I love to have people come and visit me in my home, but I must confess that I have a secret motivation beyond the pleasure that visiting with my friends brings me. I love the shot of panicked adrenaline that comes right after they say “I’ll see you in an hour”. An hour to whip my house into company ready mode. I zip around ticking off the most potentially embarrassing things first–cleaning the guest bathroom, washing the dishes (or more likely hiding them all in the dishwasher and the oven), grabbing laundry baskets and swooping all the papers off of the table and throwing in all the shoes that have accumulated in the foyer over a week that would have you believing a centipede lives here. I scan my domain. Oh my gosh! I pick up the fallen popcorn and tossed magazines that tell the tale of a Friday night spent couch bound and snacking while bingeing my latest series on Netflix. And those cookies! Yikes! Have to hide those–I’ve been working out a lot and haven’t lost very much weight yet; who can understand why, I innocently ask. And God bless my friend that I can always count on to be late. Once I am in scampering mode I keep on scampering getting more and more done until she shows up. It is such a wonderful motivation to clean, instead of reading that extra chapter in my book and leaving the mess for “later”.
This is a life-long pattern for me and it hasn’t always worked out too well. I remember the day that I was confirmed and a nun came to our house for a visit. Oh, there was lots of cleaning and straightening going on before she arrived. Later we were sitting in the living room visiting with her when my father started wandering around the living room asking where his book was that he was reading. He wouldn’t be put off by my subtle pleas to just drop it please!!! and I had to shamefacedly go and retrieve it from a cabinet on the basement landing where I had shoved it with anything else that I could carry down there.
Now perhaps a certain measure of this cleaning up for company is normal, but I even have different levels. Future sister in law coming? That adrenaline panic will start days before her visit and every thing will be cleaned to within an inch of my life. My good friend coming over? I will definitely still clean the bathroom and hide the snacks especially since she is my workout partner! And my daughter? Well she’ll be lucky if I don’t give her a basket of socks and towels to fold while she’s here.
I used to work with a woman who was from Eastern Europe. I’m sure she wouldn’t understand my system of panicked pretend cleaning. She operates on a schedule. The last time I was talking to her she said that Friday nights were for cleaning bathrooms, and proceeded to rhapsodize over how much she loved to scrub the showers. None of these daily shower sprays for her! She even spent time telling us which cleaner was the best product–it had to have bleach in it to meet her standards. She even has children unless you may be thinking that things will relax when she has a family. I definitely can’t relate, and I think I’m jealous of someone that organized and clean.
So thank you so much to all my friends for doing me the honor of coming to visit me. Your visits are a treasure, and they also keep me from appearing on an episode of Hoarders. (Just kidding!) So come on and ring my bell. Just don’t look behind any closed doors!