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Published January 16 2011

Swift: ‘Drop by’ guests shouldn’t expect domestic paradise

There are four kinds of housekeepers in the world:

I, unfortunately, belong in the most vulnerable and insecure of the lot.

I am the lousy housekeeper with the guilt complex.

Truth is, I know how to clean a house. In fact, I grew up dusting and Windex-ing under the watchful eye of my mother, the ultimate German hausfrau.

The problem is that I loathe housework. I find it unfulfilling, fruitless and boring.

And so I try to live the lie. I labor like a sweatshop worker before company comes just so I can pretend like we live in a much nicer house than we do.

In short, I’ll be able to present the façade that we live in the “fake house,” a place where the couch cushions are always vacuumed, the furniture is always Swiffered, and the guest bath is always stocked with color-coordinated towels.

But I am only able to maintain this sham for short periods of time.

Before you know it, I’ve let a few minor details – a smattering of pet hair, a sprinkling of dust, a teensy bat colony in the hall closet – slide.

For that reason, I’ve grown to fear the “drop by” visitor. I don’t do well if someone calls to announce they are in the neighborhood and plan to drop by in five minutes.

How does this give me enough time to summon forth the fake house? How will I be able to dust the house, vacuum the dogs and hide the dishes in the garage in such a slender allotment of time?

As a general guide, I offer this brief outline of what visitors can expect from my housekeeping, based on the amount of advance notice I receive.

Come on, people.

Help me out here.

Help me live the lie.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525 or tswift@forumcomm.com