I'm prepping to do something this weekend that I haven't done in years! I'm actually inviting people into my home!
To put it in the simplest terms, my house is so embarrassingly messy and cluttered that it's prevented me from inviting friends over to just hang out, eat, play games, watch movies, or whatever. One reason it's this way is because things have spun out of control in terms of my housekeeping efforts. I already had fibromyalgia, which slowed me down considerably. Then, in July of 2009, I broke my leg and dislocated my ankle, which resulted in permanent (painful) nerve damage to my foot. Another reason is that we emptied out our storage unit so we could use that monthly fee to deal with other monthly expenditures. Finally, my husband and kids pretty much stink at things like picking up after themselves, putting things back where they found them, and such. Oh, and our dog sheds a lot. And the house is surrounded by evergreens so we're forever tracking in pine needles.
Anyway, I am tired of it. Years ago it didn't bother me so much that we weren't a family of clean freaks, because I didn't really have friends who lived close by. Now, however, I've got the most excellent gaggle of girlfriends I could possibly ask for, and I want to finally be able to return the hospitality they've all shown to me so often. (Plus, there's nothing like planning for people to come over to serve as a nice, big push to get off our duffs and clean!)
Naturally, I've got some major anxiety surrounding all of this. My friends are all generally neat and clean and organized and have mad kitchen skills. Generally, a meal served by me comes from a can, box, bag or restaurant. So in addition to fighting this uphill battle to get somewhat clean and organized, I'm also fighting the familiar old refrain of "I'm not good enough" that my brain seems to automatically start running on a loop when I'm feeling intimidated. Logically, I know my friends love me, that they are aware of my physical stuff that impacts the amount of stuff I can do, that they are coming over not because of a clean house or food but for love and friendship (and wine). That's what my LOGICAL mind knows. But it's that darn emotional brain that seems to be the most persistent. My emotional brain says I'm a failure, I'm not good enough, that I'm stupid, that it's only a matter of time before my friends "catch on" to the fact that I'm lacking and dump me. Part of this stems from perfectionism. I used to think I couldn't be a perfectionist with such a messy house, but I read somewhere that sometimes perfectionists can sort of throw up their hands and say "if I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all".
I'm really rooting for the logical side of me to win this round! I'm trying to focus on what I can do, and trying to let go of the things I just can't accomplish by Saturday. I'm trying to figure out a menu that tastes good but is easy enough that even a kitchen-phobe like me can pull it together. I'm actually getting excited more than freaked out and weary, which is a great sign that logic may rule the day. I think I've finally got my menu lined up, too. One of my friends is bringing a salad or some sort of side dish, I believe.
Holidaze Party Menu (so far)
Appetizer - baked artichoke squares
Meat - apple bourbon country-style pork ribs (slow cookers seems less intimidating to me)
Veggie - mashed potatoes with side choices of fresh chives, bacon crumbles, sour cream, and cheddar cheese
Sweets - red velvet cupcakes, Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars
Drinks - Maybe try some Dark n' Fluffy or other mixed drinks, wine, sparkling juice for anyone not drinking (or to use as a mixer), and coffee
Think that'll be good enough? I hope it turns out all right.