Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekend 3-Way: 3 Minutes

Mistah and I were out drinking wine with friends last night. We invited them to come by for another glass at our place, they said no, and we arrived home alone.

When we got home we took one look at our place and said, Whew! Thank the good lord in heaven above they didn't come by! This place is trashed!

But then we looked more closely and realized it wasn't trashed so much as untidy. So we pretended our friends were coming by, and we gave ourselves 3 minutes to whip the place into shape. And into shaped it was duly whipped. Whirlwind-style.

So for this weekend's 3-way: You've invited friends over without thinking it through. And they're on their way. You've got 3 minutes to make whatever difference you are going to make. Whatayagonnado?

Well, our untidiness manifests itself in papers, usually. Paperwork all over the table, newspapers piled up on the chair, magazines donated from our neighbor Greg piled up on the side table. Also: empty Zazz cans strewn about, coats and fleeces on the backs of chairs, first-aid cream and bandages and tape every which way (poison ivy, grrrrrrrr), and dirty dishes in the sink. We have a dishwasher. Why are they in the sink?

K, so I'm realizing as I'm writing this that my co-bloggers share their homes with young children, who make even Mistah Schleckah look like a neat freak. So this was a good idea on my part, clearly. I'm worried about paperwork? Pfffftttt.

Dish, peeps.

3 minutes, huh? That's not a lot of time, Ellie! However, if you've got two adults on the case, you're actually looking at 6 minutes, which is more respectable.

The biggest mess in the house is the girls' room, naturally. The room is small, and the two of them share it, so in all fairness to them, it looks trashed when any more than 5 things are out of place. Trust me, at least five things are out of place at all times. To remedy this, however, we simply close the door. One room down.

My husband likes his room and office tidy. This means that anything that I've happened to leave lying around (in my very own room), gets piled into my "office," which is a tiny converted entryway, full of windows and light, but also full of piles and piles of mail, books, offices supplies, and currently a giant stroller. Again, even though the door to the office is glass, we simply close it. It just looks, um, colorful.

So, we'd use our remaining 5.5 minutes to tidy the living room (which would only take 1) and the kitchen (4.5). Oh wait, the hall bathroom! It's always messy, and is the bathroom that guests use, so I'd be taking a wipe from the bottom drawer (left here for this very reason) and wiping down the counter at top speed, throwing all the hairbrushes and hair pretties, and goopy toothbrushes back into their respective drawers. I'd also give the toilet a quick wipe down, and again, close off the messy bathtub, often strewn with naked Barbies, from view by closing the shower curtain.

To summarize, I'd close and wipe, close and wipe.

Good one, Ellie!

Sorry to be late to the party, kids! Let's see. Everyone knows that my house is always a dump. I like to keep the expectations low, you know. But if I were to have an impromptu gathering with just 3 minutes to prep, I can think of a few good tricks to make people believe we are less than slovenly:

1. Make the mess bigger, really trash the place. Then when my guests arrive, tell them that the police just left after mistaking my address for a criminal's and searching the house for evidence.

2. Greet my guests in the driveway and explain that the welcoming ritual in our land is to pound seven shots of tequila before entering the house.

3. Move.

4. Hide.

5. Clean up a little. Yawn. Wipe down the bathroom as Beth described, shove the odd debris littering the couch into the storage ottoman, hide the laundry baskets in the bedrooms and shut the doors, do a quick run through with the broom, and take out the recycling. Then start pouring shots....


Anonymous said...

Just ask Beth what I would do...she grew up with this neatness freak.
30 secs. to wash the one dish in the sink and 30 secs to remove the neat pile of morning paper and 2 minutes to play Freecell.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

LOL, Jacquie. LOL both y'all. I just love my co-bloggers. To bits and pieces. I may need to write a song about it or something.


living a bit like Jacquie in PA said...

you don't want to know how many laundry baskets I own b/c I had to fill one with papers and junk off of every flat surface in an attempt to "straighten up" before guests were to arrive.
Easier to buy a new basket than go thru all the "stuff"!
Secret is out :)

Kathi D said...

I would grab a duster and swish it around. With three dogs underfoot, the dust is always stirred up and all over everything. Deep! Any other mess I would blame on the dogs.

Anonymous said...

Acknowledging that I live in terror that anyone might drop by my house unexpectedly made me kind of sad (much earlier today). Thanks for making my sloth (one of the seven deadlies, Ellie) less mortifying.


Rita said...

OMG, this is my LIFE! I remember a line in "The House of Sand and Fog" where the guy noted that his wife kept the house as though they were always expecting important guests to arrive. Back then, I thought, holy cow, I could never keep house like that. I still can't, but my standards must've lowered, because my kids are FOREVER bringing people over with hardly any notice (they call me as they're leaving school with friend in tow).

My kids also ridicule me for being concerned about how the house looks for their friends, but you know, I don't want to be the house that the kids call derogatory names because it's so filthy. So, I am a wicked fast tidy-upper.

Tidying up for visiting adults is a more thorough affair. And I go through that fairly often, since those kids who visit inevitably have grown up parents who pick them up.

Anonymous said...

My place is always guest-ready. We do a major clean once a week and tidy up as we go along. There are always kids in and out of the place and neighbours appearing unexpectedly, so it's just easier to always have it tidy -- except for the kid's room. We just close that door.