House Guests

Why does the cleaning instinct kick in whenever women expect house guests? What is it that makes each of us turn into teeth-clenching, grumbling, scowling bitches? Something in our chromosomes? Something the government has put into the water that only affects women this way? Maybe it's in the fast food we crave after a cleaning spree that drives the rage...

As I find myself expecting my first long-term house guest to arrive this weekend, all of the behaviors of my mother came out in my cleaning rampage. I snapped at my husband, yelled at the cats, kicked the dog (ok, not really) - - but I became Evil Cleaning Woman of Doom! I had a mission, a plan of attack, a system to get my house caught up from the last 2 months of neglect since Spring Cleaning.

My guest is my oldest niece visiting from out-of-state. She's a teenager, kind of messy from what her mother tells me, and likely wouldn't notice the difference in my house being clean (like it is when I expect any company) and my house being a bit disorderly (which is the norm). Either way, she is from a family of 4 - - her older brother, herself, her little sister, then her youngest brother. There's not much money going around on my brother's income (he's a church pastor), so my niece has been at times forced to wear her brother's hand-me-downs. A good month will have the family Goodwill shopping or perusing new stuff at Wal-Mart, but she's never been really spoiled because she's never been the only kid.

We're going to have pedicures & manicures together, we're going to a Renaissance Faire, visiting an art museum, painting pottery, off-roading, shopping, and anything else that comes to mind. My husband and I think this trip will be a chance for her to get away from it all and just have fun! Hopefully the stubborn teenager vanishes for these two weeks and she's just a happy young woman on vacation.

I want my house to be clean so she doesn't have to step around my paperwork on the floor like the toys of her siblings. I want the guest room to feel fresh, comfortable, and quiet so if she needs some time to herself she can have it. I want clean floors so she can run around barefoot and not worry about getting some forgotten craft project's pieces embedded in her foot.

A little sweat, some serious focus, and a helping hand from my husband has provided me a clean house for the moment. Please notice the key phrase "for the moment". Goodness knows that as soon as my niece leaves and my husband decides the house is his domain again I will be back to where I started - - with manuals, remotes, and empty soda cans spread throughout the house with the tornado-blown look that has become the standard.


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