Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Sweeping Around

I've been cleaning and straightening and planning and arranging for pretty much every minute starting from this afternoon until Monday morning, which are the parameters of my parents' visit. My parents come to Minnesota once a year, during the weekend of the Minnesota Shape Note Convention where we put them to work all weekend. But last year and then again this year our convention conflicts with the High Holy Days, and since my father now sings in the synagogue choir this has presented a conflict. So this year they are coming when there is no convention and there will be time to do a few things around town.

Well, not around town exactly. Tomorrow afternoon we are driving down to Spring Green Wisconsin (4-5 hours away) because Friday morning we will be touring Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin studio. We've been talking about doing this for a while, as my parents are big FLWright aficionados.

This is also the first time since I moved here that I will be putting my parents up in my own home. Even before my old place filled to the bursting beyond the point where I was comfortable having guests at all there was no good place for overnight visitors to stay. So my parents always stay with my friends Pat and Scott (whether I'm in town or not). Pat and Scott live in a bungalow that is very much like the house my mother grew up in, and they share my parents' current passion for the Arts and Crafts movement. So Pat and Scott look forward to housing my parents, which they do under the stipulation that I must let them have my parents for an evening. This has worked out fine.

But now I'm in the new place, the place I moved to in large part so that I could have people over, even overnight. My father was in town last February, without my mother, for a different Shape-Note event than the big convention in September. He likes my place, and claims my futon-sofabed is extremely comfortable. This is the first time my mother will be staying over.

So I've been cleaning. And straightening up. And sweeping, And sweeping again. And finding dirty corners. I mopped down the tiled front entryway. I swept the cobwebs off the basement stairs. The odd thing is that I'm not sure this has all made much of a difference; I really have been keeping the place up, and an old apartment such as mine will never be shining bright no matter what I do. Still, I've become obsessed. Every time I think I'm finished I notice some small bit of dust that seems to have appeared on the floor. So I sweep again. It's like I've found a whole new area to apply my tendency towards obsessiveness! And one so wholly alien to anything in my past.

I bought some good pillows, and a hanging temporary towel rack for the side room. I have stocked up on basic food we can snack on (between our meals out and social events). I had to get each of my parents to tell me what to have on hand for the other, since for themselves they will insist that I not get anything special. I was amused the other day to receive email from my father reminding me that I should have vodka and tonic on hand. He didn't specify, but this is for my mother. My father will be happy with the good Scotch I have leftover from the big Halloween Ramsey's Braggarts Scotch Tasting. My mother, for her part, let me know what my father eats for breakfast these days.

While my parents are here we will have three different evening parties, one each night they are in town, with different sets of people. One of the parties is a singing party. Tonight we will visit my father's cousin and then go out to dinner with some friends of mine. On Sunday we will attend a brunch with my Morris Team, for which my friend Jim has offered his house since we need a big enough yard to dance in (my parents have never seen me dance Morris). Saturday I will be dropping my parents off at Pat and Scott's for the afternoon while I prepare for the singing party. Sunday afternoon we're attending the shape-note singing.

I'm getting a lot of help here. People are coming by for Friday's dinner party as soon as my parents and I get back from Wisconsin, so we're ordering in food that two of the guests are arranging to pick up. Jim and Denise will help me set things up for Saturday's party (they don't know this yet, but they will probably assume it), and the Morris team will come through for brunch. Oh, and my neighbor/landlord Scooter came down last weekend to fix some things up that will make things nicer for my mother. We're all in this.

I leave for the airport in thirty minutes. I'll take a deep breath, and then I'm off.
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