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Expecting The Unexpected?

Aug 18, 2007
The best thing about unexpected guests - yes, there is a best thing - is that you have no expectations.

Until a few years ago I thought a phone call announcing the imminent arrival of an unexpected guest qualified as an obscene phone call. Now I can be ready in minutes.

First, I postpone the arrival of the guest until after dark. Then the dirt on the windows won't show.

Second, because dust is less noticeable on light furniture, I dust only the few dark pieces we still have. If I know the guest is short, I don't bother to dust above my eye level.

Third, if the weather is cool, I light a fire in the living room. A fire gives worn cushions and spotted carpet a cozy glow. Warm weather, however, is much better for an unexpected guest. I just have to hose off the patio furniture and pick the dead blossoms off the plants.

What do I do if the guest can't be postponed? I play a classical CD, put on lounging pajamas worn only for this specific purpose and create the melodious impression I'm to worldly for mundane housework.

It's all a matter of staging. A new bar of soap in the powder room contributes to my unsoiled reputation. I also put out the special guests towels, which are unsoiled because they are used only as props.

If time allows - which means if I have time to get to the florists and back - I display at least two bouquets of fresh flowers. This plants the idea that I'm one of Mother Nature's ladies of leisure.

Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players". Fortunately, most guests don't expect their visit to be a major production; but they do expect a dinner show.

If the show must go on, it's a barbeque because my husband doesn't mind cooking if he can arm himself with large utensils and cook outdoors. Coffee is the final curtain - no encore.

We used to have a convertible sofa in the living room. Not any more. It looked too inviting to guests who didn't want to spring for a hotel bed.

Yes, with a bit of staging I can enjoy unexpected guests; but only one unexpected visit per guest. Both Goldilocks and Jack of bean stalk fame were unexpected guests and you know what happened to them.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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http://knightwatch.typepad.com
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