We are having guests for Thanksgiving this year. My parents are coming to Nebraska, and we’ve also invited some good friends and their two boys to join us for dinner.
As I prepare for the holiday, I review the state of my house with a critical eye. Am I the only one who does this? Am I the only one who embarks on major house projects in anticipation of guests? I’ve been known to repaint entire rooms a day or two before the arrival of houseguests. One time I even dashed over to Pier One and purchased a new leopard-print chair just 45 minutes before dinner guests arrived.
Last night when I got out of the shower and toweled off, I caught myself thinking, “I really need a new shower curtain…and new bath towels and hand towels, too.”
You should know, this is a ridiculous thought. My shower curtain is just fine. And really, why am I suddenly concerned about the state of my bathroom towels? My parents are surely not going to care about or even notice my towels. In fact, my mom and dad line-dry their towels. Drying off with one is like rubbing a burlap bag over your skin. They are stiff and hard and can sometimes even stand independently. Mine feel like cashmere in comparison.
Also this week I suddenly feel the need to purchase a new runner for the dining room table – mine is simply a disgrace, rumpled and stained and faded. I’m too lazy to wash and iron it, and plus, I’m rather tired of looking at this one, so I tell myself that I need a new runner because I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of our guests.
I suspect that my urge to prettify for guests is really a flimsy excuse to justify buying more stuff for myself.
Truthfully, I know neither Laura nor Richard nor my parents will judge me on the basis of my table runner. In fact, I suspect no one will even notice the table runner…or the hand towels…or the shower curtain…or the fact that the fringe on my living room rug is unraveling.
No. They won’t notice.
But I do.
This is my hang-up, not theirs. I’m the one who feels the need for more, new and better. And frankly, it’s not fair for me to foist my neuroses on my guests and use their impending visit as an excuse to buy more stuff.
So this week I won’t run to Kohl’s or Target or Pier One to buy pretty new things for a three-hour Thanksgiving dinner. Instead I’ll probably give the toilets a good scrub and vacuum the (frayed) rug. And I suppose I’ll wash and iron the rumpled table runner and set the table with my grandmother’s china.
But mostly I’ll simply enjoy the company of my friends and family who come to laugh and chat and eat and drink -- who come to enjoy not my house, but me.
Do you ever have the urge to buy new stuff before you have guests to your house?