Our good friends, Jayne, (Liz's dear friend from ages ago), J.P. and Tiddler (Jayne's ducklings) are arriving tomorrow from Merry Old England for their annual visit to the Big "O" (Omaha) and to our farm in Iowa where Jayne and I plan to sit on resin garden chairs in the pool and visit for as long as we can stand it. Given the Brits' mad-cow scare some years back which resulted in a few years with no beef in the country, we also plan to eat lots of good ol' midwestern meat, some of it cooked over the open fire at the farm.
So, in anticipation of their visit, I thought we should tidy up a bit.
With the help of my ducklings, I took all the seedling trays and shelves to the basement where I should have put them in, oh, say, April (when I was done with them). I also put the peat moss and seed-starting dirt in the compost bin. I hung the Girl Scouts' painting (from May) on the wall instead of leaving it where it had been -- in front of the hearth. I vacuumed. I pickled cucumbers and made pesto, i.e., I cleaned out the fridge. I swept. I did dishes.
Then, today, I asked the ducklings to get me the sheets and pillow cases from their and the guest's beds.
Maya, my nine-year-old, after seeing this flurry of activity all week, finally asked:
"So, Mom, does it take someone coming from overseas for us to clean the house?"
Having sworn to myself years ago to always be as honest as possible with my children, I answered,
"Well, yes, I suppose it does."
Here is an ancient photo of the trinity of friends in our apartment in Paris in 1984 -- from left to right: Sarah (age 21), Liz (age 24), and Jayne (age 21). It was a great year!