vip treatment

Right now I'm sitting in my office looking out the window at the sun shining on the leaves of the tree outside, and my mother is in an airplane on her way here. She should land in less than an hour, and we'll start our trip tomorrow morning. Yesterday I went through my usual pre-visitor frenzied cleaning session, while my patient husband calmly asked for instructions and helped wherever needed (even if he doesn't get the purpose of such a ritual). It took a while, but I made it through my whole list - moving some boxes and random things-we're-keeping-but-have-no-space-for into the tiny storage bin we rent, washing and folding a load of laundry, making that wonderful Barefoot Contessa Chinese Chicken Salad for dinner tonight, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, getting the guest room/"Karl's Cave" ready for Mom, and all the other general straightening up and organizing that needed to be done. Karl complimented me today on being "less crazy" than usual, and I know what he meant: most of our guests are there to see us and spend time together, not to inspect my house. Making myself (and him) crazy by stressing over getting every detail perfect isn't really a good trade-off. As I've thought about it, though, I've decided that cleaning and preparing everything like I do is my way of saying "I love you, and I'm so glad you're here. You're important to me." It's a way of showing respect, and of doing what I can to make guests feel welcomed. And for me, that's worth all the beforehand preparation. (Although I will try to minimize the pain and aggravation for Karl.)

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