Somewhere along the way of looking at my calendar and realizing my Grandpa's birthday would be the 29th, I decided it would be a brilliant idea to host the family celebration at the Marital Abode. I'm not someone who is crazy about a lot of people coming over to my house. Growing up, our home was never brimming over with friends, it was generally just the four of us. So, I tend to view my home like a nest, a private, quiet library nest, and one that I don't have to keep spectacularly neat as I really LIKE piles of things on the floor. Much easier than file folders, right?
As the years have gone by, I'm a little more comfortable with people stopping by. It helps that we have two couches, with plenty of room for people to sit, and most of the time my cabinets hold pretty okay snacks. The other day I gave all my wine to Angie, just because it wasn't doing ME a whole lot of good sitting on the countertops. I'm accustomed to the Green Bean Family coming over, and for them the most I do is vacumn up the dog hair so the Kiddo doesn't roll around it. None of our friends are crazy neat freaks or perfect Martha Stewart wannabes so I don't feel horrible if they see my house in its natural state. And just so we're clear, it's not like our house is something that needs to be on one of those Clean Sweep shows - the shows that make you feel like, oh my Lord, maybe I'm not so bad after all.
Family, however, demands a whole 'nother level of housecleaning. Thankfully I had lots of time this week to procrastinate, but when it came down to it, all of these things were accomplished:
Cleaned out my closet so I could get inside of it.
Put away all clean clothes. Major accomplishment, but much easier with a clean closet.
Stacked my shoes. Threw shoes AWAY.
Loaded four garbage bags of clothes I don't want into my trunk, headed for a consignment store.
Husband cleaned out the fridge and found the most godawful old stuff that no pregnant woman should even WHIFF.
Dining room table cleaned off of mail.
Kitchen clean, floors mopped.
Bathrooms clean, rather sanitary in fact.
Floors vacumned several times because Velcro is a wooly mammoth, not a dog like we previously believed.
The biggest triumph of all is that I finally cleared out the space beside my bed, which was a jumble of Rubbermaid containers, an extra TV, laundry baskets holding stuff from the place I lived before we got married, and many books. This is the space that the Green Bean Kid looked at from the bed and said, "What a mess!" Now my bedside is serenely clear, with the Rubbermaid container acting as my nightstand, holding a lamp and a stack of books that make me feel better, just knowing that they are radiating their goodness inches away from me as I sleep.
My mom came at 10 this morning, and I was so proud to show her how clean my room was. I don't know if it's sad that a 28 year old pregnant woman was squealing over her clean closet (yes, I actually VACUMNED IT) and wanted to show her mama, but it was rather a triumph. My parents know how hard it is for me to focus and clean, and so they were as proud as if I brought home straight A's or announced that I'd found a way to actually get PAID for having a baby.
For Grandpa's birthday, we made a lunch that any 79-year-old man would be happy to eat, despite whatever his doctors may caution. Mom brought the electric skillet and coached me through removing chicken skin from drumsticks (gross!) and we fried a big platter of chicken, all crisp and brown and perfect. Mom was in charge of frying, I was her sous chef. Grandma brought potato salad, I threw together a very healthy green salad with cucumbers and orange peppers and perfect small tomatoes. There was corn on the cob, rolls, and best of all, rice and gravy. Y'all know how I feel about rice and gravy.
As we have only two chairs for our tiny table and they are prone to breaking (antiques from Husband's family) everyone was happy to sit on our couches with trays and eat their lunch. I found that having everyone in our fresh, sweet smelling house was actually very pleasurable. It was fun to use our "good" china, the big silver bowls and platters that we don't use for ourselves. I made my grandparents happy by finally inviting them to my home (healing some hurt feelings) and I got the bonus prize, a clean house. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and Husband took over (with Mama) cleaning the kitchen, utilizing his spiritual gift while I learned some new stories from Grandma. When it was all over, the cake and wonderful ice cream and presents, all that was left to do was crawl into my bed, in my very clean room, listen to the rain, and take a nap.
And it was very, very good.