They're here!

Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

Company’s here.

I don’t know about you, but the news that someone will be visiting sends me into a frenzy every time. Whether a virtual drive-by or for a long sojourn, my friends are, of course, most welcome, but I suddenly spot festooning cobwebs, pollen dust, leaf litter, tired wallpaper, and assorted other distractions, and I don’t know where to start.

Breakfast over and cleaned up, and company coming in a few days, thoughts are ricocheting in my head, “Where to begin?” and “What’s really important?” and “I have plenty of time yet.”

Dave, of course, is Cool Hand Luke. “Everything looks OK,” he says. “Nobody’s going to notice your house.”

What a guy.

We rallied ’round the project, which actually began in March, setting little doable objectives to conquer. But as fast as the original weeds were pulled, new ones took their place, again and again.

I try to prioritize, asking myself, Which really matters? Papering the half-bath downstairs? Cleaning the screened porches? Freeing windows from their winter pollen and dust? Planting some flowers on the deck to be seen from the house?

Then come Mary’s e-mails, telling us that she and her S.O. (Significant Other), Rainer, plan on coming to the States this year. They’ll stop here for a week or so, then fly to Las Vegas. Mary hasn’t seen that amazing world and feels she might be missing something.

Dave says she’s out of her mind: “Las Vegas?” he bellows. “Las Vegas in August? She must be out of her mind!”

Did I mention that Jean has been planning to come down in June? She is so involved with her congregation, currently expanding its building, and it was hard for her to get away.
But the date is set, and priorities arranged, and I try to concentrate on what really matters. The storms that roared through here earlier blew down the winter-dried leaves that somehow had held on through the fall.

The deck was littered with them, plus this year’s sweet gum balls and twigs. Dave wasn’t feeling well, and put it off a day.

Just as well. The second set of storms brought down a tree that missed the house but tore the nearby branches to shreds, doubling the debris on the deck.

Never did get to the wallpaper. And the pansies I planted in May gasped their last breath in sultry June. No use replacing them now. The screened porches were cleaned in May, but you couldn’t tell in late June – do ’em again.

The days are flying now. Everything else seems to take so long. Jean’s on her way, driving the 700 miles from northern Virginia with her boys in the back seat. She should be here Wednesday.

Why do I care so much about the house looking perfect? This is the daughter whose room, when she was a child, was a toxic wasteland – I should be self-conscious because I didn’t get my house pristine for her?

The truth dawns on me slowly. There’s no point worrying about the floors and the furniture being steam-cleaned when two little boys 8 and 5 years old are on the way. And the gritty windows? Sure, they need to be washed – but not before the boys leave handprints of their own on the panes.

Now, when Mary comes. Did I mention that besides Rainer, she’ll have Rainer’s older son, Hartmut, with her? Plus Hartmut’s fiancée, Danny, on their first visit to the States.
(“They’re coming to Georgia in August?” Dave asks for the umpteenth time. “Are they out of their minds?”)

Germans are such perfectionists about their homes, I know Danny will notice every errant blob of leaf litter on the carpet, every smudged window.

Can’t worry about that now. I still have to make up the beds in the guest room for Jean and her pups. Relax, I tell myself. You only have a few things left – and Dave’s voice breaks through:

“There’s a car in the driveway. They’re here.”

** Dear readers, Dave has a major birthday coming up. On Sunday, July3, he will be 80. If you’d like to congratulate him and wish him well, we’ll be at Partner’s II Pizza, Aberdeen Village Center, in Peachtree City, from 3-6 p.m.

Just stop and say hello, or have a meal with us. Please, no presents. Questions? 770-487-8134 or SallieS@Juno.com.

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