Moments before guests arrive at our humble dwelling, my husband and I tag team in a manic spree of hiding our natural home normalcies from the outside world.

Glade plugins are activated, dishes are thrown in the dishwasher, toys are randomly thrown in the kids play area and, magically, the laundry couch is now a place for people to sit – no longer the family morning closet. What we present is a complete façade.

Our giveaway is the broken icemaker and giving glasses of tap water from plastic cups we got as souvenirs from vacation restaurants. Barefoot Bar in Okoboji, Iowa, how would we host without thee?

I spent one day on holiday break feverishly cleaning (and dancing) while every one was gone. Hours of scrubbing, reorganizing, laundry (and putting away in the same day!) and vacuuming resulted in a text message to my husband stating, “No one is allowed to live here anymore.”

Within an hour of my family being home, it was almost back to complete disarray.

Yes, I realize we sound like hoarders, or that we’re ungrateful to have the gift of a home and all the things one can fill a home with. Believe me, I’m grateful. Not in a "bless this mess" sort of way; more of an "appreciating this time period for what it is" sort of way.

How does this happen to our home? I have no idea how people stick to a cleaning calendar and manage to have their home cleaned at a manageable schedule. I’m more of a mad cleaning fairy who decides when it’s almost to the breaking point to douse everything in Formula 409 cleaner and create donation piles. And there are times I pay someone to act as the mad cleaning fairy. She’s a lifesaver and we love her.

A handful of girlfriends and family get to see and smell the ugly side. To those few, consider yourself loved and trusted with the truth of our every day living. I’m comfortable with you moving my pajama pile over, so you can sit with the glass of boxed wine we’ll share on my laundry couch. I will never judge your home if it's not Real Estate presentable; consider it an ode to our relationship.

However, given enough heads up, I will hide the hell out of it from guests.


Kristine Rohwer resides in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, step-son, daughter, son and two neurotic dogs.

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