Better Living Through Lloyd

You all know that a friend of my youth, Lloyd ,  is going to roll in from Seattle on the Empire Builder in a couple of days. Frikkin’ yikes.

I’ve already described my housekeeping, style as “One step before the Board of Health” because my fiddle-about life is so full of little stuff I enjoy that those dirty windows, crappy bathrooms and neglected flat surfaces can be invisible to me for weeks, nay months, nay years. Martha, I hang my head in shame.

Then providence, in the form of a house guest arrives . I’m not speaking lightly here. The last time we put out the bucks to make the family hovel look good was before Lou held a party for my 50th birthday. We’ve gone on a tear. viz:

1) At ten tomorrow morning two ladies from a cleaning service will come do their magic — bathrooms and floors and cobwebs and stuff.

2)We were cleaning up today before the owner of the cleaning company showed up for a walk-through, and our vacuum cleaner died. No shit. Lou headed off to Sears for a replacement and I’m thrilled, because I’ve hated my old vac for ten years. Really hated it.

3)He turned up with not only a vac but two new phones! Neither of our phones have worked in any but the most primitive sense, for five years. The one in the kitchen, so encased in smoke and grease that I gave up on cleaning it was an eyesore that should have been on a Federal Cleanup site.

4)He got a haircut. I don’t understand why most of his grey hair disappears after he gets a hair cut, but it does.

5)After my mother died two summers ago i gave up on my garden. It’s reverted to prairie, as has the lawn.We said “Give up!” and received, through Abel, who bought his house,

street-where-i-live-tiny/ Victor’s phone number. He came around  last cold rainy Saturday and we walked, the estate. We’re gonna pay him and his crew a fortune to do and undo all the things I should have done. I feel bad about this — Mexican landscapers? Victor’s down with it — he cleaned the garden up before that 50th birthday party.
6)New pots and pans.
7)I polished a lot of silver.
8)New shower curtain.
9)New sheets.
10)New towels.
11) Light bulb replacement
12)New smoke alarm.

And with all this i know, I just know that when Lloyd walks through the door, I’ll spot every littered surface, every speck of pollen, and die inside. I hope that eating and talking politics and sightseeing together will be a distraction. I don’t think he’ll care about the housekeeping! We’ll be doing the Frank Lloyd Wright tour and eating a double cheezeburger at the Billy Goat. But I’m grateful that his visit has propelled me to do things I’ve always known I wanted to do. Maybe I can put off the Board of Health for a few more months


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8 responses to “Better Living Through Lloyd

  1. HA!!

    You are EGGGGSacatackally where I was this time last year—in furious, fun prep for visitors!!

    Kim and Mike came to visit in April, and it was such a lovely time of renewal and refurbishing and seeing the flat planes of my own home with fresh eyes—putting away and getting out, dusting and polishing.

    I, too, “had people in” to do things, and it was just the most freeing, wonderful feeling, like shedding a long-familiar carapace and walking forth in new bright skin.

    And the culmination—Heaven in one three-day conversation! There’s even one picture from it on whatfreshhell today.

    What fun and anticipation! And even the AFTER, with the sit-with-coffee memories—that’s like being in someone else’s smooth-kept house, and eases the transition from glee to gone.

    And Lloyd sounds a TREAT!

  2. Priscilla

    Wasn’t I just saying that there are framed things hanging on my walls that would not be there if not for imminent dinner parties? I have concluded at my advanced age this sort of thing is stone proof that having people to one’s home is what keeps us civilized.

    Relatedly, IN the interest of further civilization, I want the People, to come In, and Do Things.

    But I meant to say first, doesn’t it make it even better that Lloyd is arriving on the Empire Builder? As an adult I’ve ridden the Coast Starlight to Seattle, and the Sunset Ltd. to New Orleans, and others as a child, but never the Empire Builder, perhaps the best historic train route name.

    Have a wonderful visit!!!

  3. Yes Rachel, even after Lloyd leaves the garden will be neat and tidy for summer and the dust bunnies will have a few weeks before they start breeding again!

  4. Miz P: I know that you and the lads are Train People, and I’ll never forget the station in LA with the big chairs. Lloyd is a true-blue train guy and he’d never fly if he could roll. Like you, I adore trains with names: The Empire Builder, the Twentieth Century Limited, the Orient Express. I remember taking the CNR Ocean Limited when I was nineteen, travelling from Montreal to New Brunswick. Daddy had booked me a private sleeper and I lay in my comfy bed watching the St. Lawrence River unfold and reading all those romantic station names like Riviere de Loup and Rimouskie.

  5. Patty

    It is so exciting to have company…we all do the same thing, we clean, we prepare, we shop, we decorate, we buy new things (what fun), we work like mad toward the big day and are thrilled to do it! Then we can sit back, relax, and enjoy…

    I’d like to hear the details of the train trip. We took the California Zepher from Chicago to Glenwood Springs, CO in 1989, had our own private sitting room/sleeper car, good service, we have great memories. I hope it still is a classy way to travel.

  6. Kim Shook

    I adore company and don’t ever have enough. I am an only child (with 3 stepsisters and a halfsister) and had only my one girl, but I am in my glory with a houseful! Christmas isn’t Christmas without someone sleeping on the couch – one year we were so full that Mike and I slept on a blow up on the kitchen floor! I love looking at my home through fresh eyes and always end up saying, at last – “well, if they love me, they won’t mind the dust and if they don’t the hell with them.” Have a lovely time!

  7. Gretchen

    So excited for you. Lloyd won’t care, but you’ll have a much nicer summer for all that you’ve done.

  8. Bev

    Is he here yet?

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