My mom is coming down from St. Paul for the book release tomorrow. I can't wait to see her and spend a little quality down-time catching up on things. She'll be staying with us, which works out really good having Sarah away at school in Minnesota. She'll have her own room and space which is something I always appreciate when we go up to Minnesota.
But there's a down side to having anyone stay in your house, and it has nothing to do with them.
It's the preparation that goes into getting ready for them. Now if you're like me when I stay in someone else's house, I am usually so grateful that they're hosting, I don't worry about what state their accommodations are in. I'd like to think that's what they think when they're staying with me, but I can't.
Because I'm concerned they're looking into all of my drawers, closets and unvacuumed areas. They're checking my medicine cabinet for expired meds, looking in horror at my "junk" drawer where only I know that I can find both a sewing needle and Super Glue. They're looking at the shelf over the basement stairs that I'm pretty sure only gets dusted when "company" comes.
So my wife and I spend the week leading up to an arrival getting the house in shape. Those of you who have been here know we live fairly modestly. Things are simple, not a lot of clutter. But still, one gets comfortable in their castle. Over time, things slip. Piles stack up. Demons get shoved into closets. Things get Jerry-rigged to make them work for a time...that sometimes turns into a long time. Sometimes forever.
The cleaning and organizing is always necessary of course. We tend to get overly comfortable in our domiciles and things tend to get lax. We've joked that we should have people over every few months just to keep us honest. Things that easily get overlooked like, say, tub caulk for example, suddenly become glaringly urgent causes to be dealt with.
There's laundry and raking and vacuuming, and dusting, and reorganizing and repairing and straightening, and cleaning, and painting. Oh, and don't forget the car. It too has to be vacuumed and the windows de-smudged. Because, Lord knows, a smudgy window can only mean the beginning of hoarding issues.
And let's not forget the garage. It should be tidied so that it looks like you always put things back right where you took them from (and usually cleaner than when you took them.)
While my wife has gotten much better at letting things go and just getting the big stuff done, I still struggle a bit with the every little thing. Usually by the time the people arrive, we are both exhausted and ready to drop in our tracks.
It's a sickness, really.
Because when you think about it, people are coming to see YOU, not your house. They want to sit with you and laugh, not take notes about the cobweb you missed in that far reaching place. If they love you enough to stay in your house, they probably are capable of extending a little grace for that Cheerio you missed underneath the refrigerator.
And so, at the moment, our house is in pretty good shape. There's some obvious glaring issues that I see that I just hope get overlooked. My mom is pretty easygoing when it comes to this kind of thing too. We both know our family's history in a household of six kids. We both understand that Slipcover Chic never goes out of style. Like us, she's had many yakking cats and shedding dogs over the years, so if anyone understands, it's her.
So the plan is to let it slide and enjoy her company.
Right after I vacuum one last time tonight.