When Gary and I got married, we had a small table with two chairs. The first time we had a friend over to dinner, Gary stood beside the table so that our friend and I could sit. While we loved our little table, it obviously wasn’t conducive to having guests. So, when we purchased a beautiful table with six chairs a couple months later, we happily announced on Facebook that we were ready to start hosting dinner parties. Lots of friends took us up on our offer.
It was fun. I would clean, and Gary would cook. Though I do the day to day cooking, Gary is a great cook and somehow always ends up cooking for our guests. Our stint of hosting dinner parties ended around the time I got pregnant with Baby G. Food aversion and hosting dinner do not go well together, and by the time my appetite was back to normal we were preparing to move. We bought a house, moved, and then focused on preparing for Baby G’s arrival.
Earlier this week, we decided it was finally time to have friends over. After Baby G’s arrival, several sweet friends brought us food and had dinner with us, but this would be the first time we’d be providing a nice meal for our guests since.
We invited good friends who not only helped us in the process of figuring out what our options were for purchasing a home, but who have had us over to their house twice since last fall. The invitation to join us for dinner at our house was long overdue. As the day for our mini dinner party approached, I realized I hadn’t left much space in my schedule to clean the house. An appointment to get my hair cut, lunch out with Gary, and meeting with our church small group took most of my free time the day before the dinner party. Still, dinner wasn’t planned until 6:30, so I told myself I’d have plenty of time to clean the day of. Oh silly woman. Cleaning with a two month old is not at all the same as cleaning with no baby.
Our house is usually pretty clean, but my sister and I agree there are three levels of clean. Everyday clean, Extended family clean and Company clean.
3 Levels of Clean
Everyday clean: No dishes in the sink, kitchen counters wiped down, bed made, most clutter put away.
Extended family clean: Everyday clean + all surfaces dusted, floors newly swept and vacuumed, almost no clutter.
Company clean: Family clean + every glass surface windexed, floors newly mopped, all surface in bathroom scrubbed, cabinets wiped down, zero clutter.
When hosting dinner, I always want the house to be company clean. At the time, it was only everyday clean.
The morning of the dinner party arrived. I woke up a bit later than usual, thanks to a late night for Baby G, whose form of protest at having her sleep routine disrupted by a visit to our church small group around her bedtime the night before was apparently refusing to sleep for hours past her bedtime.
As I went about my morning routine of feeding the dogs and making coffee, I discovered some unwelcome visitors. Sugar ants had decided to make a trek across our cabinets to congregate around the sink. Armed with a vinegar and soap mixture, I managed to get rid of them.
Then, Baby G decided she wanted to held. She accepted a ride in the Moby instead, but I quickly found that my cleaning abilities were severely impaired with a 12 pound baby strapped to my chest.
“What did I get myself into? Why didn’t I deep clean earlier this week! How will I get it all done?” I wondered as I attempted to reach for something on the bottom shelf of our pantry without jostling Baby G around too much in the Moby.
Luckily, Gary assured me I wasn’t on my own in my mission to get the house spotless. He swept, vacuumed and mopped the living room and dining room. He also prepared the meal, as usual for dinner parties.
By late afternoon, we had managed to get it all done! Two chickens and potatoes were cooking in the oven. I decided to contribute to the menu by making Carrabba’s Herb Olive Oil Dip for bread.
There was even time for Baby G and I to take a selfie, and for her to dance with Gary as one of his records played. Our friends arrived with their two little boys and we had a great evening together, talking, watching the boys play and holding Baby G.
Having friends over for dinner may not be quite as easy as it used to be, but it is still worth every bit of the effort. And now, we have a new member of the family who adds even more life to the party!
Do you have levels of clean?