It always seems that the days leading up to my parents coming down to visit are absolutely hectic. Our schedules become jam packed with stuff to do and places to be. Making sure the house is neat and tidy come second to the other things we need to do. Clothes pile up, dishes remain dirty and our toilets suddenly become saintly as they have a halo ring around the bowl.
Exhausted, we finally take a look at the calendar and realize that my parents will arrive tomorrow. When pressed up against the clock there are some jobs that absolutely need to be done while other tasks can wait. The problem arises when Jenn has one idea of what is a ‘must do’ and I have a completely different perspective.
For some reason Jenn does not see how critically important things such as alphabetizing the CDs, lining up the books on the shelf properly according to size and making the pantry look like a grocery store display are to the overall aesthetic of the house. Instead she chooses to do the laundry so my parents have fresh towels, clean the floors, and catch those pesky dust bunnies. She has the ability to see the big picture while I stay paralyzed by the details.
At midnight Cinderella might have turned from a princess back into a cinder maid but once the clock strikes twelve I turn into a frantic cleaning Nazi. Obviously Jenn isn’t keen to this approach which, combined with our stress levels, makes for some very heated discussions about the number of sheets of paper towels needed to clean a window (this is a hypothetical example of course as the answer is clearly three).
Eventually, the house is clean and we get over it. Like zombies we go to bed and swear that next time will be different yet, it never is. I have to admit I wasn’t jumping for joy at first over the realization that I’d be spending 30 straight days focusing on mastering the art of domestication. This should come as no big surprise to anyone who knows me. Spatulas and the Swiffer Sweeper were foreign objects in the hands of this caveman up until a few days ago.
Knowing that my parents would visit this month helped me warm up to the idea of domestication. It provided incentive to learn from the mistakes of my past and develop new behaviors. Still, fighting the urge not to freak out as we got the house ready for our guests was extremely difficult. I realized that my normal reaction is caused by this desire to want the house to be spotless or at least appear that way. Rather than creating a ‘lived in’ environment, I was hoping to achieve a stunning museum status where all the kids toys were not only put in their place, but had a red velvet rope across that area so onlookers could gaze in amazement while at a safe distance.
You don’t have to tell me I am neurotic nut job, I already know. Luckily, I was able to catch myself this time before the insanity reached any extreme levels. What brought me comfort was knowing there was no possible way my mom had any more space in her luggage to pack that white glove for the house inspection. Her bags were filled to the brim with gifts for the girls. The fact is that a white glove doesn’t exist. My folks weren’t here to see the house. They came down to see us. Wait a second, who am I kidding? They’re here to spoil those grandbabies.