View Full Version : Surprising realization about the necessity of having company now and then.

10-21-11, 3:54pm
I used to entertain often. Nothing crazy. Just good friends over for dinner now and then either in my dining room on on by big wrap around porch.

I haven't entertained in about 4 years. Over that period of time I had two dogs pass away. Both were very old and incontinent at the end which really did a number on my carpeting. Just before the second one died I got a puppy. Needless to say, with the smells already present regardless of shampooing, I've had real issues with training her. I wouldn't have company because I was too embarassed by the smell. Getting new carpeting was the last on a list of major things to save up for. A new roof, a new paint job on the outside of the house and a wedding for my daughter came first.

My new carpeting is being installed Monday. In emptying my living room I am astonished at how much more clutter I accumulated over the last 4 years. I'm not a hoarder by any stretch, but I think that because no one was ever coming over, I was less inclined to throw things away or put them in a logical place. In emptying pieces of furniture to move them, I'm truly shocked at myself. I never used to be that way. And I'm surprised I didn't notice sooner.

Once my new capeting is in I am setting a goal of having a dinner party or get together every couple of months. I realize it keeps me motivated to keep things organized. And after four years I owe a some of my friends a well deserved invitation to my home.

10-21-11, 7:30pm
:) Glad you are moving forward with your fixups. I hope you very much enjoy the company :)

10-21-11, 7:41pm
I have confess to something similar. I had bought glass topped coffee tables with brass frames about 1980. I still really like them but the brass frames were getting tarnished over the years. I simply got used to the appearance of them. This August, I realized that i was having a new group of people dropping in sometime in September and took a good look around our living area. The coffee table frames were scrubbed with steel wool and resprayed with a soft brass paint and ended up looking like new. I have taken a fresh look around the whole house and see where more work needs to be done as budget and timetables permit. Redoing the dining through kitchen and laundry area is a huge project but is on the list.

It is so easy to get used to the gradual changes over time, isn't it?

10-24-11, 5:42pm
I invited a friend up to my (basically an extended-stay type) room for coffee after dinner one evening, and thought at the time that I need to clean. The next day while cleaning I was totally embarassed to see how cluttered I had let it get, and how pretty much everything needed to be wiped of, swept, cleaned, put away or whatever. I live in a 3 room hotel suite, but have my own stuff and do my own cleaning. However, I guess I got lazy since I know almost no one down here. Company will do that. I did at least have a second chair for that person. That came after the first time I had someone stop by and didn't have a chair other than my one recliner I sit in all the time...

10-24-11, 9:34pm
Boy, I'm glad I'm not alone! My DH and I always say that we should have a party every six months. I don't know, life goes fast, things just don't get done, and then all of a sudden, a family member is coming from Minnesota and butts are in GEAR!

Right now, I am embarrassed because my kitchen is 40 years old. I would do it over in a second, but being on the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover I'm not "allowed" until I'm done with BS2 and BS3 at least.

But I don't know if I can stand it. That's years off, literally. Is it worth it?? I'm not talking big deal, granite countertops, stainless steel. I'm talking an oven that WORKS (when you turn my old Kenmore 1974 oven on, you wait..and wait... and then... Voom!! The gas catches and sometimes it blows the oven door wide open... I'd hate to KILL my guests if I ever had them over!)

So, thanks for sharing that... !

Anne Lee
10-24-11, 11:10pm
I think a safer oven is a necessity. Hit the pause button on debt pay down if needed to save up for a new to you oven.

10-24-11, 11:37pm
it is amazing, but i try to have company several times a week, if at all humanly possible.

it never works out, but it's still great to have guests. though, right now, i have this wet-carpet issue (our dish washer flooded, and no, we weren't using it, it had started to smell funny, so we thought to wash the dishwasher by running it, and it poured all over the carpeted kitchen. and no, a carpeted kitchen is NOT my preference), and so the house is stinky.

but, other than that, I keep a pretty tight ship, and do ok. my husband is helping out more, and in the process of me "allowing" him to help out more, it means I have to live with more mess.

I have to make a compromise: me doing MOST of the work MOST of the time and having a super-tidy and clean house OR DH doing some of the work more of the time and having a less than super-tidy but yet still clean house.

i do all of the cleaning, btw. he mostly does tidying chores. Eg, dishes and putting them away; laundry and putting it away; tidying DS's toys. I do the scrubbing chores plus tidying chores plus decluttering chores. I also do most of the work at the office.

eh, a woman's work is never done, they say. :D

10-25-11, 8:05am
Absolutely, the best way to get your home clean FAST is to invite people over for dinner! Remember, no one cares what your kitchen looks like...people only care what their own kitchen looks like! And as long as your kitchen doesn't outshine theirs, they're happy! :)

We had a similar problem re: pet stains on carpet versus visitors. In our case, our cat would hunt at night, bring his prey indoors and eviscerate it right on the carpet. Oh, I do the fun, dark early mornings of stumbling from the bedroom to the kitchen in search of the coffee maker, and stepping, barefoot, into the guts of a disemboweled jackrabbit! Ugh!

We finally got wood laminate flooring...we could only have so many throw-rugs over so many stains before it got completely ridiculous! :)

10-25-11, 11:22am
It's nice to know I'm not alone. I got my new carpeting installed yesterday! Whoo Whoo! I was so happy to put my living room back together again that I was up intil midnight dusting and polishing everything. Tonight I'm unleashing on my dining room. I have filled an entire large garbage can plus my recycling bin with recylables. My goal is to have a dinner party in two weeks.

Catherine, I second the vote for a new oven. You might end up needing a new house if you don't replace it soon.

When I lived in a historic neighborhood in another town a group of us neighbors realized we only got restoration projects done when company was coming. So three times a year we had a progressive dinner party. We called it "The Old House Gourmet Club". I think I'll try and create one here.

Float On
10-25-11, 11:50am
(when you turn my old Kenmore 1974 oven on, you wait..and wait... and then... Voom!! The gas catches and sometimes it blows the oven door wide open... )

Wow! Sounds like great pre-dinner entertainment. "Hey guys, come watch this!"
Our first little house we rented when we got married had built in entertainment. When the water pressure was high (due to them working on the well which was always breaking down) when you'd flush the toilet there would be a big rumble and then the whole house would shake. We'd never tell guests what was about to happen when they'd ask to borrow the restroom. They'd come out all big-eyed and we say "what did you do?" then break out laughing.

11-4-11, 6:27am
That sounds like a good plan :D

The idea of having people over for dinner always seems like a big stressor/worry-inducing activity for me, but once it comes down to it, I am always so so glad that I did it. I'm sure you will be too :)

11-4-11, 2:48pm
I did it. I had my first dinner guests over on Wednesday. I started small and on a weekday. Every Wednesday my sister would have me and an unemployed friend over dinner because she's doing fine but some of us aren't as lucky. She calls it the Huddled Masses Dinner. So this time it was at my house.

My living room and dining room sparkled. I actually took everything out of my china cabinet and corner cabinet and polished everything. I threw away all the half burnt candles I'd been saving for some mysterious future use. I got rid of all the glassware I hadn't used in ten years as well as a lot of other stuff that I really wasn't using. The recycling people must hate me. I forgot how good it feels to have company and I forgot how good it was for my house.

11-4-11, 5:41pm
But I don't know if I can stand it. That's years off, literally. Is it worth it?? I'm not talking big deal, granite countertops, stainless steel. I'm talking an oven that WORKS (when you turn my old Kenmore 1974 oven on, you wait..and wait... and then... Voom!! The gas catches and sometimes it blows the oven door wide open... I'd hate to KILL my guests if I ever had them over!)

So, thanks for sharing that... !

Yeah, I think even Dave would tell you to scale back slightly on the debt repayment to get a non-exploding oven!

11-4-11, 5:46pm
We've been in our "temporary" garage apartment for the 5 years now and I'm mortified every time someone new comes over because we are crammed in here like sardines and the clutter is overwhelming to me. But we've had fun every time and no one has refused an offer to come over a second time, so I think I'm probably a lot more critical of it than any of the guests.

11-4-11, 11:50pm
likely so, daisy.

do you work on decluttering?

we couldn't live in our small space if i didn't declutter frequently! :D

11-6-11, 9:37am
I haven't worked on decluttering much because we are finally about to move into our real house, which will offer us 1600 glorious square feet! :) Most of the problems in our current place are because it wasn't designed very well and has no storage space. When you add 5 indoor pets, it gets a little crowded. We had intended to only live in here for a year or so before building, but the job market and some extended family health issues delayed us for a while.

iris lily
11-6-11, 10:42am
Charity, glad to hear you held the dinner and it went well! You post kick started me to invite a couple of people over to sit on the patio and huddle over a fire. These are very close friends, so the state of my house doesn't really matter, but the main thing was that I didn't have a planned meal, I said "just come over, we'll find something to eat." And we did! Garden tomatoes with garden basil, garden potatoes, and home raised T-bones steaks.

11-7-11, 12:34pm
That's great Iris Lilly. Sometime impromptu parties are the best.

I'm having my official dinner party next Sunday, to which I am inviting all the friends that had me over during the time I was de-doggy smelling my house and subsequently decluttering. I owe them the return hospitality. I'm definately including butternut squash since I harvested 24 of them from my yard this weekend. Duck pate is also on the menu and beef tenderloin with chimmichurri sauce. My sister gave me bags of fresh parsley from her yard since we were expecting a hard freeze.

11-10-11, 11:56am
I think Flylady calls it "Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome." :) That panicky feeling of dread if someone drops by unexpected and you realize that under normal circumstances you would never, ever let anyone other than your immediate family step across the threshold. The mad dash around the house to throw things into closets and under rugs and dust off the coffee table with your shirt on your way to open the door.

Yeah, I can relate. lol We don't entertain often, but I hate having the plumber or furnace guy walk in and see a dirty house, so I'll clean like mad before these scheduled visits. I once worked for an HVAC company and I'd hear the service guys talk about some of the clients' homes with disdain. I never want to be the client they talk about afterwards....."Could you believe that house? It stank of cat piss!" :::shudder:::

11-15-11, 2:37pm
I've known lots of people who clean before the cleaning lady comes. Not that I would know how that feels. But I do the same for plumbers and electricians and the like. I always wondered if they talk about places they've seen. Now I know thanks to Gingerella72.

11-15-11, 2:54pm
Thanks for everyone's encouragement to get a new oven. I've been really on the fence about what to do. I had a GREAT third and fourth quarters, so every time I'd get a job AFTER being able to apply my latest job to a debt, or bills, or other necessities, I'd say, OK, NOW I can buy an oven.

But DH wants to do it "right" so then I was tempted to just redo the kitchen (cabinets, counter, sink, oven/cooktop, lighting fixtures, backsplash).

After soul-searching I decided to just forget about it for the time being. I do have a microwave/convection oven that I use 85% of the time. If I need an oven, I'll go next door to my BIL's house and use his oven--after all, I bought it, so I like it!

As for the company thing. Well, I've lived with this oven in my home for 26 years. I can do another year or 18 months, which is when I would like to kill my BS2 and emergency fund.

To ramble on a little more (forgive me), I think when it comes to homes there's always an intangible that's infused that makes it a home. I've known people who have NO money and their homes are so homey! I think about one of my favorite movies "Overboard" where Goldle Hawn created a home from a cluttered old shack. Or my MIL, whose home was always homey and welcoming despite her extreme frugal ways--like decorating her bathroom with the free amenities we got at DisneyWorld. Now that she's gone, we're trying to sell her home, and last time I was there, I was thinking how it looked so depressing because the appliances and cabinets are old; but it's really depressing because her "special touch" is gone. It has nothing to do with the appliances.

I just have to learn how you get that "special touch."

11-16-11, 7:54am
Catherine, it might be that the oven just needs a new ignitor.

Your MIL sounds like she was a neat lady with those frugal homey and welcoming skills. Wish she were still here to join us on the forum. As for selling her home, it would probably help to have the appliances repainted(special applaince paint) and to repaint the cabinets(could do yourself--may need to switch out hardward too to get top dollar). The odds are good that you would get 10s of thousands more in return for the proproportionally not very much spent on the painting. To get some ideas see if you can arrange to watch some of the HGTV shows on fixing up homes for sale, fixing up neglected houses to live in, or fixing up places to be income properties.