Here is what you do when your college friend from 1984 through 1987 is coming to visit Monday and you haven’t seen her in eighteen (?) years and you are keenly aware that she possesses exquisite interior decorating superpowers which she demonstrated during the summer of 1985 by using small lamps to make a former Hotel 6 room (with aqua shag carpet) seem homey. (We lived as roommates in said hotel room during that summer when I first met my eventual husband who is upstairs at the moment wondering if I’ll ever come to bed before midnight.
1. Borrow a dump-truck and rid yourself of the hand-me-down sectional with the rips and stuffing the children like to pull out and leave in fluffy balls on the floor. Buy a new couch. And a matching chair because you can.
2. Paint over the red stripes in your living room which seemed festive and whimsical in 2002 but which have annoyed you for at least three years. And paint the rest of the family room and the entry-way while you’re at it. Consider painting the vivid golden yellow living room, but decide against it because who cares. (Besides me, I mean.)
3. Spend Saturday hunting for a replacement glass lamp fixture for the vintage lamp which your daughter broke several weeks ago. A bare light bulb might be acceptable for every day use, but not for a visit by your long-lost friend–and her husband and his sister.
4. Re-hook the draperies by the patio window because you put the hooks in the wrong place the first two times and were too lazy to fix it two (three?) months ago.
5. Remember that you meant to install new curtain rods and curtains in the kids’ bedrooms upstairs. Oops. Wonder if it even matters. Consider ways to keep your friends from going upstairs. “No, our bathroom is broken.”
6. While your desk is pulled out from the wall so you can paint, unplug every computer, printer, light and electronic device. Sort out the cords. Plug in the brand spanking new surge protector and replug everything. Dust desk. Rearrange. Admire.
7. Thank God that you had the forethought to lose 57 pounds in the last two years. Because, seriously, that is the worst feeling in the world knowing that you have no choice but to see people who knew you when you were young and cute and had no idea that you were young and cute. (“Cute”? Well, you were young. And had a ton of rock-star permed hair and skinny legs back when skinny legs and giant sweaters and long shirts were all the rage.)
8. Hire someone to paint the upstairs master bathroom, even though you don’t intend to let anyone see your bedroom because after twenty years of marriage, you still have four Rubbermaid tubs serving as bedside tables.
9. Hire a carpet cleaner.
10. Hire a housecleaner and then spend most of Saturday shopping and seeing a movie.