at $130 with shipping, but it’s got enough chips and cards to support a ten handed game, and packs away neatly into a briefcase sized container for easy storage.
You should also have one of these,
and other board games, available at Wal*Mart for around $20 per. If you suspect children may be invading your home, pick up a few that are intended for lower age groups.
One of the prime points of friction in an over full house is the shower. For some reason, even people who haven’t done anything but eat and play poker all day, insist on taking a daily shower. Thus, there will be a constant line waiting for their turn as soon as the water heats up again, so, unless you want to spend endless hours doing laundry constantly,
a few dozen extra towels will be worth their weight in gold. Not, of course, that you should pay that much. Get the cheapest white towels you can find. They need to be white because you’ll obviously want to add lots of bleach to the wash cycle. As an side item to this, you should keep a box or two of plastic lawn bags on hand. Then you can accumulate the wet towels and take them to a coin operated laundry. This will save wear and tear to your home appliances, and give some of your guests an excuse to get out of the house.
Assuming your guests drink coffee, a 12 cup brewing appliance isn’t going to be sufficient, so get one of these,
40 cup commercial monsters. At $55 it’s not that expensive, and they also come in handy at parties.
If you expect to be swamped by several lap top bearing guests, you must have one of these,
wireless Internet routers. This one is a Belkin Wireless G Plus MIMO Router, which for $40 is currently allowing over a dozen Internet addicted people to share my cable modem connection, with little or know noticeable degradation of service. I would also mention that, even though we have a fairly large house, which has two stories at the far end, no one has reported any problems connecting. In addition to those grand features, this post would have been delayed for days, as I would never have gotten enough time on my computer to put it together.
Finally, I have found that a standard kitchen is not really designed to cook for more than 10 people. One of these helps a great deal,
Which is a Breville Gourmet Grill, available at Williams-Sonoma for less than $300. Truly, even if you only throw the occasional large party, this is a must have. It folds up to about the size of a brief case, so it can be stored in a closet until needed. It functions as a flat grill on one side, and a ribbed grill on the other, so you can cook bacon and pancakes for a dozen or more, and keep you regular stove free for the eggs, grits, and gravy. It also works as a sandwich press, with enough room to cook two giant creations, or four lesser works of art at once. Even if your man never plugs it in, it has enough adjustment levers and knobs to make him happy just playing with it.