Company’s coming. Time to clean house.

Nothing like knowing company’s coming to move the multitude of procrastinated household tasks to the top of my to-do list. Hearing the clarion call of “Company’s coming” I develop a penchant to clean, dust, re-arrange and assorted other tasks I have put off. I find myself pursuing them so vigorously that I want to greet arriving guests, “Whew! We are so glad you are here! Now we can stop cleaning.”
And I do mean ‘we.’ My husband joins me in the tornado of visitor propelled energy.
Before our granddaughter came from Indiana to visit in July, I reminded her grandfather, “You will be wanting to work in the shop with her while she is here. You better organize the tools and work space so you both can get in the door. Besides, I want a clean garage.”
While my husband settled into his shop, I stripped household closets, cupboards and drawers of their excess. It only took him a month to notice and ask, “How did my shirts get in that drawer?”
I played on his lack of observation one weekend. I bought a convection-toaster-oven, set it down in the kitchen and checked the appliance off my list of things to buy for the kitchen.
Hours after he arrived home that day and had walked past the oven a couple times, my husband stopped and looked at it, “How long have we had this?”
“Oh, a couple years,” I said casually, not a hint of teasing in my voice.
A long quiet followed as he studied the machine.
“Okay, I just bought it this morning,” I confessed with a grin.
“You really had me going there for a while.”
Maybe because we had a definitive deadline, the garage emptied out, the shop filled up and the cars finally have room to park.
In July, a neat house and garage devoid of its former perpetual collection of tools, boards, sawdust and other useful items greeted my granddaughter. And, for those who think I got carried away in that last sentence, my husband uses sawdust. The other day he didn’t have the right kind of sawdust for a wood filler – so he made some.
For our August visitors, my lengthy list of things to-do included dusting the house and stripping the guest bathroom of its wallpaper. I planned to just take down the paper before the company came and worry about painting later. I dusted pictures and table tops and pulled down wall paper.
My husband refused to stop with removing the wallpaper. He cleaned the walls, mudded over flaws and sanded the plaster smooth – creating a miniature dust storm in the bathroom that seeped through the house.
I began re-dusting everything to remove the pervasive plaster dust.
He asked what color I wanted to paint the room. I picked up paint samples and studied them before I re-arranged my craft room to make room for a bed.
I chose a paint, discarded it, pulled out yards of fabric to see how a color would look, chose a color, made up beds for guests, designated another color and sorted through an excess of books and dusted hidden corners. I still had not settled on a color.
The weekend we expected company, my husband insisted, “What color do you want it painted?”
I studied the samples again, sighed and pointed, “That one – I think.”
Before I could change my mind again, he painted the room.
With the paint barely dry, we wiped plaster dust off the bathroom door, counter, floor and fixtures. He put up the new towel rack in time for our guests to use them. I welcomed six grandchildren and their parents with open arms – eager to sit down and rest a while.
(The occasional housekeeper, Joan Hershberger, is a reporter at the News-Times.)