Monday, July 08, 2013

The definition of a friend

is someone I don't feel the need to clean my house for when they come over.  I have also heard someone say on NPR that, if someone helps themselves to stuff in your fridge without asking first, and you feel fine about that, then you are friends.

I enjoy hosting friends visiting from out of town.  I like to stay with friends instead of a hotel whenever possible.

But, what if you are hosting a stranger?  A stranger from our sister city in Mexico who hosted my (not always angelic) child during Spring break?  A stranger who, according to my normally not observant child, keeps an immaculate house?  Iris' host sister's mother is also coming as a group chaperone.  They will both stay with us for one week.

I asked our (Mexican-born/US Citizen) biweekly housecleaner for advice.  She replied that our house is pretty good for an American house.  We are going to tackle the house together the morning before the guests arrive.

Bad dad thinks the house looks fine.  I pointed to holes in the ceiling from repairs made 20 months ago.  "Oh, I forgot about that and stopped noticing.  We should get someone in to repair all the plaster and repaint."

He did notice that the dining room chairs were torn and wobbly.  We are eating on the piano bench until they come back from the upholsterers.

We sent some blinds out for repair and purchased new blinds for two bedrooms.  Now the rest of the blinds look shabby and their days are numbered.  Hmm, why hasn't the blind repair place called me back yet?  It's been a week.  [Update: they are working on it.  They had to order parts.]

We started with Iris' bathroom that guests share.  Mark fixed the towel rack.  I performed an archeological dig in the medicine cabinet and under the sink cabinet.  Why do we still have baby stuff? You can see the counter now.

New guest room sheets are on the way.   UPS says they should be delivered today.  [Update: UPS handed them off to USPS for delivery in 1-2 more days.  WTF?]  The pillows will get a good wash were washed in hot water.

I am tackling piles of clutter, one area at a time.  Now that I am looking, I see we have piles (and spiders!)  everywhere.

I may call a handyman and tackle the garage after the house.  I have BIG plans!  But, everything won't be done before Friday.

Meanwhile, I see from LinkedIn that my dream job just opened up in Belgium.  They need someone to test earth observation data and software as well as write their data preservation plans.  Hey, that's my specialty.

If hired, I'll move.  The hell with housework.  I'll let the other two clutterbugs sort out their own piles.

Seriously, there are parallels with sorting through and curating data and household clutter.  It takes knowledge, insight and imagination to understand how things are used, the effort it would take to replace something, to imagine future uses for old stuff/data and weigh that against the cost of storing the stuff.

I'm really, really good at that.

And data analysis and curation pay so much better than housework.


  1. Even when you don't get a thank you at work, you still get paid.
    BTW, we're still doing small maintenance jobs at home - and we started doing these back in November. I dusted the resident spiders away in March and they've yet to return.
    All the best with your work plans.

  2. I agree about friends, and would do the same if a stranger were visiting. hmmm. And I agree that sorting and curating clutter takes a specific skill set, one that seems to be lacking in some people.

    I'm working on small projects, and a few big ones at home. Even in a new house, enough needs to be undone or redone after a year of caregiving.

  3. I was much better at keeping up with chores before I started blogging. Now I have to decide; what's more important, my next diatribe about gun violence and the damned NRA, or sealing that crack in the driveway?


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