yoinked from the inimitable Hyperbole and a Half
This weekend, my boyfriend and I hosted his little sister for her first-ever visit to Houston. Given that my manpanion and I have been living together for two years now and started dating a seeming eternity (five years) ago, it freaked me out how freaked out I was getting about her impending visit.
Despite the longevity of our relationship and her totally warm, non-threatening demeanor, Melissa’s visit sent me into more of a tizzy than any prior houseguest. Everything had to be PERFECT. Matchbook Mag-worthy. I’m not sure why I suddenly put such enormous pressure on myself; I can only assume it’s because my boyfriend's sister is in regular contact with their mother. Suddenly, oddly, it seemed important that he at least appear well cared for. A ‘50s-era housewife began rearing her hideous, unfamiliar, perfectly coiffed head.
My To-Do list began looking more and more absurd:
- Clean bathroom
- Wash sheets & towels
- Get bedside lamps
- Paint bedside lamps to look like mercury glass lamps you can't afford
- New kitchen rug?
- **Need Tchotskes** ceramic artichokes you saw on One Kings Lane?? Anthro knobbly candlesticks??
- fresh flowers
- learn how to arrange flowers
Ultimately, my efforts were futile. I got too happy at a happy hour the night before she landed and cut my cleaning/total overhaul time by two thirds as a result. Mel was as predictably gracious and laidback as ever, and didn’t seem to notice that the grout in the shower of our 1930s home is no longer sparkling white.
Or seem to miss the nonexistent tchotskes, or mind that instead, our mantle is filled with empty bottles we've kept for sentimental reasons (also bug spray.)
Mostly it was futile because it's pretty clear who takes care of whom in this relationship, despite all my last-minute efforts at spin. We take turns. And this time, the caretaker wasn't the girl melting down over tchotskes after too many shotskies — it was the boy putting her to bed.