Thursday, February 10, 2011

Murphy's Law

When I was a little girl, my mother had a poster hanging in our downstairs bathroom.  It was a Murphy's Law poster.
Mom joked that guests would spend extra time in that bathroom, reading it.

I remember being in awe of the wisdom it contained.  For example:
"You always find something in the last place you look"

Others I enjoyed were:
"Beauty is only skin deep.  Ugly goes to the bone"
"Never play leapfrog with a unicorn."
"A bird in hand is safer than one overhead."
"A shortcut is the longest distance between two points."
"The chance of a piece of bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet."

I've since realized, of course, that there are many more such laws.
I experienced one of them- probably my least favorite- yesterday.
It goes like this:
"Unexpected company will only arrive when your house is a mess."
I've found this to be all too true.

When my home is sparkling and humming with the joyful noises of dishwasher and dryer (I find them joyful, anyway), no one 'stops by.' 
When our day is lagging  or we've endured a week of snow and children are running around with uncombed hair, pajamas till noon and my kitchen smells like the refrigerator needs cleaned out...the doorbell rings.

Has anyone else had this happen?

Luckily, I'm learning to go with the flow and have realized that other women have days like this too.  

Years ago, as a young mother, I was visiting a new friend.  I was impressed by the fact that her couch was covered in clean laundry- waiting to be folded, dishes in the sink and kids' toys everywhere.  Things I took great pains to clean or hide if company arrived.  ( I was even instructed by another friend to hide my dirty dishes in the oven.  Something I tried once or twice, but forgot them until later when I preheated the oven for dinner!) 
This friend's home made me feel relaxed.  
A few hours later, her husband arrived home from work.  As he walked in, I saw him looking around at the mess.  Without missing a beat and in all seriousness, my friend said, "Honey!  Did you hear about the tornado on the news?!"  He looked confused (we lived in Oregon) and replied that he hadn't.  She said, "You didn't hear about it?!  Why, it swept right through our home!"   We all laughed and I realized that her relaxed humor was something I desperately needed to incorporate in my life.  

I can't say that I've always taken that lesson to heart.  My husband and I both struggle to not be Type A personalities.   We just care TOO much.  I aspire to be the type of mom whose home is teeming with science projects, children's critters and artwork .  We do tend to have books on most flat surfaces as well as children's objects.  But, because we've had our house (s) on the market 21 months out of the past 4 years, I tend to slip back into the stressful habit of perfectionism. 
Not good....nor is it fun. 

But, I know that when our home sells and we are truly settled once more, I will embrace wholeheartedly the relaxed atmosphere that I crave. 
As a teen I once declared that when I was a mother, my kitchen floor would never crunch.  So stated by the oldest daughter of six children; with younger siblings who were careless with cereal on school mornings!
When settled again, I may just pour an entire box on the floor and, following the example of Sarah Wheaton in 'Skylark', write my name in it.

I'm sure there would be grins on the faces of my children, not to mention myself.  It's something I look forward to with relish.

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