Sometimes you need a deadline. Something to light a fire under you. I’ve found that the best deadline for me involves hosting a party. Or having overnight guests for the weekend. I mean real guests, not just your family. (Not that my family isn’t real, but you know what I mean.) Nothing like having company to make you dig out the long-lapsed to-do list and go into hyper-drive. This past weekend we hosted a gentleman, his wife and daughter, who were in town to interview for a position at our church. Yes, perfect strangers. We felt like the interview was going both ways and it was up to us to make a good impression on behalf of our church. The pressure was HUGE! Or maybe it was just me…..
Now, I should probably give my husband’s side of this. Give ME a deadline and he starts to sigh. Every wife knows those sighs. The ones that mean he knows what’s coming: THE LIST. The honey-do list becomes a this-has-to-be-done-immediately list. There will be no rest until the list is accomplished kind of sigh. You’d think most men would just bite the bullet and get on with it. But it is my experience that the more urgent my list, the more he will find something totally unrelated to start on. Like cleaning out the garage or rearranging his fishing gear. Totally not necessary to the event at hand; a passive-aggressive act of defiance in the face of THE LIST. It’s enough to make a wife sigh.
In my defense he should have known what he was getting into. When we got married we (okay maybe I) decided to host our wedding reception at home; 100 people two weeks before Christmas. And I wanted to cook most of the food myself. Yes, I was clearly delirious with love, or something, but he learned very early on that I was the master of list-making. I had lists and sub-lists. Is there anything more satisfying than marking something off the list. Well, he might say, never having a list to begin with, but somebody has to keep our life organized. Back when we had kids at home, with all their activities, I pronounced myself the “Keeper of the Calendar”. I had a wipe-off board/calendar on the fridge to keep track of all the comings and goings. And in the early days of our married life he would stand in front of the fridge and ponder the schedule like it was in hieroglyphics. All this is to say that we have a history of one of us being the list maker and calendar keeper, and one of us being her man-servant. Ok, not really, but he is fully aware of what happens to me when an event, like out-of-town company, gets added to the calendar.
Sigh……….to take a deep audible breath (as in weariness)
Let me interject here that my closest friends think my hubby is a saint for putting up with me all these years. Seriously, what kind of friends are those?! Just because I get a little intense when it comes to party planning or company-hosting. Just because I get positively twitchy at the mention of planning a church tea for 200. Just because I talked him into buying a 90+ year old house, restoring it, and running an event business out of it! Just because I have a hard time saying no when asked to do something like host perfect strangers for the weekend. I’ve never understood their point.
But, since here we are these days in a practically brand new house, the list is fairly light weight. Hosting company for the weekend was not an event that sent him out to sort through his tackle box. And even though it also meant a dinner party for ten on Saturday evening, he actually seemed to enjoy sharing our home with friends AND strangers. And I managed to knock a couple things off the list without him. I work best under pressure, but I’ve learned some lessons over the years. I’ve found out the hard way that I can’t enjoy the actual event if I’m exhausted from the preparations, so we ordered most of the food. I’ve learned it’s more about how you welcome people than about having everything Pinterest-perfect (though I do find pleasure in trying to make it all look pretty.) But most of all I’ve learned that all that sighing, be it his or mine, is actually joy-sapping. It’s really, really hard to be a good hostess if you’re grumpy with your hubby. Plus, he’s a lot more willing to help with the cleanup if I’ve gone easy on him in the days leading up to the festivities. Yep……a little wisdom=a lot less sighing.