This week has been pretty busy because I have company coming. I can't speak to how guest preparation is handled in other parts of the country, but I can definitely speak to how it is handled in the South. We consider "company" to be something that demands a clean house, a planned menu, and some special touches to make our guests feel welcome. After all, if someone is taking the time to come to our home to visit us, then the least we can do is make it a pleasant experience. I mean, our "Southern Hospitality" is legendary, right?
My sister, niece, nephew and mother will be here on Friday. I have known this for the past six months. About six weeks ago, I started actually preparing to get this home in shape. I've been through drawers that needed to be cleaned out. I've cleaned and weeded out the spice cabinet, pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. The cabinets have been wiped down, the laundry room has been reorganized, and I cleaned off my scrapbooking table after months of having it look like a memorial shrine without the candles. I suppose it was a shrine of sorts...to my procrastination.
I even cleaned out Brian's room and removed all items that he has not cared about in the current decade. All of the school uniforms, old magazines, candy from Halloween (yes, it is almost July) and at least seven years' worth of air soft bb pellets were scooped up and sent off in many, MANY garbage bags.
But it still isn't done, of course.
Never mind that we spend three weeks screaming at everyone in the house who actually lives here full-time because they leave their flip flops in the family room or a bowl with dried Cheerios in the sink instead of the dishwasher. I suppose I've acted like this hasn't been happening since at least 1994 with Brian. While Big Dave is naturally neat...he has a few bad habits that have been giving me the feeling that I'm living in a sequel of "Groundhog Day."
Every night, I will remove a hat or visor from the living room couch and take it to his closet. After he does the dishes, they will be left to the right side of the sink to "dry." I will have to put them away if I want the countertop cleaned off. And speaking of clean counters...after I recently got the laundry room countertop cleaned off for the first time since Thanksgiving 2010, Big Dave decided that our kitchen countertops were too cluttered...so he moved our appliances into that nice clean space. He has also decided that we don't need our toaster anymore since it is redundant (we have a toaster oven as well). I did manage to keep the can opener even though more often than not, he will use the manual one that is in the drawer. No, I didn't kick him in the head over being retentive about his countertops while cluttering up mine...but I did think about it.
My refrigerator is stacked up with all sorts of options for our dining pleasure. It is also full of styrofoam containers of Brian's half-eaten food. He hasn't had an appetite in a week, and that means that he has been eating a little of this or a little of that and leaving the rest in the refrigerator.
We've also had Big Dave's parents here this week visiting from Auburn. They are staying in their camper out in the driveway. They do this every so often. Not frequently enough to get the Homeowners' Association all fired up...which is good. Only in the South would your in-laws come to stay with you...but not come to stay with you at the same time. I'm still on meal duty and we do have time to visit each night...and they get the run of the house during the day when we aren't here. On the other hand, the addition of the camper may have jacked our White Trash Score up to the "Danger, Will Robinson!" level...but hopefully not since we did get rid of the 1998 Ford Explorer that occupied the same spot for the past 2 1/2 years.
In three days, none of this will matter. I will have pulled it off...or I'll be apologizing every other breath. My sister doesn't really care, and my mother seriously doesn't either. They are just happy that they have somewhere to come where someone else is putting meals on the table and getting up with little people at the buttcrack of dawn. That "someone else" is...me. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I don't know why I am unable to get my house straightened out...but I think it is because we are constantly evolving as a family. Jill has been coming and going as the school calendar dictates for the past three years. She sometimes comes home fairly often and then other times seems to be content to be far, far away in her ivory tower in Tuscaloosa. This July, she will bring home a lot of "stuff" that she has had in her apartment as she is moving into the sorority house where there is far less room than she has become accustomed to...and far more people. She's actually pretty excited about having a lot of people around...and the convenience of being able to just walk out the front door and up the street to class will be a huge bonus. I think she'll have a fun year.
Dealing with her load o'stuff in late July will NOT be fun.
I guess I'd better get back to doing something productive so that I can stress less and enjoy more. I also have to put together an Easter egg hunt for my nephew and niece and we're having Cinco de Mayo, their birthdays, Valentines' Day as well as the Fourth of July while they are here. Why not? It keeps us all entertained.
And honestly...isn't that the main idea? Just having time together to enjoy each other's company? I think so. But it sure seems nicer when I don't have to apologize for the house looking like we've been watching endless reality shows instead of trying to pull it together.
So, off I go to sweep up the 63 crickets who have shown up since this morning, put away the dishes "drying" on the side of the sink, move Jill's textbooks that I haven't made time to load on Amazon.com, and the picture of the kids when they were little that is sitting here needing a frame.