The Axis of Cleanliness
It is my debut as a totally-grown-up-Martha-Stewartesque- domestic-goddess-Thanksgiving-dinner-host. The kitchen has been scrubbed, the vegetables purchased and stored in appropriate locations (potatoes: cool, dark cabinet; carrots: crisper), the clutter of everyday life has been craftily hidden in closets, drawers, and under furniture. The unopened bills are in the hall closet under a pile of scarves.
The best way to get me to clean is to invite people over. The longer they stay and the cleaner their home is, the more I clean. It's actually pretty scientific. For example, if I were to invite a bunch of friends over for, say, an "August 20 Party For No Reason" where the primary host-like activities would involve cleaning up spilled drinks, emptying ashtrays, and dancing in the kitchen, the cleaning would be light--perhaps pick up a bit, wipe down the counters, and break out a Toilet Duck. A hostess for this type of affair should instead focus on deciding how much beer to buy and locating the flashing disco ice cubes. On the other end of the spectrum, you have, say, your parents and grandmother staying at your place for two nights over Thanksgiving. A whole other ballgame--the opposite plot on the Axis of Cleanliness.
As we all know, Thanksgiving is the Holy Grail of hosting. The Olympiad of domestic talent. Although I've been cooking a bit more lately (!), I am nowhere near my mother and grandmother's level of organization and raw talent in the kitchen. So, the least I can do is scrub the shit out of my house, break out the fancy butter dish, buy a bunch of wine, and pray for the best.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!