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Panic Attack in the Middle of My Kitchen

I'm not a people person.

(Shocking I know. I mean, really, a gal who spends her time hiding online behind a computer screen doesn't possess the social skills to gracefully flitter about with abounding social skills. Whodathunkit?)

I like to hide in my house and surround myself with all things familiar.

When someone comes to my house unexpectedly I have a full fledged panic attack. My head actually pops off and rolls down the driveway when someone calls in advance to invite themselves into my space and my dogs have fun chewing on my cranium and depositing it at my feet minutes before the anticipated company arrives.

I can count on one hand how many times I have ever had over-night guests stay in my domicile, use my toilet paper and snoop through my kitchen drawers.

I am not a born entertainer.

I'm okay with this. I have other skills. I'm very bendy.

But this week, something shifted. I did the unthinkable. Not only did I allow my children to invite every known terrorist child in the neighbourhood to stay for a sleep over (I'm still in shock and trying to recover) I invited grown up peoples to my house.

To stay over.

For more than one night.

My friends Catherine and Kate are coming to visit me and witness how I wrangle the dust bunnies in the wilds of rural Alberta.

Let the hyperventilating commence.

The things I do for the people I love. (Well, okay. Truth be told I only invited them because I am madly in love with their children and covet them for my own, but still.)


Is there anything better than corrupting other people's children? I think not.

So I may not be around much because I am actually going to do the unthinkable. I'm going to clean my house. Not just stuff things under the bed and in the closets like I do when my husband is on his way home. Nope. I'm actually going to move things and use that fancy Dyson vacuum I acquired not long ago that I still have no idea how to use.

I may even clean my fish tank.

I will be restocking the liquor cabinet. That's a guarantee.

So if you don't hear from me in a few days, you'll know I've lost the showdown in the kitchen as I attempted to outdraw the dust bunnies. I'll have drown in a mountain of damn laundry and choked on cleaning supplies.

The things I do for my friends.


It'd be much easier if I could just admit defeat and publicly declare I'm a slob.

Now excuse me. I need to buy a mop. Where the hell does one purchase such a weapon of war?


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Reader Comments (44)

I do not have a mop. I do not enjoy cleaning. I can organize shit like no one's business, but cleaning? Nah.

I am having two sister-in-laws from Israel stay by me next month for a few weeks. You BETTER BELIEVE I am hiring a house cleaner. The bathroom doesn tclean itself you know.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaya

You are a braver woman than I...I did a full "clean up" yesterday in preperation for Pineapple's great aunt to come over for only the morning...an overnight stay?...fuggetaboudit.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPineappleBabble

Ironically, I just posted yesterday about my mad cleaning skills.

And by "mad", I mean my ability to hide shit like nobody's business...

Call if you need back-up!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmo

I'm super excited about the road trip. Just hope Shannon shares them around when they finally hit Vancouver! ;-)

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermandy

is there anyway i could pursuade you to come to the burgh and clean my floor of the house?
p.s. when i get desperate i pile things into one room and lock the door from the outside with a key, nobody can see the mess if they can't get through the door!!!!!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjuli

It's funny, when I was a kid, I thought FOR SURE we'd have self-cleaning houses or cleaning robots by the time I was old enough to have a house.

But science fiction lied. Although I keep being an optimist and buying the odd Roomba as they come out. Lying bastards.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTatiana

I am in the exact same freakin boat right now and it is not going to well!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterApril

I hired a maid - best decision EVER! :)

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

That's pretty ambitious, saying you're actually going to PUT things AWAY instead of stack/hide them somewhere!

At our house, cleaning up dirt becomes priority 1, and piles are dealt with last of all. Emergency (ie still undealt-with at zero hour) piles go into tubs in the garage. Our two car garage now holds only one car due to the number of "go through this as soon as they leave" tubs out there...

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDella

I, too, am not a people person. We've been here a year and had people over once. ONCE. I also get the panic attacks when someone crosses my threshold. Not a fan.

I'm quite impressed that you had so many of your children's friends over. You're a brave redneck.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Wilson

I got a cleaning lady when I had surgery 10 years ago. I liked it. As God is my witness, I'll never clean again!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGrandeMocha

I too get anxious when people are coming over. I feel judged. And I figure I probably am...I would judge if I saw smears of mud on the walls and sofa, dried milk splattered on the TV screen, and a dog prancing about with a dead animal (all of which take but seconds to re-occur after cleaning).

But my darling Husband? Adores inviting company. Go figure. Opposites attract.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbecoming-mommy

I love that you call Katie, Kate. It's all very Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes...only you are both way way hotter ;)

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterali

Six months ago my husband screamed at me that he was sick and tired of me cleaning house, needless to say I haven't lifted a finger since his outburst. He's doing the cleaning now!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAZ

If I were in your shoes, I would post more on my blog and clean less.You just need to go out and get some blindfolds or get them really drunk before you bring them inside. Take a deep breath and call a cleaning service.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhabanerogal

You're going about this all wrong. When they get there, you scream "cleaning party!" I guarantee you, they'll love that shit. Then while they clean, you make all these comments like "you really shouldn't.." but you know, from the couch.

I'm so glad that I could help. Crisis averted.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka

whatza mop?

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber Mc

I had a similar revelation this morning...I HATE to clean! So that's why it takes me forever and a day to get it done. Gotta fly...need to vac!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCalamity Anne

Cleaning sucks. I wish we lived in a hotel where someone would come make my bed for me and put that little paper strip over my toilet so I would know it was clean. I like to clean my house when I have been drinking so when my husband tells me I did a shitty job, I can say "Whatever, I was totally wasted".

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZDub

Just reading your post got my heart beating! I also have all-out panic attacks knowing I'm going to have a guest. Even if it's just one of my husband's buddies. Crazy! I'm actually a clean freak, so I don't know why I'd worry about it. Recently however, I've had to relinquish the mop to my hubby as I am now working while he takes care of the house. He's never touched it (the mop). Instead, he bought one of those Shark steam mops off TV -- now why didn't I think of that?

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMama Bird

hope you have a rednecking good time.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertony

Gosh, you sound like me. I always hide when people come to my house unannounced. And half the time, I won't even answer the phone. Have fun with your sleep-overs.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterApril G

I have a better idea. Tell two or three mothers you will take their kids to the movies/park/whatever in exchange for them to clean your house. I would jump at that chance honey.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobina

I look at it this way: You can't expect to maintain a brilliant blog, take care of three children AND have a sparkling house.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I'm totally just going to show up on your door someday.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

Everyone thinks I'm Miss Haversham because if I had it my way, I'd dig a moat around my house. Or maybe a cool trap door that I could open for in-laws and Jehovah's witnesses.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYellow Trash Diaries

My house just got the once over as grandparents were invading. Apparently it didn't meet their standards as they only stayed one night instead of the 4 they were supposed to.

Now? I'm just relishing the mess that my two year old can make and will half heartedly shove things away before my husband comes home.

Then it's off to a rodeo! Yay.

Good luck with the cleaning.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSuburbanChaos

It's good to know I'm not the only one who freaks out when people come to the door. It's not normal the have visitors when one lives in the country!

Also, you're a better woman than I am. I just inform my friends that I love them, therefore I am comfortable enough around them to not clean my house. It makes sense in my twisted mind.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

I feel the same way when someone wants to come in my house. I'm ok if they are in the yard talking to me, as the yard is 2 acres, but if they get closer, my eyes roll into the back of my head, said head spins around and I've heard instances where pea soup erupts from my mouth. lol

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

snort! i hear you. have fun, FlyLady

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

me too me too me too!

I have several rationalizations for this "issue" of mine, not really liking people coming over . . . mostly stemming from growing up dirt poor, in a dirty house, with a mother who smoked (and I had a friend who came over ask me "does your mother SMOKE?" as if she'd just stepped in a big pile of dog shit. I cringed, said "yes, why?" and she said "OH BECAUSE IT SMELLS LIKE IT". . . I caught on pretty quick, and went back to my bookworming ways. . .

Since we moved from our 900 sq ft. hovel, into a 5,000 sq ft way too big to keep clean house, I just threw in the towel. As a nurse, as a clean freak, I just couldn't take it. We still do not wear shoes in the house (oy, what they teach you in nursing school), but when anyone comes over, and I say "oh just leave your shoes at the door", I either get folks who promptly comply, or ones who give me a skeevy glance. I purposely had cream colored carpet put in the house when we moved in . . .

so, I enjoy my solitary use of my house. My husband is not a social whiz either. He's cranky, so we are quite a pair. My poor kids are the ones who suffered. They had friends over, not many or a lot at one time, but I put the kibosh on sleepovers 8 years ago, when my youngest had a birthday sleepoever and one of the mothers NEGLECTED TO TELL ME HER SON HAD ADD. And he climbed all over the sofa, pool table, etc, until I finally said at 2a.m. "enough! go to sleep". I didn't sleep all night, and I thought that I'd done my duty as a mother, and quit.

I am ready to just quit the whole damn thing now. My teenagers suck balls, my husband and I are estranged, and I am almost 50 (well not quite, I"m 46).

to quote Paula Cole/Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? ----
Where is my John Wayne
Where is my prairie son
Where is my happy ending
Where have all the Cowboys gone

Man, I wonder.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

We did a tidy because the grand kids were coming over to stay the night. Then we stopped and thought, the little buggers are going to trash the place anyway!

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMik

HIDE THE BLUE DYE! You don't want people finding that in your medicine cabinet when they start snooping around. Or do you?

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoe @ Irrational Dad

I think they sell mops at Home Depot, no kidding. Hrm, maybe Target? I dunno, I use a Swiffer thingie.

Anyyyydoodle, I'm kind of like you in a way. I don't mind people coming into my home and/or staying but I start to get all ancy and squiffy when *I* have decided I am done with them and that they need to go home...now.

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHilly

I only clean if I have alcohol or beer in the house. Needless to say those 4 days before payday my house is a disaster because I don't have enough spare cash for booze. But I am a hermit too, I prefer my house to anyone else's, can barely stand going out anymore, and hate sleeping anywhere than at home (unless it's our RV with it's memory foam mattress).

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawnMarie

A mop? Mothers-in-law are always a good place to start, so if yours is nearby... (Found myself in a similar predicament last week: filthy floor, guests coming, and unable to remember what those stupid floor-cleaning things were called.)

the Dyson is not what it is cracked up to be. HOWEVER, I did get one-years' use out of it so have at it before the wand stopped sucking (true). May it not die in the middle of the job . . . Now, my parents are coming in a couple of days, for the FIRST TIME and I am relegated to the shopVac. At least with the shopvac I know there won't be any spider webs left on the windows or under the bed...

ACK. parents for the first time in years. Visiting me and the new BF and his charming children. Two dogs. Cottonwoods blooming, dogs shedding. Children ?? doing the usual charming and simultaneous hell-on-earth embarrassing behavior. Should be interesting.

fyi, have read through all of your blogs in the last few days. Have felt amused, blessed, overwhelmed, chagrined, joyed, saddened -- fear, happiness, tears of laughter and recognition, and relief. Sweet relief in seeing another type of mom in a different, albeit it so similar, situation. Good luck and thank you for your kind and very fun words (not to mention the moments of side-splitting laughter and crying over so many funny similar memories). Take care.

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertelluride xandy

ugh. "so have at it before the wand stops sucking. May it not die..." lawd, I really need to grammar read before hitting submit...

regardless, try to remember where the warranty (guarantee?) paperwork is for your Dyson. Might need it around some day in the future. When it doesn't want to slurp any more. Yep, that typed out way dirtier than it sounded.

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertelluride xandy

My working theory is that I only have to clean to the point where I can say "I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to clean for you." And have it seem more like I'm lazy than live in a pigsty. If anyone ever saw how hard I work to get to that point...well we can't be good at everything!

When I come to visit, just clean your belly button out. I don't care about the rest. :)

July 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMr Lady

and when *I* come to visit I will bring half bottles of alcohol.

And I won't even notice the mess.

But there better be ice.

Ahhhh. I guess I was behind In my reading. They were never actually staying in the city. I hope you guys have a great time tomorrow. See y'all at BlogHer. xo

July 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterjenB

Since we moved to a year-round resort area we have become people who have company a LOT, and that's cool. It's why we got the extra bedrooms. So I clean and scrub, and hostess, and all that crap-
and actually enjoy it.
(except for cleaning the bathrooms- I HATE cleaning bathrooms!)
All the same, it's nice to see them go, too, and walk around in my underwear again and not have to be perky and make breakfast for fishermen and golfers at 6:30AM :-P

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

That picture of the child-corruption-in-progress is hilarious!

August 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMS MOM

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