It’s been more than a year since we’ve had company at our house. Real company, not the occasional repairman, delivery person, or someone in the neighborhood picking something up or dropping something off. And in that year, we’ve done the normal chores and tasks that go with housecleaning and home maintenance. But we haven’t done the heavy-duty cleaning and decluttering we do when company’s coming.

Until now.

Some friends from our hometown – they’re our age, and, like us, were recently inoculated with both doses of the COVID vaccine – called and said they were planning a road trip, and would like to come and visit us. They were here once before, shortly after we moved to Georgia. But that was four years ago.

We said we’d love to have them come. We’re still cautious as we ease into almost-post-COVID mode, but we knew they’d be as careful as we would be along the way. Plus, we’re trying to get used to trusting the vaccine. And we looked forward to seeing our friends.

But then we looked at the house – the one we’ve been in just about 24/7 for the past year – with new eyes. Eyes that saw more dust in the corners of the bookcases than I ever noticed before. Eyes that saw the coffee table loaded with piles of newspapers and magazines that I planned to get around to reading eventually. And eyes that noticed other messy, dirty, or out-of-place things I’ve walked past multiple times a day without even noticing.

But now that we’re having company, I can’t miss them. It’s not that I started looking for them, they just started popping out at me now that we were going to be having company. It’s funny, isn’t it, how you can stop – or start – seeing things that are right in front of you in a different way, based on a change of circumstances, a shift in your point of view, or a new source of motivation?

I should mention, by the way, that our friends are not the kind of people who would notice or care if the house were in less-than-perfect condition. It didn’t need to be spotlessly clean – which it wasn’t – in order for us all to have a wonderful time – which we did – while they were here.

As a matter of course, however, I’m going to try getting in the habit of pretending, every week or so, that out-of-town company is coming. Maybe that will help me see things around the house that need attention, and give me the incentive to do something about them. Not in order to be ready for company that might be coming over for a party, a weekend, or another special occasion, but for the benefit of the people – both of us – who live here the rest of the time.

April 10, 2021
©Betty Liedtke, 2021

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