Thursday, October 28, 2010

Get out of my way, I gotta hurry!

Not that long ago I wrote about how I love Halloween and the open house we have on the 31st, which is fast approaching! 

This week, I'm running around getting ready to have a bunch of people come into my home to eat food and talk and laugh, I'm cleaning, inventorying decorations and baking.  In the last two days I've made 12 loaves of pumpkin bread.  I haven't made any more than that because I ran out of eggs, but that issue will be remedied today.  Today, I'll also be doing the last of the heavy cleaning and figuring out what else I need to get, like bowls and spoons for beef stew and more candy. 

I mean, we  have enough candy to give out to the trick-or-treaters, but only if I'm stingy with it and I really don't want to be known as the stingy house.  And Scott and I need our personal bags of our favorites,  he likes Paydays and Almond Joys, I like Twix and Snickers.  I have to get these treats when the kids aren't with me because their father and I are mean parents who will hide these bags of candy so we won't have to share. 

I'm also one of those awful moms who dumps her children's candy out on the kitchen table around 11 p.m. and sorts through it for the good stuff.  I have a fond memory of sitting at my friend Alisa's kitchen table in the wee hours of November 1st talking while we sifted through our respective daughter's goodies, gorging ourselves on 3 Musketeers and Pixy Stix. 

So, to-do list:  #1:  Buy candy. 

While I'm out buying candy, I'm going to check out what exactly is going on sale, because today's the day the markdowns on spooky stuff will begin to appear.  Stores want to get the stuff out of their inventories and I'm very happy to oblige them.  I'll purchase the ceramic witches to put on my kitchen windowsill so I have someone to talk to while I do dishes.  I'll take in those ghost shaped candle holders, who look so lonely on the shelf, feeling like no one wants them.   Sparkly pumpkins always have a place in my house, come on you gourds, you come home with me.

After I've completed my shopping, I'll need to get the house 'company clean', anyone else remember 'company clean'?  There was general, every day clean and then there was 'company clean' when I was growing up.  I was a child in the 1970's when it was a perfectly acceptable practice to boot children outside the house so they wouldn't make messes once the house had been slicked up for company.

As a child, I can remember walking up to other kids in the neighborhood and having them say "Oh, we're having company tonight." and understanding they weren't allowed back in the house until it was time for them to take an early bath and put on good clothes, 'company' clothes.  Many of the people I grew up with can remember being told not to use the guest bathroom or touch the clean towels and run for your life if you put anything on the coffee table.

I'm not quite that hard core about it, because the majority of our friends have children and understand that a house with kids only stays neat as a pin for so long before that illusion of organization falls apart, but I do make my kids help me in my endeavors.  They help unload the dishwasher, take their possessions upstairs, clear the dining room table and pick up the living room before they're sent next door to get them the hell out of my way.

I've also become resigned to just cleaning whatever rooms my guests will be seeing, meaning the lower level of my two-story home.  Upstairs, there are my children's bedrooms, their bathroom and Scott's music room.  Anyone who has been to my house knows I don't clean up there unless I really have no more choice due to odors or potentially hazardous walking conditions.  It's usually easier to walk down a hallway to a bathroom when you can actually see the floor, so when the carpet disappears under the rubble I pick up and vacuum so the next layer of rubble has a neat place to rest.   When parents venture upstairs to see what's up with kids, I always disclose that it's not clean up there and be careful where you step.

If I can get the downstairs cleaned up today, then it will just need to be maintained in the coming days.  I may or may not be able to contain my demon housewife who will want to shout to the other three people who live here "Pick up your shit!  Don't touch that!  Flush the toilet!".

And what will happen after I do all this manual labor to make my house sparkle and smell lemon-fresh?  It will make and wonderful impression on the first guests to arrive and then dissolve into the usual cluttered kid haven my children's friends love.

But, at least if it's not a stinky, cluttered kid haven I can consider my job well-done.  And this all needs to be done by day after tomorrow, so I gotta go. Where's the Windex?

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you have bangs and use hair products,  pin your bangs off your face when you're at home to minimize breakouts on your forehead.

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