Mobilise the troops, we’ve got visitors coming….


On Saturday night we've got some friends coming for dinner. This doesn't sound like a big deal does it? Well, for normal households it possibly isn't but you see we Mr Vicola and me aren't really very tidy. And one of the people coming round is an OCD cleaning fanatic with a passion for bleach. Mr Vicola and me are only really on nodding terms with the bleach and we both work full time which means that operation "Make the house not look shit, hide the junk that usually lies around the place and make every surface sparkle" has to start a week before the actual event just so we can get everything done. I both envy and despise these people whose houses you can drop in to without warning and find sparklingly clean and immaculate and minimal looking. Mr Vicola and I will never live in minimal because we have far too much stuff. Don't get me wrong, most of it isn't very useful and I'd say a good 80% of it won't be utilised from one year's end to the next but it's kept because 'you never know when you might need it' or because it has sentimental value. Every so often we have a blitz and throw loads of it away but somehow, within a year we've ended up with exactly the same amount of house-crap as we had before. How does that happen? Is there some sort of evil leprechaun that sneaks into the loft in the middle of the night and fills it with crap like the big, stinky barbour coat that we all know Mr Vicola will never wear but will not throw away? Or the video recorder which was so complicated that after 2 years I hadn't figured out how to use it and could still only record a channel if I was watching it? Or the first set of golf clubs that Mr Vicola bought and doesn't ever use because now he's got some better ones that he doesn't have to bend over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame to use? Or the many cardboard boxes? Or the size 8 clothes that I stand bog all chance of ever fitting in again but have kept in case someone invents a miracle cure for the squidgy bits that grow round your midriff once you pass 25? All useless crap but all taking up house space.

Anyway, operation "Sparkly Showhome" is now underway. Mr Vicola has vacuumed the whole house, which will of course need doing again on Saturday afternoon because the dog has abandoned seasonal moulting in favour of shedding acres of fur all year round. He has also tidied the conservatory,cleaned it and scrubbed all the downstairs window. I suppose it would be fair to say that so far he has done the lion's share of work, since my contribution has been to hide the basket of ironing in the cupboard under the stairs, but in my defence I am doing all the cooking on Saturday and am taking tomorrow afternoon off to tackle the mountain of my clothes that has grown at the end of the bed and to clean the bathroom, the ensuite and the downstairs loo. Buying a house with three toilets seemed like a great idea until I realised you had to bloody well clean them all. A liberal splash of bleach will be added to each before our guests arrive, in an attempt to make our clean friend feel at home. As someone who is definately not a domestic goddess of any variety, the idea of spending the next few days cleaning like a demon is making me itch. My great aunt had a very valid point when after a few large tumblers of almost neat gin she informed me that "Any woman who works should always have a cleaner". Damn right they should and I think it's about time that the people who set my salary realised this.

In other news, my father in law has deposited £11k in my bank account. Sadly it isn't a gift, it's to buy a campervan for cash off some bloke in Trafford. Don't ask me how this has come about because I've no idea but the urge to take his money and bugger off to the Seychelles for a month then claim I know nothing about where it could possibly have gone is almost overwhelming…..

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24 Responses

  1. three toilets? I didn't know houses ever came with three!

  2. Ah yes, we're well posh! It's a smallish three bedroom (or more accurately two bedroom and a box room) sized semi with a little downstairs loo just to the left of the front door as you come in, a loo in the main bathroom at the top of the stairs and another one in the ensuite off the bigger bedroom. Currently we only have two functioning toilets as once again the pipe from the downstairs loo is leaking, causing the cistern to empty under the lino and the carpet in the hall. So for the 4th time in two years the plumber is coming out to look at the bloody thing.

  3. So, why exactly have you invited these people round? Much less traumatic to take 'em all out for a curry, surely?

  4. Mr Vicola invited them round when he was pissed last weekend, the reason being that they asked to come round once before, when they were in the area but we had builders in, the place was a right state and the man delivering the glass had just left the most appalling stink in the downstairs bog that had permeated the whole house, so he told them they weren't allowed. Ever since then they've taken the mick out of me every time they've seen me, claiming that they aren't good enough to come to our house. On the plus side it has galvanised us into doing some much needed tidying that we wouldn't have bothered doing otherwise.

  5. Your guests are going to LOVE your leaking toilet. I know I would.

  6. Tell you what, invite your "friends" from across the road over for dinner as well, on the understanding that they provide the, er, after dinner entertainment. No-one will care whether the house was bleached well enough, or not.

  7. Nothing says "welcome to our house" like the hall carpet squelching underfoot as you walk in the door….

  8. Ah but that would involve acknowledging we've spotted something usual about their property and being British, it's considered rude to do so unless it's absolutely unavoidable. Even when the girl across the road was trying to surreptitiously load all her belongings into the boot of a land rover to do a moonlight flit from the rent man we just smiled and said good morning without mentioning the fact that she appeared to be stealing kitchen appliances.

  9. Doesn't sound too good to me. Can't you throw a sickie and come down with a recoverable bout of leprosy or something?

  10. Ours isn't exactly Balmoral either to be honest. It's a small three bed semi in a suburb and I try to discourage visitors if at all possible because if they're there for any more than an evening, with the exception of a very small number of people, they get on my nerves. I'm currently trying to persuade Mr Vicola to invite his mother and The Twat to come for their annual visit to ours while my parents are in India so that I can put them in their house, not mine….

  11. A neighbour of ours when faced with the prospect of posh visitors just threw all the crap including dirty dishes under the beds. I should get him to write a book on visitor etiquette and send you a free copy.PS Sounds like you are describing our house, only you've got 2 extra toilets to clean:-)

  12. At the point that my friend knocked on the door on Saturday, we realised that we probably wouldn't have time to clean the house before she came up the stairs so I just fed her vanilla vodka until I judged she wouldn't be able to notice it any more.

  13. Spending a week cleaning the house must be pretty tough 🙂 I remember sometime back one of my friends said she is going to take a holiday and come and visit me for a week and immediately my blood pressure went up. My home has never been 'guest-friendly' with things lying all over the place – especially in the living room! I had a harrowing time clearing things off the table, chairs and other furniture and searching around and finding good places to hide them in. Luckily I found enough room to hide all that 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful time with your guests on Saturday!

  14. It's a fantastic idea and in the spirit of this I will be spending this evening shoving crap into cupboards and wardrobes. Someone needs to write the Commoner's Guide to Etiquette, it's what the world is missing.

  15. Brilliant! That system means you only need to keep one room halfway presentable and can sit your guest in there until they're too smashed to notice that the rest of the house looks like it's been gatecrashed by tramps. From this point on I'm going to insist that no one can have a guided tour of my house until they've drunk at least 6 vodkas or glasses of wine!

  16. A week? Good lord I'd not have anyone staying for a whole week, they'd drive me daft. I'm glad to see from these comments that it's not jsut me that goes for the 'hide the junk' option, rather than actually dealing with it!

  17. Well, I learnt from that visit and became wiser 🙂 Hiding is a really good option. It is amazing how many wardrobes and cupboards and others places open up to accommodate our stuff – places which we wouldn't have normally thought of :)Wish you all the best on the 'hiding' front 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful and pleasant time on Saturday!

  18. That 11,000 would buy a lot of house cleaning by professionals……. I usually put "stuff" into large garbage bags and hide it. The really hard part comes when you have to remember which bag you put something you want now into.

  19. I subscribe to the theory that only people whose great-grannies were 'in service' get upset about the day-to-day immaculate…ness? immaculate..iety? of their abode. And that in this day and age, the zen look is for servile, unable-to-rise- above-their-heritage drones.
    I also make sure aquaintances have had this edifying information passed on to them before they visit. *winks*
    Also, I keep my mum, my oldest sister, and my sister-in-law at arm's length with displays of irascibility, ill-temper, and insensitivity at family gatherings… works a treat, nobody ever wants to visit.
    That, or maybe it is the large Afghan Hounds that insist on investigating people's crotches with long, pointy noses when I open the door…

  20. My mum used to spend a Tuesday night cleaning the house from top to bottom because the cleaner was coming on Wednesday morning and she didn't want her to think she was a slob. How weird is that? I subscribe to the 'only boring people have immaculate houses' theory myself. It makes me feel better about the fact that mine is usually a pit of despair.
    If any family head this way they always stay at my parent's house because it's bigger and has more bedrooms than mine. I like this system. However my best efforts at being grumpy, starting arguments and discussing politics have failed to discourage the inlaws from staying. I'm clearly going to have to try harder. Afghan hounds is a great idea, they've got such a lot of hair and if you get one very light coloured one and one very dark coloured, that guarantees that you can use dog hair to ruin any shade of outfit that someone should turn up in, thereby discouraging anyone from coming again. I've trained my dog to jump up a lot, especially if his paws are grubby…

  21. I rest my case.

    Oh, yeah – I have cats, too, just to cover all my pet-phobic bases.
    AND ginger ninja boy-childs… Sheesh, the effort I go to, just to have lovely, peaceful weekends free of intruders…

  22. They're gorgeous! And perfectly designed, when working as a team, to destroy the immaculate clothing of anyone visiting, no matter what colour they are wearing. They must be a sod to look after, that hair has got to require some serious maintenence. 2 big hairy dogs, some cats and some rampaging children, you really have made maximum effort to deter visitors. All you need now is a crocodile in the front garden….

  23. Hmmm… I do have an alcoholic bogan neighbour who harasses any unfortunates parked on the road outside his house – does that count?
    Actually, I bashfully confess to having something of a reputation in my street as being perfectly able to savage passing over-loud teens, Mormons, door-to-door salesmen, alcoholic neighours on my own account. So I don't really need a crocodile, I'm probs self-sufficient – see why you neeeeeed to let me have your babies?!
    Heh, my doggies live a sad life of many baths and much brushing – yeah, I am a big girly dog tragic, I also groom a small and exclusive clientele of friends' dogs for minimal charge… Should register as a Doggy Day Spa, instead of blogging around all day.

  24. My dad is also quite good at getting rid of those who arrive at the door. His savaging of the Betterware man one evening, who included the yelled phrase "Are you a moron or are you just plain rude?" has gone down in family history. And our family home is blacklisted by Betterware.

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