I had family come in last week over the holiday. From the time of their departure, it would be about five hours before they arrived at my house. I began preparing for their arrival three days beforehand. I inherited my mother’s desire for a presentable looking home and gave every single room of the house a deep cleaning. The bathrooms got the most attention. Not that they were awful, but you know everyone is gonna tromp through them so they were cleaned and sanitized, then I cleaned and sanitized them once again just to be safe.
When they called me to say they were on the road I grabbed my shopping list and headed over to the grocery store. Food, drinks, napkins, toilet paper, tissues, paper plates, bowls, and cups just to make my life a little easier. I spent two hours in the grocery making sure I wasn’t forgetting a single thing. I checked out and made it home. As I was unloading my groceries my cat came over to greet me. I picked her up and began to pet her and greet her in return. This is when I realized I forget to get her food. Back to the grocery I went.
The second grocery run over, I put away the rest of the groceries and looked over at the kitchen clock. Two hours had gone by, I had three hours to plan when to get the meal on. You see if your family is anything like mine when family comes in for a visit, that first night at the house meal isn’t just them. It’s for them, extended family, their friends, and everyone else. If you get easily overwhelmed as I do sometimes, it’s important to have that one room in your house you can escape to while everyone else roams around eating and talking.
Food ready to go, cat fed and already gone into hiding, my family arrived. It was a good thing I gave the bathrooms extra attention, for as soon as people were in the door and hugs were over with, every bathroom in the house had someone in it. This has happened before and usually does when people arrive. I’m surprised my plumbing hasn’t given out from sheer exhaustion yet. The food and revelry go on for a few hours, then bit by bit, the people who are not staying at my home leave.
My cat comes out from hiding and starts a cautious exploration of the house to see if it’s safe to go to her favorite sleeping spot. She settles down and sleeps, I start to clean the kitchen as my houseguests unpack their luggage in the guest room. All the detailed cleaning I did is no longer apparent, it looks like a trashcan and an all you can eat buffet place had a horrible accident in my kitchen. Dishes of food lay empty, with tiny crumbs of what once was. Empty paper cups dot the landscape, my trash can is overflowing.
But for all the madness of that first day it is nice to have family staying in the house, I hear them commenting on how nice the place looks while I try to scrape what I think is cheese off the floor under the kitchen table. Plus, once everyone is settled, I can play a game of Mario Kart with the younger cousins and show them the true meaning of pain is getting a hit by a blue shell when you’re seconds away from first place. See you next week.