Friday, May 23, 2008

Best laid plans...

Since we've been limited to one car, I've tried to invite friends for lunch on Fridays.

Here's a secret: I am NEVER ready. There is ALWAYS something that comes up to prevent my grand schemes from looking too perfect.

(Those of you who have been here to see me scramble, go ahead and laugh.)

Today I have the table set and most of the food ready, but my house is still not clean.

I think the pile of dirty laundry adds a certain je ne sais quois, don't you?

67 comments:

Meredith said...

I just noticed that the flatware placement is incorrect.

(I know some of you have eagle eyes!)

A big thank you to my six-year-old for pitching in and helping, especially when he is not excited about picking up the LEGOS for guests : )

Danette said...

I don't know, but I would give my eye teeth to have the dressing that is on that black bean/cors salad. We love salads that dot not involve your standard iceberg lettuce.

Purdy table!

womanofthehouse said...

I had to chuckle at the copy of The Tightwad Gazette on your counter. It just seems appropriate. LOL

Don't worry too much about your house. Do what you can, but it's more important to build your friendships. Your guests probably won't remember the state of your house, but they will remember the time they spent with you.

Anonymous said...

If anyone can pull it off, you can, Meredith!! Have a good time with your friends....& I hope the weather cooperates. :o)

Brenda

Laura said...

I love how the Tightwad Gazette is sitting on the kitchen counter...mine has been on my kitchen table the last few days as I am perusing it once again...I can always glean one*more*idea!!!!

Enjoy your Friday! How fortunate for your guests to be invited to such a lovely lunch party! :)

Kimberly said...

I think most folks would just feel at home, since their houses probably have a few things out of place as well! Besides, they are just probably thrilled to be invited to spend time with you at your home. Enjoy and ignore everything else. (That's what I keep telling myself, anyway!)

Kimberly said...

PS--I think the comment moderation is a good idea. :)

Diane said...

Heh - I'd view the pile of laundry as making special effort to truly make my guests feel "at home".

People have such wildly different ideas of what standard of "clean" constitutes an acceptable level for guests eyes. I've come to the realization that no matter how clean it is, someone will consider not clean enough. Conversely, if I think it is a bit messier than I'm used to, someone else may think I made a special effort to clean for them! (we're not going to go into what that may or may not say about my normal standards...)

Just relax and enjoy your guests! I love the way your table looks.

Anonymous said...

Meredith, you are so funny! Just grab an empty laundry basket, do a quick pick-up and you'll be fine. So, on top of all your other fine talents, you also speak French!? Wow!!
Mrs. L

April said...

Thank you for the dose of reality... and humor!

I was admiring the silver. I'm not one of the eagle-eyed... :)

Have a lovely lunch. Laundry will wait for you!

Another Anna said...

I always figure that too much perfection can be intimidating to guests. A pile of laundry or dusty stairs can just help people relax and enjoy themselves. I'd rather my guests pity my housekeeping skills than feel intimidated by the way I decorated (I'm a little like you in that I love arranging and making things look nice, but I'm not much of a cobweb-sweeper).

Or at least that's what I tell myself! :-)

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

I almost feel better when I go to a friend's house and it is not perfect. It makes me feel more at home, knowing that their house is more like mine. :) I'm there to see my friend, not their house. And I'm sure they're so dazzled by your spread and beautifully set table that they won't even notice the laundry!

Brenda said...

Haha! This sounds all too familiar. I am notorious for planning a party for weeks and then rushing around at the VERY last second trying to get everything finished!

Beautiful place setting and the laundry pile definitely gives your home a lovely lived-in look (you know most of your guests probably have a similar pile at their own homes!) Besides, true friends are coming over to spend time with you, not your house!

Tamara said...

Oh Meredith! You have no idea how refreshing that is to see! The photographic windows on your little world always look so perfect!

Nevertheless, I think having obvious imperfections when it comes to hospitality helps to set the guests at ease. Not so messy that they're afraid to sit down, but not so together that they are afraid to relax!

Enjoy your lunch!

Regina said...

yes... well... of course, since it's your house, even your pile of laundry seems to be artfully placed ;o)

LH said...

Brava, for your bravery in reminding all of us that the act of hospitality is/should be focused on connecting with people, and that the fear of having some detail undone shouldn't stop us. I have inherited my mother's frantic temper in the hour before company, even though the hour after company comes she and I both realize that love, laughter and forgiveness are why we have company.

We have a few wonderful funny stories regarding disasters that played out in front of company. As guests, we do not remember a single time when a material disaster made the fellowship less than a comfort and joy. There was the time the washer flooded the kitchen, the time Matt got his head stuck in the wrought iron fence, the burnt potatoes that set off the fire alarm, and the wedding china coffee pot that exploded and drenched three guests.

I am blessed to have these "disaster" memories because they are warm social memories.

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT!

Glad to see that your home is sometimes a mess too! Makes you seem more "real":)

Jen said...

Absolutely! This is something that I am TOTALLY and completely anal about and I need to let it go and relax. I know your friends will have a wonderful time--after all they aren't coming for the clean house or even the food, they are coming for the sweet fellowship! Enjoy!

Caroline said...

Thank you for honest posting in both words and pictures! Right now I am scrambling to get the entire house clean b/c my in-laws are coming to spend the night!

Kathy said...

I am never ready for company, I think I don't do enough pre planning or something. Today I am starting a master clean for next week.

Anonymous said...

Looks like home. :-)
Rita

Bethany said...

I can see that having weekly guests could really provide a certain motivation to keep a house very clean. I just don't think I could handle that, myself.

And dirty laundry definately adds something, but I just don't know what. ;)

Is that black bean salsa? Do you serve it with chips or as a salad? I'm never quite sure how it should go.

Anonymous said...

Meredith, your heart is pure gold. It goes to show the rest of us that you are human too. I am sure your friends enjoy the time spent with you more than they care if your house is clean.
A happy husband and children is always more important than a clean house in MY book. Blessings. Roxie

Michelle Smiles said...

Speaking as someone who received one of those lovely invitations (but was forced due to another obligation to ask for a raincheck) - no one will be bothered if your house isn't clean or things aren't perfect! It is just nice to get out of your own home and have lunch with another adult! Kudos to you for having guests over - I think too many of us allow worries over our homes not being perfectly clean or meals perfectly planned to stop us from extending those invitations.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This is too funny because I'm sure most people can relate. And I'm equally sure your friends won't care.

Glad I happened to stop by today. I enjoyed your honesty about yourself.

Shannon@Idylwild said...

A relaxed hostess is more important than a spotless house:) I know your company enjoyed being with you - I wish I was close enough to stop in:)

TracyMichele said...

I love it. It says, "People.Live.Here". :)

remodelingthislife said...

OMG that black bean salsa looks so yummy now I want to make some.

Forget the laundry and enjoy yourself.

Anonymous said...

i admire you opening up your self to hospitality, i must try to do that, i resist it too much

i expect perfection from myself, yet not from those who i visit...

and i'm not picking i swear. but i'm french canadian and i have to correct it...

Je ne sais quoi....

Un certain je ne sais quoi...

Merci pour ta patience...thanks for your patience...

Celina from Canada

Jen said...

I agree with Tamara:

"Oh Meredith! You have no idea how refreshing that is to see! The photographic windows on your little world always look so perfect!"

Seriously, I love that your house doesn't always look so picture perfect. Since I've apparently built you up to be some sort of super-home-woman, I can stop beating myself up. Really though, I get so many great ideas from you and am often inspired by your posts. You are the first blog that I discovered. Wow! I was so impressed. It seemed like a world of decorating magazines opened up to me...I read all the archives. I promise that I'm not a stalker, though! :)

LynnMarie said...

Meredith,
If I got a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich from a friend, I would not care about the dishes, laundry, or anything else. I would feel loved!
I love how "normal" you are!

Margo said...

I totally agree with "another anna" so I won't repeat what she wrote!
I'll just add: I NEVER NEVER apologize for the state of my house. It makes me uncomfortable when a host/ess does that to me - I'm there primarily to see them!

Cat said...

It's good to see you're human and have messes too! I love so many of your ideas but sometimes have felt intimidated by all the "perfection" (as a housework-impaired homeschooling mama to 4 ;) ). I used to never have anyone over unless my house was thoroughly cleaned, but after visiting some messy houses and having a good time, I've tried to loosen up a little.

Thanks for the honest picture!

Ewokgirl said...

You know what? Dirty laundry is nothing. Really.

I have a cat who possesses the innate sense to know when someone is just about to show up, so he always chooses that moment to enter his litterbox and make the biggest stink imaginable. THAT is embarrassing!

Oh, and we were at a friend's house once, and their cat climbed in Steven's and my laps. We thought he was being all sweet, but then he peed on us!

So really, dirty laundry is no big deal! LOL. Besides, it's always a relief to see that the person who always seems to have it together really doesn't. Makes everyone else feel better about their own imperfections.

Amy said...

Hee, hee. That is when you decide that al fresco is the way to go and tell them the bathroom is out of order :)

As always, I just love seeing the real side of you!!

holynickel said...

I always say it is about the fellowship not the house.....unless I don't know you very well..LOL.

It looked great to me,

Meredith said...

Thanks, Celina...I knew I had something wrong but was scrambling to get something up on the blog before tossing that pile of laundry in the machine!

Anonymous said...

There's a small sign that I have hanging in my house. It has always brought some understanding comment or laughter. I have never yet met anyone who cannot relate.

"My idea of housekeeping is to sweep the room with a glance."

Andrea said...

Meredith, I can't help but giggle. Not at you, but the life you continue to share with us. There are so many bloggers out there who post incessantly about their schedules, homemaking with littles, show before and after pictures of their scrupulously clean homes....I swear, it gives me a complex!

Frankly, I'd rather have a house that is lived in, with lots of kiddos (okay, so, four!), and lots of love than a perfect home.

Laundry is neverending in our home, there's always a stack on the couch. My cookbooks often litter one (or all!) of the kitchen counters, and my library book stack threatens to overtake our bookshelf by the door on a regular basis. But you know what? My home is sanitary and clean - a little bit of clutter is nothing. Especially when you and your husbamd share over 1000 books in a 1000 square foot apartment. Not to mention the baby gear and toys...

Enjoy your day, my dear! I LOVE the napkins!

Amy G. said...

You know what? With good food and great conversation, the laundry can do as it pleases. :) To me, it shows that you are comfortable enough to have guests see your real life, and that is REAL hospitality!

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

I love the jug of flour next to the battered Tightwad Gazette. This is so my kitchen.
Lunch looks lovely. I had stale cheez its at the park with the kids.

Michelle said...

Meredith, with such an inviting table I didn't even notice the flatware placement. When I was pregnant with our third child (3 children under 5), I placed a sign on the front door of our military quarters: "If you came to see me, come on in. If you came to see my house....make an appointment." :)

I love your idea of Friday luncheons. It seems hospitality is a dying art and definitely worth passing onto our children.

Nancy said...

Friends come to see YOU, not your house!

Chief Family Officer said...

I don't care if there's laundry on the floor, I still want to be invited to your house for lunch! :)

Tubo Family said...

Me too! But am learning to keep two things in mind: a suggestion a veteran mom gave me when my first was less than a year--say "I'd apologize for the mess but it might be worse the next time you see it." and triage: knowing you can't do it all, asking does this piece (ie, dirty laundry) directly impact my guests? If not, move on to the next task and ask the same question again. Of course, if you're like me you can get so into entertaining or "special projects" that you're letting the day-to-day slide too often.
P.S. yay for comment moderation though hope its not too much extra work for you

Becky said...

Uuummm Meredith...maybe you could do a quick swipe at the house in the time you took to post this message. Just a thought! LOL

(just ribbin' ya a bit!)

V. said...

I have a little sign right inside my front door that says "

Come on in
Sit down, converse,
Our house doesn't always
look this bad,
sometimes it's even worse!

I love it.

V.

Patty said...

well i just think it makes your home have that natural look, the unpretensious look. One I would be comfortable in

Anonymous said...

The house looks like it could be "picked up" and look ok in about 15 minutes. The table looks inviting. Are those Williams Sonoma napkins? I think I have the same ones in my napkin drawer that I had almost forgotten about. I did notice the silverware was placed incorrectly (I am an etiquette consultant) but thought I best not mention it for fear that people would get riled up and accuse me of picking on you. Besides, I know that you know how to set a table! And, if it makes you feel better, my French is a bit rusty, too!

The picture looks like the perfect setting for a lovely afternoon visit. I doubt that anyone would want to go inside, anyway! P

Kimmie said...

Oh, I love your honesty. Takes a big heart to be able to poke fun at oneself.

Hope you enjoyed your get together. How wonderful to have friends.

Kimmie
mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

SK and Family said...

Looks like fun! The heat limited our time on our deck today--whew!
:)

Karen said...

I'm so happy you're human. :)

Bobbie said...

I bet your friends were so happy to come over to see you and visit they did not look around the house... and if they did it was only to say... how does she manage to keep the house so clean and invite us over for lunch?

nea said...

looks like my home with the kitchen aid and tightwad gazette on the kitchen counter! today, i also had dishes waiting to be put away, power tools on the floor, and a dirty laundry basket waiting to be taken down to the washer. such is life as a sahm, i have discovered!

LISA said...

Looks good to me!

Anonymous said...

Meredith,

It wasn't the flatware or the laundry I noticed first, but the curled edges of your well-loved TG.

Hope it was a relaxing afternoon for you both!

deb meyers

Heather said...

Hi Meredith! What a blessing you are! We don't try for the 'Better Homes and Gardens' look when we have company either - because over the years, I have found that when I relax, our guests relax. I do have two empty laundry baskets for a 'quick grab and shove in the closet' and that works for me. I have even written 'Welcome' in the dust on my mantle! As long as the bathrooms are spotless and smell fresh (who cares about the tub toys?) and the friendship is genuine, your guest will feel right at home. Close the doors to any rooms that you don't need for the visit, and just enjoy!

Tracey said...

Thanks for showing us that your human!!! Supermom!

BeachNerd said...

I found when my kids were younger that the dryer holds an amazing amount of stuff when company drops by. I'm not talking about clothes, either. ;)

Anonymous said...

I bought those napkins! Clearance @ Target!! Julie

Meredith said...

Cool!

I think this set came from Sur La Table, via Goodwill--a quarter apiece on half price day : )

Sandy said...

MMMmmm, the food looks delic! Who cares about the piles :)))

There are always things that I want to get done, that I don't. It is what it is! It's about the friends ...

frugalbabe.com said...

I would love to come over for lunch at your house - I like going into someone's house and having it not be spotless. Makes me realize that my not-perfectly-clean house is normal, and the magazine pictures of houses with only a vase of flowers on the kitchen counter aren't the way most people live. Besides, people are there to see you and eat good food - they probably won't even notice the house anyway.

artgirlATL said...

I'm glad to see that even your laundry gets behind occasionally. I have to hide mine when I have unplanned guest. no real laundry room and kids who are clothes horses make for quick sprouting piles.

Katie said...

I think that if one of my friends hosted Friday luncheons, I would be terribly excited, and it would make it all the more relaxing if everything wasn't "perfect perfect." What a fun idea to have friends over like that on Fridays! And that bean & corn dish looks delish!

TJ said...

Thank you so much for showing this photo! My house is never as clean as I wish when people arrive. In fact my father-in-law so kindly remarked at our Christmas Eve party "I haven't seen your house this clean since you moved in."

None of us are perfect, yet it is so easy for some of us to believe that your home is. Your setting looks lovely, and I'm sure that guests are happy for the invite, no matter what is stacked on the floor.

Deb said...

I love that you stopped to snap a photo of the mess. Always thinking like a blogger...