One brilliant thing about 40licious is that you get adept at pattern recognition -- unless you are so ingrained in the pattern that you can no longer step outside and recognize it as such.
For example! Every Friday I come home, exhausted, day piled upon day, a week of service to the good people of Southern California. I usually make dinner for one or more people, because it's the start of the weekend and who wouldn't want to do that? But each time, I get home with a box of groceries and realize that my house looks like meth addicts camped there for a week, what with knitting all over the couch (sure, meth addicts can knit. They can do an afghan in an hour!); mail, napkins, electronics, scraps of paper for cards all over the desk; every sweater or jacket I wore heaped on my chair; yet more guts from Lucy's stuffed bear all over the floor.
There is the mad dash to get the long cooking thing done (tonight it was spicy sausages from Mario's), then the other mad dash to make the house look like Thing 1 and Thing 2 did their thing.
If you want to make your house look presentable in 10 minutes or less, just follow these easy steps:
1. Spray every surface of the bathroom with Begley's Best, or similar eco-friendly cleaner.
2. Draw the shower curtain closed and give a swipe to the parts that show.
3. Shove all knitting paraphernalia into bag, move to end of couch.
4. Throw all magazines on coffee table away in recycling bin. The will not be read anyway.
5. Eat Trader Joe's Peppermint Double-Stuffed Oreo Dipped in Dark Chocolate with Peppermint on Top.
6. Quick Sweep.
7. Spray lovely grapefruit scent, light candles and set table. Voila!
But here's the great part about a night like tonight. When your best friends from 4th and 5th grade come over, and they are amazing and smart and funny and inspiring and do really good dream interpretation about the dream with the dead horses in it, it does not matter that you forgot the dust bunny behind the bathroom door, or that there is a huge pile of miscellaneous Christmas paraphernalia on in the middle of the room.
What does matter that I chose well when I was 10, and I am a better woman for it.
Jo and Steph, I love you madly. Happy Christmas, and thank you for all you bring to my life.