The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Mel White 

Cleaning for company

On the Bright Side


I admit it, I'm not real big on housework. I do it as little of it as possible. Okay, okay, really, I HATE HOUSEWORK!

But houses need work, and every now and then I find I have to do some (more) cleaning. I really identify with the saying "I dusted once and the dust came back; I'm not falling for that again!" and I try to put it off as long as possible...and usually until I'm expecting company.

In fact, I wonder if my house would ever really get cleaned at all if no one ever came over. Probably not.

But then the people who do come over may tell you differently, because they probably don't realize how I've cleaned up for them. Sometimes my cleaning efforts are rather hard to find.

I'm not all that unusual, I don't think. I went to dinner at the home of some new friends' once and their place was just as cluttered and dusty as any place I've ever seen (my own included). I didn't care – it felt so comfortable and homey – but they got to laughing about how they had "prepared" for company.

It seems that when one of them declared the house should be cleaned up for the dinner guests, instead of dusting the living room or dining room, she promptly set about cleaning out the drawers in the dining room breakfront. As if any of us guests would be looking in there.

Then another guest admitted that when she was having company, she always cleaned out her closets first – where again, no guests were expected to be – and someone else said she tended to hit the garage first in her efforts to tidy up for visitors.

I still laugh about those stories, especially every time I'm getting ready for houseguests. Like now. I'm expecting a visitor, and I've been madly organizing my CDs.

I did manage to uncover the guest bed, and things are dusted in the guest room and sparkling in the guest bathroom. But for some reason my extra efforts in getting ready for company have mostly centered on things that don't matter.

I'm not sure what the psychology is: perhaps I'm avoiding the big things and concentrating on the little things as a metaphor for something else in my life; perhaps when someone is coming I feel guilty for all the things I always intend to tend to but never get around to, so I think I should do those things first. Or the thought of having company makes me see my things in a new way and I'm appalled at how incredibly junkie the junk drawer is and I must do something about it right away!

As if any of it matters. I know my friend is coming to visit to see me, and I also know that she's not going to judge my house or my cleaning habits. If she does notice the dust on the mantel or the end table, she'll probably just write me a note in it.

I know that about all of my real friends, and those are the friends who are always welcome in my home.

© Copyright 2018. Mel White, local writer/photographer and co-owner of Tehachapi Treasure Trove, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996. She welcomes your comments at


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