The Visitors

Every year Nona comes over for daughter number one’s birthday, and this year is not an exception.
This year is also a special one because she will come with two of my cousins and the birthday girl will officially be a teenager.
The cousins are much younger than me (around twenty years), but they are also two of my favourite persons in the world, if not for one little detail: they inherited my mum’s cinderella syndrome. Yes, the cleaning freak gene had skipped a generation, mine, and went straight to them. This means that besides the excitement of having them over, I am also under tremendous pressure. Not only I have to pass my own mother’s inspection but also theirs.
They are coming on Wednesday evening, so I carefully planned my days before the arrival.
Monday and Tuesday I’ll work on the book and Wednesday I ‘ll dedicate the whole day to clean the house and groom the girls and myself, as I forgot to mention the two cousins not only are picky cleaner, but they are also a hairdresser and beautician and share their aunt hate for anything shabby and unkempt.

Unfortunately, as often happens in Ortensia’s world, her plans go basted.
The mechanic rings to say that my car won’t be ready until Thursday, that means I have to collect my guests with the travelling husband car.
Nothing wrong, it also much bigger but because it is the car I use to transport the dogs and he uses to go hunting, it is too much stinkier, and they will have to lay their perfectly packed and clean pieces of baggage on a mucky boot.
As on Tuesday afternoon, I have to wait for an hour daughter number two to finish art class that the perfect time to bring the car to have inside-out wash. All sorted; except after I drop CG to art class, the car won’t start.
“Damn it”
Sure it is not the battery because everything electrical works but oil the dashboard display it mentions something abbot the steering wheel locked.
I decide to leave it to rest for a while, believing that cars are like computers: you just have to switch them off, wait and switch them back on, and everything will be sorted.
I soon discovered that the switch off and back one technique doesn’t work with cars. Now, daughter number two had finished art class; daughter number one is at the train station waiting for me; it is dark, and nearly everybody had already left the parking.
The AAA number is engaged, my friend who lives nearby and that I usually call when I run out of petrol doesn’t answer( not on purpose if you are wondering…..I think), the travelling husband is travelling, and I start to panic.
There are only two cars now outside the art centre, one has nobody inside, and the other is about to leave. I have to act quick. I get out the car and jump in front of the poor guy who brakes to avoid to run me over.
He is puzzled and refuses to roll down the window, despite my desperate knocking, ( or maybe because of my desperate knocking). I keep blabbing about my car not starting, and the poor guy eventually convinces himself I might be a lunatic but not a dangerous one.
He gets into my car, turns the key and voila” the engine is running.
I felt dumb and dumber all in one person. The guy looked at me like I was a total idiot but what matters is that not even twenty minutes later I am safe at home with both my girls…..In the warmth and cosiness of my living room….Not that, I wish it. The electricity was in fact gone for most the time we were out, and the house is freezing.

Wednesday is the day of the guests’ arrival.
I drop the girls to school, walk the dogs, and go straight home. The cleaning awaits me. I decide to work my way up.
The ground floor is done, and candles are spread all over the kitchen in the hope, with the cooperation of the curry I’m going to cook for dinner, they will camouflage the wet dog smell. The weather is horrendous, and it never stopped raining g since the previous night.
Time to take care of the upstairs. As the cousins will take over the guest bedroom, Nona will have to sleep in the daughter’s number one room. That means I had not only to change the bedding and accurately hoover and dusting, but I also have to remove everything that can affect her asthma…..basically half of the items in the room as the new teenager is notoriously a hoarder.
Once that is done, I pass to daughter number two’s room, and there is where things get complicated. The two sisters will have to share the place for the coming days. Not a problem as they often do on Saturdays night, but sharing the bed. This time as they will have to sleep in the same room for a few days on of them will sleep on the sofa bed we recently bought. Well, I bought it, as the travelling g husband was sceptical and afraid it would take too much space. Of course, I ignored his worries. CG’s bedroom is a big room, and I took precise measurements before proceeding to the purchase.
Or so I thought because it turned out that once opened the bed doesn’t really fit in the room as it is.
There is only one way: I spin around myself and turn into wonder mom, and I moved furniture around for the next hour.
Now have you any idea what effort it takes to move a wardrobe from one side to the other of a room alone? I can tell you, the same effort that it takes to move a desk, a bed, a chest and drawers. My back still hasn’t completely recovered but it worth the pain as now, with the new bedroom layout once the sofa bed is fully opened, you can not only walk around the room….you can dance!
House is done, deep cleaned and tied, now it is the girls’ turn.
By 4:30 pm they are showered and in their pjs so that I have the time to give the bathrooms one last clean before I eventually go to have my hair done.
6:00 pm I’m back from the hairdresser and ready for a coffee with my feet up before starting dinner…..No, not really as I realised the plants I bought for the garden are still there waiting to be planted. I had totally forgotten about them. They can wait for another day, you might think, except I told my mother I planted the winter flowers a week ago.
Torch on one hand and spade on the other I’m pottering away under the rain……..and when I’m done there is nothing left of the professional blow and dry I had paid like gold but, at least, the mushroom hat the hairdresser blew on top of my head had flattened.
8:20 pm, I just collected my guests from the terminal, and we are heading home ready to enjoy four days of pure fun.