Why it’s Good to Have Guests Over

We’re all so busy that the things we used to do – mop the kitchen floor and dust every other day, tidy the house at the end of the day – have gone the way of VHS and MSG.

That’s why, even though it’s always a stress-filled hour before guests arrive, I relish having people over.

Not only do I get a chance to see old friends and neighbours and catch up, but it gives me an opportunity to clean like a demon, where otherwise I would clean as per usual – well, but intermittent.  Every inch of the bathroom gets cleaned instead of the usual quick wipe-down, the mirrors sparkle and our hardwood floors shine with nairy an orange cat hair to be seen!

Now I should clarify – my friends and family could care less about how clean and tidy our place is.  Luckily, they are not judgmental like that.  But for me, it shows that I respect them and welcome them.

And even though, I may be working up to 15 minutes before my guests arrive, I do love the challenge of making our place spic and span despite looming deadlines and various other commitments.  And, after everyone leaves, we get to reap the rewards for a couple of days afterwards.

Recently, we had a whack of people over for a dinner party and I cleaned for a good hour or two.  I wiped down the kitchen walls, ran a damp cloth over our baseboards, the whole shebang.  No one I’m sure noticed that the walls were whiter or that our baseboards were spotless, but I sure felt good.  It’s like dressing up for an event – if you look good, you feel good.  It’s that easy.

Our place is back to its usual state – clean and somewhat tidy.  Not perfect.  Not like company’s coming.

But I have a friend coming over to shoot a video on Monday and our place will be featured in the video.  You’d better believe that on Sunday night, I’m going to be swabbing the deck and vacuuming in every little nook.

I could live as a friend of mine has to – She is moving and landlords are showing her place daily, so instead of the usual clean and kind of tidy condition, it is pristine.  I went over a couple of nights ago and it was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l.  Like a magazine picture.  And it’s not like it’s not great usually.  It’s just that it’s not usually immaculate like this.

But you know what?  I kind of prefer her place when it’s got the everyday details sprawled around – a bowl leftover from breakfast in the sink, tops scattered over a chair, abandoned for the “perfect one” before work.  It’s as much a part of her as the scent she wears (sandalwood) and the way she spends her time (charitable work, helping friends).

I am grateful for the times people grace my home.  I not only get a memorable evening, but an ultra clean house.

Until the next morning, when our cat has tracked litter all the way through the bedroom and up onto the comforter, when I crack eggs to make a quiche and accidentally drop one – where it slides down the counter, trickling down the cupboard door and onto our floor – and my fella comes home with yet another huge computer monitor for his office that stays on our living room floor for a good couple of weeks before finding its new home.

This is real life and I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

But if you’d like to come by, let me know.  I can have the place ready in about 30 minutes!

Stephanie Dickison is the author of the recent book, The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy About Writing & Working From Home, which covers her career as book, music and restaurant critic.  She has been a journalist for over a decade and now spends much of her time writing about travel, food, beauty, style and celebrities for various publications and websites.

When she’s not writing, she’s eating, cooking, organizing, filing, making lists in sumptuous notebooks (you must use your beautiful journals) and colour-coding her ever evolving calendar.

She is one of the few writers still using technology AND paper.  But at least her paper is organized into pretty file folders…