A couple of reasons to avoid cleaning for company


It never fails to amaze me how neurotic I can become when there’s company on the way.

I can practically hear the excessive eye rolling from my offspring and my spouse becomes strnagely stealth in his whereabouts. I begin with shoving unread mail and magazines piles in already-full cabinets, then tuck dog toys and half eaten rawhides under couch skirts. As if I can really hide the fact that we usually live in SQUALOR.

Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser emerges from the bowels under the sink, only to be reduced to grayish threads after every door has been vigorously scrubbed of greasy fingerprints. I obsess over the brown ring in the toilets, a “we live on a well with hard water” issue, and feel the urge to explain this phenomenon with gusto to guests heading to the loo, lest they I.D. us as the Bumkin family with the poopy commodes.

Karate-chopping pillows and hiding kitchen appliances are things you will never witness in my home on any given family night. This crazed state of “it must look perfect” only rears its head when we’ve opened our home to friends. Friends, who I might add, are as far from judgement and formality as you can get.

What created this desire to have it all pin perfect? What image am I hoping to project and why am I stuck in this Fake Martha Stewart hell?

There has been a fair amount self diagnosing on this issue. I think, like with all personal crossroads dilemmas…

Fear of appearing disheveled and unorganized.

Fear of being discovered of my artsy girl ways, with all of trappings of being a bit spacey.

It’s a vapid “you can have it all” projection that really, when I look closely, is a total lie. I know better than to project anything but the truth, but somehow entertaining deems void of this conviction. The moment my exasperated 8-year-old proclaimed that “it doesn’t all have to be perfect, Mom” as stuffed the entire menagerie of Noah’s Ark and bulging box of 1,000 crayolas under her trundle bed. I was overcome with embarrassment—brought on by a precocious 8-year-old, no less. When had I become this shove-it-under-the-freshly-vacuumed-rug thrower of parties?

When had I crossed over into the Land of “I Am My House”?

I haven’t let it go completely, but just being aware of this strange (disturbing) tendency has helped to squelch it. Although it pains me, I will disregard the tangled knots of iPhone cords and headphones loitering by the outlet when the dinner for ten is cooking on the stove. I will only clean the powder bath sink once, refraining from wiping every droplet in an inch of its life with a Cham Wow.

I guess I really am my house…all mixed up with proof of a life well lived.

How ’bout you? Are you a come-on-over-but-I’m-not-promising-to-serve-water-in-a-clean-glass type of entertainer or are you a little Chihuahua-ish comme moi?


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3 Responses to A couple of reasons to avoid cleaning for company

  1. Kath says:

    I guess this is one of the reasons we are friends… I am you!
    As I sit responding to this, there is a solitary sock on the counter next to me (albeit a clean one), a receipt, a to-do list and a catalogue touting the latest snd greatest Halloween treats, not to mentionas the water ring and crumbs from this morning’s breakfast. No company expected today, so I expect I’ll go take a peak at the catalogue before running a cloth over the counter. If the doorbell rings first however… Well, you know the drill. Miss you Lar – and I hope I’ll never be someone you never need to clean up for!! (Welcome back

  2. Marianne Scker says:

    So happy that you are back with your blog.I always love reading all about your
    imaginative insights. I’ve really missed you. Lots of love to you and your wonderful
    Kisses, Marianne

  3. Mary W. Smith says:

    I have obviously missed something. What’s a Cham Wow?
    And wait till you’re older. The whole syndrome will disappear.
    Your mother.

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