Lions and Tigers and Guest Rooms, Oh My!

If you think I’m saying that my guest room is scary and man-eating, you would be (mostly) wrong.

So, Logan’s mom and sister are both coming in this weekend to stay with us. This means that this week is crazy cleaning time. Logan has to finally put the towel bar up in the bathroom, I’ve got to finally organize those stacks of papers on the desk, and we’ve got to get our guest room ready. Remember this picture?

I’ve actually cleared out most of those boxes, and we’ve set up a bed in there. Now I just need to unpack my old full-size bedding, move a nightstand and lamp in, and dust the walls and the extremely dirty ceiling fan (I dare not post a picture of it, it is so shameful). I’ve never seen dust collect on WALLS like that before. Not just in the corners, but on the flat surface of the wall. In front of your face. The kind of dust that only collects after a house is not cleaned for 20 years (my previously-bachelor cousin lived here for a long time, and although we love Lee dearly and think he is wonderfully hilarious, the man did not pick up a feather duster of any sort). Don’t even get me started on the piles of dirt that were on the molding of the chair-ledge that goes around the room…several centimeters high, I tell you. When I dusted that part, some of it got in my nostrils. It smelled like despair and death.

Now, let me put a disclaimer out there–the rest of our house is not this bad. It is just this ONE room. When we moved in several months ago, Logan and I considered using this bedroom as the master because of its size. It’s obviously the biggest room, and it has a closet in it. Unfortunately, it made me depressed. I’m not kidding. There were tears and cursing involved when I thought about sleeping in there. It was just a sad room, and the actual wall is detaching itself from one of the windows, so it looks like creatures of the night (like spiders) would have the freedom to go in and out. I didn’t know how to fix it without redoing all the sheetrock.

Also, you can see in the picture that the wallpaper is cream with maroon stripes. Well, let’s not say “cream,” because over the years the maroon has bled onto other places, so it’s actually more pink. Anyway, it reminds me of a short story I read in English 1301 called “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. If you haven’t read it, do it now.

The short version is this:  A man and his wife go to stay at a quiet country house. She has some sort of nervous depression and stays in her room all day. The peculiar yellow wallpaper lines the room, and she spends a lot of time staring at it and analyzing its odd pattern, thinking that it is ugly and terrifying. Slowly, she realizes that the furniture is bolted down, there are bars on the windows, and the wallpaper is scratched and peeled off in some places. Eventually, she becomes obsessed with the wallpaper and begins to see a woman behind the main pattern, as if the wallpaper is confining her like prison bars. She constantly sees the woman creeping around behind it. In the end, the narrator goes on an insane tirade of ripping and biting and tearing the wallpaper in an effort to set the woman free.

It’s a good bedtime story for small children.

I didn’t want this wallpaper to make me go on any similar insane tirades.

Since I was already unsure about where my life was headed and sad about Aberdeen not working out, I didn’t want to deal with this room. So, I put all of our storage boxes in there and shut the door. We closed the air vent to save money. I wanted to forget about it.

Then, a couple of months later, my dad finds a bed he wants to put in there (he actually owns the house; we’re just using it). I really did want to make the room hospitable so Logan’s family and our Abilene friends will have a comfortable place to sleep when the come to visit. And here we are.

Once the ceiling fan is dusted and I put some candles in there, it will be good as new. Except for the wallpaper, maybe, but that’s really out of my hands. At least it doesn’t smell bad.

The other issue is this:  I will be COOKING for my MIL and SIL. Luckily, I have the nicest MIL and SIL in the entire world (hear that Jim Ann and Leslee?) so they probably wouldn’t say anything if they didn’t like what I made. But not only do I want them to think it’s delicious, but I want to show that I know how to cook yummy things and that I don’t make their son and brother order pizza every other night (it’s once a week, tops). So, I’m trying to decide what to make. Pork loin with roasted green beans and potatoes? Baked chicken with sauteed veggies? Burgers on the George Foreman? Any suggestions are appreciated.

When my mom and dad first got married, they invited my Granny Campbell (my mom’s MIL) and my dad’s sister over for dinner one night. My mom wanted to make something special that she knew without a doubt Granny liked to eat, so she finally settled on a Southern classic:  red beans and rice with cornbread. Unfortunately, this was the same meal that Granny’s family used to make during the Depression when they couldn’t afford anything else to eat. After dinner was over and they left, Granny cried all the way home because she thought her son and his wife were living in poverty.

So, if I do mess this up, at least it will make for a good story!

Any tips for making guests feel welcome in your home?

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