My husband just came downstairs to find me crouched half way in the fridge, armed with a pot of super glue and delicately sticking together hairline fractures in the salad drawers. “You have to write a blog about this!” He exclaimed through a mocking snigger. He really doesn’t get it does he… my mother in law is coming to stay!!
Something about this yearly event, always and without fail, results in parts of my house being cleaned that I haven’t seen since the day we moved in. I am seriously sent into some kind of Monica Geller frenzy… it’s like a spring clean on crack, and for some reason it starts with a sad month of very conscious denial.
That period is swiftly followed by subconscious preparation, instructing myself sternly that this time will be different and that a quick once over with the hoover and a couple of anti-bac wipes will EASILY suffice. Oh and obviously the loo will need a wipe.. but don’t sweat it kendy, that won’t be required until at least the day before! Relax..
This goes on for a healthy stretch, the trepidation rising a teeny bit more each time and temporarily squashed by my “chill out plan”.. but to deal with the narrowing timeframe my list must slowly increase. It begins with the obvious, a shower clean, normal stuff!? Then windowsills.. definately still in the acceptable arena I would say.
Nevertheless, as the weeks surrounding the actual day come into view, the list starts to morph into quite a different creature. In fact the “mental list” takes a back seat as each day I find myself targeting a point in the house, starting with a casual sweep behind the sofas… But still run of the mill…
I did question myself one morning as I scratched in an unnecessarily frantic manner with my fingernails at the kitchen tiles, but a quick internal assurance they “had to be done at one point” allowed me to carry on in blissful ignorance. I then retrieved the glass cleaner from the back of the cupboard and even felt impressed with my motivation as I blitzed the windows and buffed the mirrors.
You might be thinking at this point that I am being overly dramatic, that it’s completely unexceptional to clean in preparation for a family or friend visiting.. and if it wasn’t for what occurs in the last 2 days before D Day you would be entirely correct. But, suddenly things turn ugly…..very ugly
I clamber on top of kitchen counters sorting through kitchen trickets, I wander throughout the house in rubber gloves armed with anti-bac wipes, sliding them across every surface I can see that exceeds 3 millimetres. I re-organise the attic space (because clearly she will be rooting around in there..), Restacking the kindling next to fire like I am building a card house, and at midnight can be found scrubbing bleach into the tile grout with a toothbrush in my dressing gown.
I spent over an hour on my knees with an old knife, painstakingly scraping between the floorboards retrieving plastic from broken toys, old used cotton buds and foul smelling mush that once upon a time.. in a galaxy far far away was most probably edible.
I dust picture frames, clean skirting boards, the fridge, the hob.. kettle.. toaster and banister rail. I fill holes, repaint doors, wipe down the tops of kitchen chairs, making endless trips to charity shops and the tip as I declutter every room in the house.
I actually nearly even poisoned the family when in an attempt to whiten our prehistoric bath that has ZERO enamel left, I poured neat ammonia all over it and nearly lost my eyesight and use of my lungs. Then against my hubbys advice I even left it on there for 30 minutes as we ran erratically around the house opening all the windows and doors and shivering as we painted the stairs. (Yup I painted the stairs too)
And no … The ammonia didn’t work..
Soooo by now you may possibly be viewing me through the eyes of most people I admit this all to, that I am absolutely and utterly ridiculous. But in my defence can I just squeeze in here that I did begin this blog with the full intention of questioning why I, and others like me, (i tell myself I cannot be alone..) go to such depths for visitors, and what it means on a psychological level.
But you know what, as I write all of this down something has become abundantly clear..
I LOVE IT!! It’s flipping fantastic!
Yes of course this facial tic causing debacle has me shouting at my family for a week like an enraged market trader, but man alive what better excuse can I use to pay such loving attention to my home. Those parts of my abode that are as neglected as my fingernails finally get the love and care they so poorly needed, and no self motivation was required
A total win for a professional proscrastinator, and for that my dear mother-in-law I thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart.
Love & Regards
Your very exhausted daughter-in-law…