Thoughtful Thursday: Drop In

September 20, 2012

Thoughtful ThursdayA few days ago, my husband announced that a friend from another city would be in town and would be coming over the next day. Immediately I tried to clear my work schedule so that I could come home an hour or two early and tidy up. The cleaning lady had been to the house two days earlier, but messes develop quickly thanks to Tropical Storm Tamale and Hurricane Burrito. With some visitors who are chaotic themselves I wouldn’t put in as much effort, but I know this guy to be a tidy fellow. It’s not about impressing him or anything, just about being respectable, about not being embarrassed.

Way back when, in the 90s, DH was on his way to a company softball game and stopped by our apartment to grab some clothes. He was giving a coworker a ride to the game and brought the guy upstairs. The place was a disaster. It was not a big apartment, but every one of those 700 square feet was messy. Beyond embarrassing. Since that day, my general goal has always been to keep the house in decent enough shape that if someone showed up at our door unexpectedly, I wouldn’t be embarrassed. Most of the time we don’t meet that threshold, but a good percentage of the time it’s decent enough that with an hour notice it could be fine. Things are usually pretty clean, which helps. Not dirty, just messy. Out of place.

You know the saying “A place for everything and everything in its place”? I’m great at the former. I strive, with varying degrees of success, for the latter.

If someone dropped by your house today, would you be embarrassed?

13 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Drop In”

  1. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Oh not really.

    I am not the neatest one around, and if anyone just skirted in the living room, there wouldn’t be much mess to see. The only red flag would be that every other room seems to have turned into some sort of laundry room.

    I folded Figlia’s clothes last night, and it is all stacked on the bed as of now…so they will see that it is not in the right place, but that atleast it is folded. Everyone’s clothes, even the washed ones in our house have otherwise seen bad days (the kind where everything is the mound and goes into the mound).

    Even if I knew that someone was coming by, at this point of time, I wouldn’t be able to spectacularly improve the house’s first impression.

    (P.S. Maybe I have become too shameless to be embarrassed by the way my house looks.

    P. P. S. I have learnt that I am not wired at all to keep the house in the ultra-mint condition that some people can manage. I never set that standard for myself anyways.)

  2. Yes, I would be embarrassed. I’m actually cleaning right now because we’ll have a babysitter tonight and I don’t want her to think that our bathroom could be cleaner when she’s helping our toddler brush his teeth. I can’t wait until the toddler goes to preschool for more hours (he now only goes in the morning) and I will be a bit less tired (yes, I still have to comment on your previous TT post!) so our apartment can be cleaned at once a week again (no, don’t have a cleaning lady)…. I absolutely cannot stand it when the house is dirty or messy, it makes me miserable. The only thing I seem to be able to keep up with is the laundry (but that’s also the only household task I really like).

    Then there are things that need to be replaced, like the coffee table and the rug under the dining table. Those items make me feel embarrassed all the time. A trip to the blue and yellow store is in our near future…

  3. Elana Kahn Says:

    I would be ridiculously embarrassed. My house is such a disaster that even I hate looking at it, but I have so little time to even think about cleaning, that it stays that way. I have a wonderful woman who comes and cleans, but most of the time my living room doesn’t get touched because it’s such a disaster.

  4. Two Kayaks Says:

    I used to be VERY particular about the cleanliness and tidiness of the house. I’m still very particular about the clean part, but not so much about the tidy. If someone wants to drop in for a visit, they are always more than welcome, but I won’t break my back to ensure that our house is in pristine condition any longer. This house is lived in, the kids are making memories, and I no longer strive to be the perfect hostess with the perfect house. It’s just not where I am in my life right now. Maybe I will be that person again, but I don’t forsee it for a long, long time.
    Would I be embarrassed? Not one, single bit. My house was good and clean through the 10 years I waited and pined for a baby. Now, it’s my time to enjoy the mess. Soon enough, the kids will be grown and I will wish to have some toys strewn around the house once again.

  5. a Says:

    I’ve been cleaning today, but the house is still a disaster. Ugh. Oh well – the husband will be home next week, and for some reason, it’s much easier to keep the mess at bay when he’s home. I hate cleaning. And my daughter seems to be motivated to make a huge mess wherever she goes, but getting her to clean it up is virtually impossible.

  6. Mel Says:

    Today… yes. But I have big plans to clean massively between Yom Kippur and Succot. Things are clean right now, but messy. Toys are out, papers on the kitchen table, etc. I need to reduce.

  7. Cat Says:

    If someone dropped by right now I would not be embarrassed, but that’s only because we had a play date here yesterday morning so the first floor got picked up (mostly toys) and I cleaned the kitchen (which was a pit) before they got here, and we were also gone all morning today so the kids didn’t have a chance to undo it all yet.

    DH and I are different on what we each consider to be a Clean House. I would rather have the place be messy/untidy but clean underneath the clutter while he’d rather have it clutter free and everything in its place than have the floors swept and counters wiped. Luckily he’s good at the cleaning part and is much quicker than I am, so while I’m putting everything back where it belongs, he’s scouring the bathrooms.

  8. Sara Says:

    If someone had dropped by when I first read this, they would’ve been out of luck, as I was in Konstanz until this afternoon. Now, if someone dropped by, they’d see the usual — laundry hung up to dry in the livingroom (largest open space in the house), and some, but not all, baby toys scattered around. The table is covered with papers and computers, most of the dishes are either in the drying rack or in the dish washer. I’m pretty satisfied.

  9. strongblonde Says:

    I grew up in a family where people would just stop by all of the time. As a kid I enjoyed that. Now, as an adult, I appreciate how weird that can be. I generally pick up the house several times per day and especially before bed, so that if someone just stopped by it would be fine, but probably not up to my “company’s coming” standard.

    now, I feel like most of our friends have moved away to other places, I’m fine with people just dropping by…mostly because it means that I get to see people when they’re in town.

    we just had a birthday party yesterday, so if someone stopped by today I wouldn’t be embarrased, but there is a little bit more crap around (and fuzz on the rug) than I would like 🙂

  10. Ana Says:

    depends on who it is! we do try to keep things CLEAN, but there are always toys/clothes/etc… strewn all over the living room/kitchen and dog hair EVERYWHERE. That stuff doesn’t bother me. What bothers me right now is that the bathroom smells of pee. With a potty training boy that pees ON the toilet seat (i.e. not THROUGH it into the bowl, even when sitting), I just can’t get rid of the pee smell for very long. The toys/mess/even dog hair is “lived in”, bathroom smelling like urinal is gross.

  11. Lavender Luz Says:

    I’m not embarrassed by clutter but I am by dirt. Meaning mostly counters and floors that haven’t been wiped down.

    So yes, today I would be embarrassed if you came over. But I would still rather you stop by unexpectedly than not.


    (I also know it’s against your constitution to do so!)

  12. loribeth Says:

    Mildly. If they just stuck to the living room/kitchen, it wouldn’t be too bad. There is a bit of clutter lying around (a big pile of magazines in the corner by the loveseat — which drives dh nuts), but nothing too bad. Upstairs, though, I have a “junk” room. I usually close the door whenever people come over. The guest bedroom also has some junk in it that needs to be cleared before I could have anyone stay in there.

    And the flusher is broken on the toilet right now — we have to manually stop it from running. THAT I am embarassed about. Dh (who is totally non-handy) has promised to have his brother over to fix it, and I won’t tell you how long that has been. I’m at the point where I’m willing to pay a plumber $70 an hour to replace what is probably a $2 part, just to get the thing done. :p

    By the way, this is called “CHAOS” — Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. ; )

  13. Totally embarrassed. I was raised to always, always call before coming over, so as to give folks a chance to clean up. And though I’m laid back about most things, if someone were to stop by without calling first, I’d be really out of sorts.

    My husband (then-boyfriend) dropped in with a friend once. Mind you he owned the house, but it never happened again and probably never will after the talk we had following that incident.

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