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How to prepare for dinner guests without getting stressed out

The bathroom is out of order

Having friends over for dinner can be a stressful event. People will come in your home and judge you if you can not keep the top of your door frames free of dust. Turn  your back for one second and they might pull out the white gloves and run their hand across the top of your door frames.

The shame of dusty door frames is hard to overcome.

You know when people come to your home they are not really coming to see you. Guests are coming to see how clean you can keep your home. 

To avoid anxiety and throwing dirty pots at the kitchen wall, please follow my advice:

1. Have the guests arrive at dusk. Never have company during daylight hours. The light streaming in the window shows dust more clearly. If you must have company during the day close the windows and pull the curtains or close the blinds. ( Or just have your friends meet you at the park.)

2. Put an out-of-order sign on the bathroom door. If your guests think the bathroom is out-of-order you will not have to clean it.

3. Do not serve any liquid refreshments. If your quests are thirsty give them ice chips to suck on. If they don’t drink any liquids they won’t have to use the bathroom. Thankfully the gas station has a bathroom and it is only a three-minute drive away. You can always offer to go with them so they won’t get lost. Do not offer to take them in your car because that would require you to clean out all the empty Monster Drink cans on the floor.

4. Allow your guests to leave on their shoes. If you know your company usually wears white socks call and ask them to wear black socks. Be prepared in advance in case they insist on taking off their shoes.

5. Buy house slippers in a variety of sizes. Be prepared in case your guest insist on taking off their shoes and they are wearing white socks. With one dog and four cats, it is impossible to have all of the animal hair swept. Right after you sweep the animals shed again. It is hopeless.

6. Give your guests brown tinted sunglasses to wear as soon as they step in the door. Your previously white carpets are now dark brown in spots. If your guests are wearing sunglasses the carpet will appear evenly black.

7. Do not turn on the lights. Light a few scented candles in the living room and kitchen and tell your guests, “We want to pretend it is 1776.”  This will keep you from having to put away toys, or vacuum the carpets. If you don’t have to clean you will have time to watch television all day.

8. Buy already cooked food from the grocery store. Do you get stressed out over possibly burning the food? Don’t worry. Buy food from the store. Put the roasted chicken in one of your own pans and pretend you made it. Buy a pie and put it one of your own pie pans. Remember to put the pans from the store in the trash. If you ask how you made it taste so good say, “It helps to keep it warm.” Do not lie. If they ask for the recipe tell them, “I will try to get it for you.”

9. Use paper plates, paper napkins and plastic silverware. Do not allow yourself to be stressed out by the potential of having to wash your dirty dishes that are all over your kitchen cupboards.

10. Put all of your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Do not worry about running the dishwasher or putting away the clean dishes after the dishwasher runs. If your guests ask you to use a real plate you can honestly tell them, “They are all dirty.” Do not say, “I forgot to run the dishwasher, “unless you really did forget. You do not have to have any moral anxiety about having to lie.

11. Open your oven door and place all of your dirty pots and pans in it. Take black duct-tape and tape the door shut. Place a clean t-towel over the handle to hide the duct-tape. If they try to look in your oven, just tell them, “That door is hard to open.” You are not lying. An oven door taped shut with duct-tape would be hard to open.

12. Spend all day pampering yourself. Soak in the bathtub for hours, or go to the gym and lift weights. Have a fun day by spending it how you want. Do not worry about cleaning your home.

13. Brush your teeth and put on a clean pair of sweatpants. If all of your clothes are dirty, when they walk in the door say, “Oh no, I  spilled tomato sauce all over my pants.”  Or substitute what ever food your clothes are covered with. Avoid saying, “I just did this.”  It is important to remain truthful with your friends.

14. Clean the litter boxes. The only thing you have to do is clean the litter boxes and walk your dog. Always take care of your animals. This is one area of your life that can not be compromised. When the movie of your life is played, you always want to be able to say in the credits.  “No animals were harmed during the making of this life.”

At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived. —Rose Macaulay

15. Now dear friends. Listen to me and Rose Macaulay, run the bath water and live your life. Your guests are really coming to see you, not  your dusty door frames.

Do you have anything to add to my list? Please tell me in the comments. I need all the help I can get. Company is coming tonight at dusk.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • oddznns

    I laughed through all this Pamela. Seriously though, that Rose MacAuley quote so makes sense . “At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived”

    • So happy my article brought laughter to your home. The evening went well. I even cleaned the bathroom and didn’t burn any food.
      Now time to go and leave the dishes on the counter and live.

  • Oh my word Pamela! I laughed all the way through this post. As for #11 – been there, done that and forgot to ever get them back out. Turned on the oven and melted every piece of tupperware I owned at the time!

    • Hello Kim,
      I am so happy this made you laugh.
      And you made me laugh. Melting your tupperware. That must have made a huge mess.

  • La McCoy

    This is perfect. Thank you.
    I no longer need to feel guilty for just sweeping the sand from Edel’s paws into the corner. the guest can not see it after dark. I do go to bed before dark so We need to work on that one.
    My only question is where do you warm the pre cooked food? OR do you serve cold food? After dark? hummmmm.

    • Yes Laura, you never have to worry about the sand in Edel’s paws. Just invite your company after dark.
      We have two ovens so I am safe. We did wash the pots this morning. But I have been writing all day, and they are coming in three hours and I haven’t vacuumed yet or cleaned the bathroom. Perhaps I will leave the sign on the door and have them drive to the gas station to go potty.

      • La McCoy

        What if you have to go potty?

        • You have to drive to the closest gas station. (I am about to clean the bathroom, but if I run out of time…)

  • Maybe it’s because my brother Gus had white fur cats, but black socks really showed off the hairs. I was surprised when you wanted white socks. Funny post Pamela.

    • Hello Anne,
      I never thought about how the color of the cat would change the color of the desired sock. Yes, white socks would be better at your brother Gus’s house.