Ever since I moved to Rome to study IT and eventually live and work, my parents found all kinds of excuses to visit me regularly. It isn’t a long plane ride from London. They adore the culture in all its various manifestations from the world famous cuisine, gorgeous cars, fashion from Milan, and the sophisticated film industry. Like me, they scramble to make time to visit the ancient ruins, the museums, gardens, and other historic landmarks. I love to show them around.
Thus, I look forward to their visits, but they decided to come at the last minute this time and I wasn’t prepared. I like to impress my mother with my housecleaning skills and my father with my neatness and organization; but everything was still in a shambles. I rushed around to get the place up to par. This included a mad-dash vacuum cleaning session. I hadn’t used the machine for a while and it took a while to get its bearings. It seemed to practically cough and choke getting going. It needed some motivation like a kick in the metal shins.
I longed for a few tips on fast cleaning techniques. Parents are the kind of guests who like to inspect the nooks and crannies, check out the condition of the cupboards, and scrutinize the inside of the stove and fridge. Not sure what they were looking for! They aren’t critical people as a rule. Not being a savvy housekeeper, I wondered if there were secret things I didn’t know. Various friends brought over fancy –cleaning products like tile and grout cleaner, oven degreaser, pretreated dusting rags, and kitchen cupboard fingerprint remover.
They also brought guest towels, small guest soaps that smelled divine, and cute woven baskets to stow my junk in and put under the bed. My neighbor brought a small flower arrangement in a cut crystal vase for the guest room. Her daughter added a nice sachet for the closet. I bought some satin padded hangars so it looked like a veritable hotel room. I expected them to be shocked by all the amenities. I even bought their favorite bottle of wine.
One of the great things about having company is that you clean your place top to bottom. That doesn’t happen very often, so this was a great excuse. Now I can go without a huge cleanup for months. Meanwhile, as you might have guessed, my parents were sublimely comfortable and commented endlessly on how nice my place looked. “We certainly don’t have to worry about you anymore, Betti,” my mother cooed. “You don’t need us anymore.”