I have been home from work for two weeks now. The first few days were blissfully lazy. I did not do much of anything except let the days sink in like a long vacation. After several days of laying low, the realization dawned on me that company was coming soon and the entire house needed to be cleaned. Activity sparked into my days. I cleaned and organized and organized and cleaned for over a week. It wasn't perfect or as thorough as I would like and I never actually got to the kitchen myself--hopefully it wasn't too shocking or horrible--but we welcomed the Darwins into our home, nobody got hurt, and everyone had a spot of floor on which to sleep. And good times were had by all.
Through the years we have lived in this house, hospitality has not been our strong suit. Basically we never invite anyone over unless it is family for a child's birthday party. The essential reason is because I am never organized or put together enough to manage for either myself or any potential guests. Who wants to dig out a spot on the couch in order to sit down? Hospitality means making your guests comfortable and I have never felt I was in a position to make anyone comfortable here who wasn't already inoculated to the mess.
The other hesitation I had in inviting people over was the inevitable fallout from dealing with the aftermath. No matter how organized or clean the house is in anticipation of a visit, there is always extra clean up after company leaves. That's just the way of things. In the past, that extra clean up would stretch into an absurdly long amount of time. I always had to go back to work on Monday which meant the clean up never started in earnest for a week. But in that next weekend, I still had my normal allotment of clean up as well. The house would be put back in order only partially and slowly over the next handful of weekends.
One weekend party or quick trip away translated into two or three or four weeks of extra clutter and the accompanying stress that extra clutter brings. There was no margin in the schedule. The less we did or the less people were over, the easier my life was. There was no such thing as a quick get-together. While I was not happy about this state of affairs, I felt constrained to change anything. The schedule was what it was.
In a conversation I had with Amy a few weeks ago, she said that soon, once the house was cleaned up the first time, I could have people over and it wouldn't be a catastrophe. She was right! Thankfully, she was right.
After staying up too late because of a pile of giggling girls in the living room and getting up too early because of girls on a mission to extract every moment of fun possible, I felt very groggy on Thursday after the Darwins continued on their trip to warmer climes. I didn't panic because of a perceived conflict between rest and picking up the house. (NB: No worries, not a big mess, just the regular little bit when ten extra people have been in your house.) Instead I took a nap and spent most of the day resting. On Friday and Saturday, we had commitments that kept us out of the house most of the day. Still I did not panic. We will have to be gone most of the day tomorrow. Still not panicking.
I feel completely relaxed about getting to the house. I know that come Monday I will have plenty of time to walk about and do what needs done. And then by Tuesday, it will be done. No stress, no drawn out process of incremental improvement, just time to get it done. Margin.