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Motivation arrives with the guests

I am relishing our brand new fluffy bath towels these days. They are new to our home for one reason and one reason only:

The arrival of houseguests.

Once I knew our out-of-town friends were coming for an overnight, buying new towels became very important to me.

Sure, I could have left out a pile of our old ones -- the ones that date back to the 20th century and I don't mean 1999 -- but I really did not want to do that.

So I bought new ones. On sale no less!

Houseguests can be great motivators for getting things done around the house.

Our houseguests -- who moved to Florida some years back -- are not fussy people. Our friendship is older than our towels; my husband was in their wedding. I could hand them a roll of paper towels and they would be happy. Nor would a timeworn towel or two bother them.

Still, I did not want them -- or their two sons -- drying off with rags. Which, by the way, are what our old towels are now.

But I did not stop there.

I did every stitch of laundry and then cleaned up the laundry area. I polished the outside of the washer and dryer with Windex until they gleamed, and finally -- and I mean finally -- cleared the pile of winter gloves and knit hats I had laundered back in the spring.

Yes, I may have done this sometime soon anyway. But more to the point, our friends often run a load or two through the wash on their visits to our house because we usually are at the tail end of their trip up north.

And I didn't want a dusty dryer top and an empty jug of laundry detergent to stand in their way.

I cleaned out the pantry cabinet last weekend, too, before moving onto the freezer. I distributed plastic containers of my leftover winter supply of frozen homemade vegetarian chili to anyone I could think of, short of the mailman. This cleared plenty of room for ice cream treats -- a must when company visits during the summertime.

I also cleaned out a back hall closet that had been bugging me. Every time I opened the door for a Ziploc, it seemed an empty sports bottle fell on my head so I figured it was time.

That's not all. I bought a new paper towel holder. I refilled soap dispensers. And I finally rehung a framed poster that had been leaning against the wall in the eating area since the kitchen was wallpapered last winter.

It took me all of about 30 seconds -- but for some reason I never found those 30 seconds before last Friday night after our daughter went to bed.

And, boy, does my garage look neat!

I know I am not alone. When I was telling a friend about all this, it reminded her that she needed to buy a new shower liner before her next round of houseguests arrives.

My domestic marathon went far beyond preparing the house for company, I know. Once I started, I simply could not stop myself. I was on a roll. A busy May and June filled with dance recitals, end-of-school activities and graduation parties had taken my mind off things like burned-out lightbulbs and dirty doormats.

For one weekend, I finally found blocks of time to finish the garden path, buy a shepherd's hook, mulch a back bed, recycle catalogs, wash the summer-weight blankets and, yes, indulge in fluffy new bath towels.

And it felt good.

Why? Because while our houseguests may not be fussy, I am.


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