I have several sets of family and friends coming into town this week.
Although we've been planning events for months, somehow circumstances managed to get away from me entirely. Until two days ago, that is, when a fortuitous phone call alerted me to the reality of the situation.
Oh, yeah. This is happening. And it's happening this week.
(Don't worry, friends of mine who are reading this. I'm not completely unprepared. I'm just... you know... flailing around in utter panic. As one does. But it's fine. Everything's fine. You should definitely still come.)
Much like enduring the Five Stages of Grief, surviving preparation for company can be an all-consuming whirlwind of chaos and emotion.
But we endure it as best we can, because it's usually worth it.
How to Prepare for Company in Five Easy Steps:
Step One: Denial - "I feel fine." Of course you feel fine: you scratched that note on your calendar months ago and then promptly forgot all about it; therefore, true panic won't strike until you realize how closely that date actually looms.
Just wait for it.
Step Two: Anger - "Why is this happening to me?" Because you're a disorganized wreck, that's why. Stop writing all of your stuff down in different places. Either put everything in your phone or everything on the kitchen calendar or everything in your pocket-sized date book. And for heaven's sake, stop scribbling down indecipherable notes on random envelopes and tiny scraps of paper that are handy at the time but which you promptly lose in the slush pile of nonsense on your kitchen counter.
Be an adult and get yourself together.
Step Three: Bargaining - "I'll do anything for more time to prepare." This is fruitless. For some strange reason, these people who are inexplicably still friends with you are slated to arrive in a very short time.
Step Four: Depression - "Why bother?" This stage most likely won't hit until you look at the state of your house and/or car. If it's too late to move, I suggest convincing a longsuffering friend or neighbor to swap residences and vehicles with you for the week. Be sure to make this arrangement with your most affluent connection. Not only will your guests be suitably impressed, but you will also get to feel what it's like to live inside the premise of a Romantic Comedy. After all, don't the best of them begin with just this same sort of wacky subterfuge?
And by the best, of course I mean the worst.
Step Five: Acceptance - "Resistance is futile." With the arrival of acceptance comes a return to sanity. If you're lucky, your panic will dry up, leaving you with enough time left over to do something productive about the state of your house. If no time remains for that, then there's still hope that you'll come to your senses and realize that your friends most likely come with the primary objective of having fun and spending time with you. Their purpose in visiting is not to inspect the state of your closets or judge you based on the questionable aroma that occasionally wafts up from the basement.
At least... not theoretically.
So you probably have nothing to worry about.
For the flip side, see: How to Be a Good House Guest