Guests can turn you into queen of clean

This weekend I finally hung the eight family photos I reframed this summer, after I washed the wall behind them. Yesterday I shampooed my living room rug. Today I painted the coffee table, painted a section of the kitchen wall and cabinets, went to three stores to buy special food, hung up a clock and some other general décor around my house.
What has finally inspired all this forward movement on projects I have been ignoring for months? Guests. Yep, all I really need to get things done around here is to have a party coming up in three days. Preparation these days requires far more than just cleaning the house. The neglect to my domicile has transcended vacuum and mop.
But there is nothing like allowing visitors, even my old friends in the neighborhood, into my home for a gathering to kick me into high gear. My husband is always stunned by the level of what he likes to call my “cleaning frenzy” once I get inspired.
So far I have run on strong tea and anticipation about the upcoming party, but tomorrow I expect to require my fall-back fuel, a large soy latte. Once I suck down one of those, I basically break the sound barrier with the speed of my scurrying about. It is in this mode that I am likely to be found ironing the tablecloth, polishing that piece of brass, vacuuming cobwebs from my highest ceiling, making three trips to the store for various things I suddenly remember I need (but can never think of when I’m there) and baking the dessert.
I have to be a little bit careful, or I find myself slipping into the obsessive zone. I’ve been known to suddenly be convinced that if I don’t edge the lawn, wash my car, dust the screen doors and take a toothbrush to the kitchen grout, the whole neighborhood will label me a slattern. Years of experience has actually taught me that few people really care what you house looks like. However, I will not live long enough to outgrow my mother’s voice in my head, explaining that guests should be treated special and your reputation hinges on it. This means making your house spotless, welcoming and comfortable.
It’s in my DNA, I think. I am in the minority these days, but the cold truth is when I come to your house for a party, I don’t want to cook, schlep, shop or deal with clean up. Conversely, when you are invited to my house for a party, I do not expect you to lift a finger. You are my guest and it is my turn to treat you to a little leisure and luxury and my house must be visually lovely to accomplish that.
I know. I know. It’s unlikely any guest is going to whip out the white glove and check my mantle for dust. But you never know. My mom just said so.


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