2018-05-23 / Here's the Scoop

Clock is ticking

Now that I’m winding down from the months of excitement leading to The Royal Wedding, it’s time to gear up for The Next Big Thing — in this case: the Sisters’ Vacation.

The “sisters” taking part in this event would be my wife’s siblings. Because the girls (they like being called that) are scattered across the country like dandelion fuzz, they have started a tradition of holding a weeklong rendezvous every couple of years. It’s our turn to host.

There’s still a bit of time before this mid-summer gathering, but I’m already feeling overwhelmed. Because I don’t see my sisters-in-law on a regular basis, they still think I’m an OK guy. Whew. So, the stress I’m experiencing has nothing to do with the social aspect of the visit — it’s the welcoming environment that has me sweating the details — in more ways than one.

I have this weird notion that a home should be spruced up when guests are expected. I don’t just mean vacuuming under the couch and the cushions, either. When my wife told me a few months back that the next Sisters’ Vacation would be held right here in the Catskills, the date seemed far away. I would have plenty of time for sprucing.

Getting a jump

I didn’t mention this in my earlier columns about interior painting, but the true motivation for those projects was that I knew guests were on the calendar and they’d being staying for a “relatively” long period. That would allow plenty of time to notice faded paint and furniture marks on the walls. So, I painted. Inside.

Last fall, before I was aware of the impending Sisters’ Inspection — I mean Vacation — I started my quest to repaint the outside of the house. I got one side done and was pleased. Now, the pressure is on to see how high I can climb on the ladder painting of success.

Since my “fix-it” ability is quite limited, I try to perform tasks that fall within my narrow skill level. They invented the 911 system and skilled Emergency Department staff for people like me.

So, in the unlikely chance that I finish painting the other three sides of the house, there are plenty of other odd jobs that I have listed before the Sisters’ Act arrives.

Pressure mounts

As I count down the days until the Sisters’ Arrival, my wife thinks I’m stressing a bit too much.

“Do you think most people go through all this work just to make things look nice for guests?” she asked.

This got me thinking. One of her sisters, who we often visit near Baltimore (nearly always during times when my beloved Orioles are in town — mere coincidence!) doesn’t really seem to do a lot of prep work prior to our arrival.

“You know, you’re right,” I responded. “When we go to your sister’s house in Baltimore, the same storage containers have been sitting in plain sight in the guest bedroom for…20 years!

To her credit, she occasionally mentions getting around to putting that stuff away. I think the odds are against this happening, though. She also usually forgets to buy any food before we arrive. She does, however, always have gluten-free beer on hand for me and has promised to arrive with same.

For me, that last part is ample motivation to keep plugging away at my to-do list. Gluten-free beer simply tastes better on a freshly painted porch.

— Brian Sweeney

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2018-05-23 digital edition