somebody save me…

…from the person I become when we’re expecting a houseful of people.

Second Daughter graduates from high school on Saturday, you see. To celebrate her milestone we’re having an open house on Sunday to which we’ve invited the whole family, the whole church, and a whole bunch of other very nice people.

Which would be all fine and dandy if I didn’t have a terrible case of the “company’s coming” bug.

I started at the beginning of this week in an organized sort of way, determined to do a little each day and above all not to get too nutty about all this. Problem is, every time my list starts getting whittled down, I look up and see more stuff that I never even notice.

Weeds in our quarter-acre of flowerbeds. Cobwebs in the eaves. Sun-rotted lawn swings. Fingerprinted windows. Dinged-up baseboards. Tired kitchen flooring. Bare patches in the lawn. You know, all the things that prove we have a life beyond lawn care and home decorating, and that the life we have is populated by children.

Our guests are well aware that we have ten children, of course. They’re coming to celebrate, not evaluate. And yet the part of me that wants to welcome them also longs to be able to offer them House Beautiful. OK, well…House Decent, anyway.

I’m contemplating a run to Home Depot in the morning, for mulch, a couple of stepping stones, and maybe a new lawn swing to replace the one that’s falling to bits.

It’s a sickness.

I know this all isn’t really necessary and yet I just. can’t. quit.


(ooops, gotta run…I just spotted some more weeds.)


  1. Sounds like it will be a grand time for everyone! Can’t wait to see the photos 😉

  2. You sound like me when I have people coming over! I’m sure no one will even notice the things that you have mentioned. After all, they are coming to celebrate, not check out your floors!! (Of course it is much easier for me to say that when it isn’t my home people are coming to!) Good luck with everything!

  3. I wimped out totally and decided to do our graduation thing at the park!!

  4. If we didn’t go nuts when we have company-coming-itis, then we’d never buy things like mulch and lawn swings and weed the quarter acre of flower beds. Just sayin’.

  5. Heather says:

    I can empathize with what you are feeling and eagerly clicked through from my RSS reader to see what more you’d written after seeing just a few sentences. I know the feeling, too.

    One thing I remind myself is that the intangible feeling in the room will be way more powerful than anything people will see. That feeling comes from my husband and I just being who we are and enjoying our life. When we invite people over, in essence we’re just asking them to share in that and add their own goodness to the mix.

    Clearly there’s lots of love in your house that your guests will love being a part of.

  6. a run to home Depot!Just do it.

  7. At my house, I’m thankful for occasional visitors….it might be the only thing that motivates me to do some of those jobs!!

  8. Praying for you right now, Mary, to focus in on your daughter and what she wants for her day. This is totally about her and not your cobwebs or weeds. May the Lord give you His eyes to see what is the most important and have the rest melt into the background.

    Have a blast, and I too, can’t wait to see photos of the grand celebration. Congrats to your sweet girl!!

  9. Do I ever understand. I tend to freak out as well. In fact, I used to be so bad that no one could come over if the house wasn’t spotless (like walls washed and everything!)

    When I was pregnant with #5 and my other 4 were ages 5 and under I finally let it go. I was asked last minute to host a homegroup meeting at our house one afternoon, when I looked around.. no toys… no clutter…… *took a deeeeeeep breath* and said OK. The old me would have panicked – dust, dirty baseboards, the kitchen floor needs mopping, what about the windows?!!!??

    I’m making progress. 🙂 On another note “life beyond lawn care” sounds like a book title. I love it!

  10. I’m the same way. I cringe when someone comes to the door because they might see how my house actually looks inside. I wish I could just wholeheartedly invite them in and enjoy their company, giving no thought to things they probably don’t even care about.

  11. UGH…It doesn’t matter who’s coming to my house, I start acting like a fiend. You’d think it was the pope or something.

  12. Amen to that! We had our first homestudy interview this week and I was sure I wouldn’t be stressed out-I knew she wasn’t bringing white gloves and wasn’t goingt o check in all my drawers so I was ok-up until 2 days before. Then I just kind of freaked out and started asking my husband if we should re-paint the living room and maybe re-do the laundry room and buy new bedding and on and on….it IS a sickness. I try to tell myself “you know, that is idolatry b/c you are puttingt he approval of others ahead of the approval of God” which is very true. And yet, every time I do the same thing……sometimes I long for the days of my crummy college apartement when I had nothing much to clean up and no money at all to do anything about how crummy it was!! Those were the days!!

  13. I’m glad you have “a life beyond lawn care and home decorating, and that the life we have is populated by children.” If you didn’t, you would not be having this celebration of the graduation of a beautiful young woman, who had the benefit of a homeschool education, a diverse, active, loving family, all of the lessons of hard work that she’s had… =)

  14. Glad I am not the only one who goes insane.:)

  15. Around here, we call that “getting the ‘fake’ house ready”.

    It’s not a sickness. We all do it!

  16. You’re completely right… it’s not necessary. I know that I can tend to be compulsive when people come (and I don’t yet have children, so it’s significantly easier for me!), but think about when you go to family and friend’s homes… do you notice the fingerprints on the windows or the bare spots in the lawn? I highly doubt it… and even if you do, I am sure you don’t think negatively towards them for it. We don’t choose our friends (and certainly not our family) based on their domestic/lawn & garden skills… so do please try to relax! (by the way, I’ve been lurking on your blog for awhile now and felt it was time to comment and say hi!).

  17. Spiffing things up a little is great, but you gotta create a buffer zone in your time to just enjoy the moment. If you’re stressed and running around evaluating, then other’s won’t feel the quite sweet spirit of the occasion. That feeling will go a lot farther than beautiful lawn chairs.

    Congrats and have fun.

  18. We’re celebrating our one year as a family this Saturday. I am going to be spending part of today on a stool hanging mulitple sized disco balls and paper lanterns in my son’s room. I have no idea why I feel the need to complete his funky solar system today, but there you have it.
    BTW, I always save weeding for those really stressful days when pulling something out of the ground can really do me some good.
    Heather BT

  19. grab some watco while you are at the store to rub on those baseboards. It takes about a second to do and your baseboards will look really nice…this from trying to keep a house ready to show with kids that love swords in the house!

    One more thing…use an old tshirt to do it with, nothing that will absorb the oil and hold it in!

  20. I am the SAME way. But I look at it in a positive light, because without my few days of obsession, some of those “extra” things would never get done.

  21. I’d love to comment on weeds but I got nothin’. I did want to comment on your way with words, though. Are you a writer by training? Bare, tired, sun-rotted. I could see it all as you described it. Very visual and concrete.

    Just found you today. I’ll be back for sure. And I’ll stay on topic next time. I promise.

  22. What’s with all the cute little snowflake things by each comment?

  23. Oh, yes. *yes.*
    The only saving: Deep breathe. Pray. Trust. Smile.
    It’s going to be wonderful, Mary…

  24. we must be related!

  25. See, those are all things that I wanted to do anyway usually, have put off doing and now when company comes it’s the catalyst to get me off my butt and do it. I don’t think it’s all that bad.

    But you do have to know where to draw the line and cut yourself a break if you didn’t get it all done before the guests come.

    Remember to have fun and enjoy the day. 🙂