Cindy Perkins had her cup of lemon tea in hand and had just sat on the faded yellow sofa as the sunshine streamed into her spacious living room. She saw her husband Bradley’s husky frame coming around the corner.

“Honey, my mother is coming for a visit. She’ll be here tonight.” He looked away nervously.

Cindy’s eyes bulged. “How long have you known she was coming? How long will she be staying? I don’t even have the guest room prepared!”

“She called just now and said she wanted to spend some time with us. I couldn’t say no.”

Cindy put her hand on Bradley’s shoulder reassuringly. “I understand. I just wish she would have had the mind to give us more than a few hours notice.”

She always does this. It’s so frustrating! The woman drives me crazy.

I know, sweetheart. But my mother can be very spontaneous.” Bradley said, semi-defending his mother’s actions, which annoyed her even more.

I swear, in his eyes, that woman can do no wrong. He knows we don’t get along. I understand, but I am still frustrated to be in this position.

Cindy sighed heavily and said “I have a lot to do. This house is in no condition for guests.”

“I’ll help in any way I can. I am sorry to spring this on you.” Bradley loved his wife’s willingness to accept difficult situations.

Cindy made her way to the kitchen, where the sink was f overflowing with dirty dishes. The light blue tile floor needed to be mopped. After this room was spotless, Cindy moved on to the dining room, where the wooden table and china cabinet had gathered a week’s worth of dust.

If this place is not immaculate, I know I’ll never hear the end of it. She is so nit-picky about everything. I hope she doesn’t plan an extended stay.

While Cindy was upstairs vacuuming the bedrooms and making sure the guest bedroom and bathroom had clean bedclothes and towels, she could hear the baseball game faintly coming from the TV. ‘”I’ll help in any way I can.’ Yeah, right. He cannot be counted upon for anything that involves household chores.

After three and a half hours of cleaning, almost every inch of the house was shining with cleanliness, and smelling of Febreeze and apple pie scented candles. Bradley came in the kitchen and looked around, impressed.

“I need to go pick my mom up from the airport in a little while. Is there anything you need while I’m out?”

“No, thank you. I would have appreciated your help cleaning up around here earlier though.”

He looked at her, then down guilt showing in his eyes. “Yeah…I’m sorry, I got caught up in a situation.”

“A situation called Cards vs Cubs? Yes, I imagine that was very pressing. Please don’t offer your help if you don’t plan on giving it. I love you, and I know you hate cleaning. I am simply making a request.”

“Next time, I will think before I speak. Promise.”

OK. She’ll be here any minute. OK, Cindy, be pleasant. You can do this.

She was sitting on the sofa, just as she’d been earlier when she heard the front door open and Bradley’s mother exclaiming, “Look at the state of this floor! You’d think with company coming Cindy would clean up a bit!”

I forgot to vacuum the dining room! Great….. She sighed and rose to greet the unwelcome guest.

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