Freaking dinner guests out with a fake to-do list


We use two dry erase boards stuck to the side of the fridge for our to-do list . Since they face the dining room table, and noticing that guests sometimes read this list, my husband wondered if we should remove it so they don’t see what chores we’ve been putting off. I responded with something to the effect of, “That’s a good thought, honey, but how about we do the exact opposite of that?”

Being a fabulously agreeable fellow, the fake to-do list was born.

Dry erase maker in hand, here’s what we came up with, leaving on a couple of our actual chores just to throw our friends off a bit.

to do list 005

We had two couples over for dinner, and without seeing him read the list, one of the gentleman made a comment about something being as difficult as weaning grandma off crack.

One woman, being particularly un-fond of reptiles, said in a quiet, shaky voice, “There’s a snake in your house?”

I was hoping they’d read the second item and start questioning their seating choice.

Soon they were all reading the list and laughing, asking questions about the neighbor’s dog and what beef we have with it. (None, honest!)

As much fun as they had reading it, I think we had even more fun writing it. The grandma one was my favorite. How about you?

Have you ever done anything similar to freak out your guests?


69 responses »

  1. If you have a high tolerance for embarrassment of both yourself and your friends, the best way is to get them to use their imagination. Like, arrange for a 1-sided phone conversation in their presence, someone phoning you and saying nothing, while you have a rehearsed response that includes details that are suggestive without being revelatory. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it…oh…no, we don’t have a lawyer, but…4 separate times, huh? In broad daylight? With all 3 of them? What do you mean, up to date on their shots? I’ll check, but we have company right now, gotta go.”

    Did I ever tell you the one about the bad word that only men know?


      • OK. A bunch of us used to gather at a certain establishment that no longer exists, for unrelated reasons, but it became pretty much just social. One of them was David Lindelof, whose son Damon the screen writer you may have heard of, but David was possibly the smartest person I ever knew. We were talking about nasty language, and the general consensus was that a certain word was the most taboo word in English today, but you already know that one, I’m sure. I agreed but said, “Well, except for…” and I whispered some bahbahbah in David’s ear. He ran with it instantly, nodding his head in agreement “of course”.

        My friend Nadine immediately became curious about this word. “Should we tell her?” We kept up the pretense for some time before I felt too bad for her and revealed that there was no such word. It took a lot to convince her of that, though. I’m not completely sure she believes the disclaimer to this day.


  2. Well, I’ve never done that on purpose, but I do recall one time when I told my guest that I’d cut the pizza as soon as I finished putting a new blade on the table saw. When I saw their faces I said, “No, I don’t cut pizza on a table saw – that’s what the band saw is for as it has a thinner blade.”

    Odd, but they didn’t stay long that evening…


  3. OMG! This is hilarious! Way better than the little slip of paper my MIL put in the tiny drawer of the spice rack (it said “Nosy!”). We’ve got dry-erase boards on the fridge for the same reason–lists. I’ll have to remember this for the next family gathering. What a hoot!


  4. I love it! This is exactly the sort of thing my friends would pull. The one that made me laugh the most though was ‘fix printer’ in the midst of so many hysterical other tasks.


      • That was part of the pro’s touch. You need some “straight” lines like that to make it funny for us, as well as to maintain the credibility for the naΓ―ve viewer. The progression re the neighbor’s dog was also excellent, and supplies an artistic touch that says these people have been too busy lately to erase some of the superseded items. Plus one that’s useless, just to make you think somebody’s compulsive: “Varnish under sink.” The “crack for Grandma” one is brilliant too, because even someone who doesn’t believe Grandma’s being supplied with crack cocaine might take it as family code language for something else being supplied to her.


  5. This is great advertising for your books, whether it’s a true story or not. I’m one of those readers who’s skeptical about lots of autobiographic material, but to me that’s part of the charm. If it’s true, that’s funny, if it’s fiction, that’s a testament to the author’s ability.

    Take for instance “The Rocket Boys” (“October Sky”). The part about having patronized a moonshiner to get anhydrous alcohol is just not credible, when they could’ve gotten denatured alcohol thru the hardware store. I asked Homer Hickam on a newsgroup, approximately, “Come on — you drank the stuff, didn’t you?” He never answered, but I suspect whole cloth fiction in that detail rather than a cover story, though I don’t doubt he knew one or more local moonshiners like that one.

    Similarly, did Lincoln, Baigent, or Leigh (but especially Henry Lincoln) really believe the Priory of Sion hoax, or were they just playing along? Either way, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” is a great read.

    When I read “The Great Train Robbery”, I assumed the “fiction” disclaimer to be merely pro forma, and that it actually was reconstructed from trial transcripts. Then in an interview on David Brudnoy’s show, Michael Crichton told of how in the making of the movie, someone actually brought him the transcripts, which he said he hadn’t even known existed! I phoned in to congratulate him on having taken me in. (It helped that the person who’d recommended the book to me apparently also believed it.)


  6. Absolutely fantastic! Find snake in house is great (we have a snake in our house so I don’t think the guests would be too surprised LOL). Get grandma off crack is my favourite! You two must have had so much fun doing this πŸ˜€


      • Yes – it’s an olive python (so we named it ‘Olive’.) It’s now in the ceiling so I feel sorry for the next trades-person that has to venture up there to fix anything πŸ˜€


      • It climbed up the drainpipe and slid into the ceiling space. I just happened to see it one night when I was sitting outside. Hubby and I tried to stop it, but it slid up into the ceiling space. Then I saw it again in the bathroom a few months back. We tried to catch it again and it slid back into the ceiling again. It’s about 15 feet long. At least we have no mice or rats in the house! It did freak me out at first – but as long as it stays out of my bed I’m okay with it πŸ˜‰


  7. Too funny. My favorite is the snake. I’m actually surprised I don’t have a snake in my house right now. We have one living in the cement under the porch and the kids have a very bad habit of leaving the door wide open. I’ve had the gecko lizards get in before, but that’s kind of normal, and I guess it doesn’t freak me out too badly. But I really don’t want to find a snake to find his way inside.


      • There is a cement slab that comes right up against the front of our house. The door to get in the house is on the side of the house, not the front. When we want to go inside, we climb a couple steps onto the deck and go in the door. The deck wraps around the house along the side and along the back. The snake is always slithering along the edge of the cement, where it ends and the steps start. To get to it’s hole, the snake slithers underneath the deck steps, and into a hole underneath the cement slab. (Hope that makes sense.)

        So it’s always hanging out around our door. I’m always stepping over it when I go in and out. It has slithered over Hubby’s foot before. It probably would never climb those few stairs. It’s a harmless garter snake, but a bit creepy nonetheless.


      • Wow. So it’s like your pet. Do your kids love it? It certainly will keep mice out of your house, I should think. Glad it’s harmless! I’d be creeped out, too, but I might eventually grow fond of seeing it. I’d always be on the look out for it, that’s for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

    • That’s hilarious. Your coworkers are lame. My sister worked in a kitchen. She added an extra e to the label on the shelf for bowls. Her boss noticed. Made her change it. πŸ™‚ But not before others enjoyed it.


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