Thursday, 23 July 2015

Waiting for Hu

I was recently asked by MS Ireland to be one of their ambassadors, along with my children, for their Readathon fund raising campaign later this year.  I was happy to oblige this organisation who have helped me in many ways.  But more about that another time soon. 

Today though, I’ll just write about today.  MS Ireland organised a photographer and staff from MS Ireland and the marketing company to come to my home to get some publicity photographs for the Readathon this afternoon.  I organised a day off work and the little ones were attending a summer camp from 10am to 1pm.  Three whole hours to clean the house and to beautify and gather myself.  Sorted, it seemed.
I thought that I would make a head start by power hosing showering the children and myself last night, but we were all too tired for that craic.  I set my alarm for 7am, but I was awake before the beep, restless.  I showered and took great care applying fake tan to my legs.  I peeled two tired children out of their beds, scrubbing away days of accumulated grime.  Gleaming, I deposited them into the summer camp and set out to clean Poppy Cottage with gusto.  I started with the bathroom, with a toothbrush and bleach.  No crevice was left unscrubbed.  The toilet seat was so clean that not alone could you eat your dinner from it, you would also lick the bowl.   I placed a lovely arrangement of roses on the bathroom window.  I stood back to admire my work and hoped that my visitors would appreciate it when they spent a penny.

To the kitchen.  I was taking no chances here.  I assumed that my visitors may have need to look in my cupboards, swipe their hands across my shelves, look under the sink.  I cleaned and scrubbed accordingly.  More roses in a vase to complete the look.
The living room.  The likely scene for the family photos.  Carefully vacuuming and mopping required here, mostly out of fear that my visitors dropped something and had to get on their hands and knees, only to discover a new eco system comprising of popcorn and pasta droplets under the couch.  

Bedrooms.  Essential to clean these from top to bottom, in case my visitors need a wee lie-down, mid photo shoot.  I stopped short of changing the bed sheets.  Although this was essential, it had to be abandoned nonetheless, as the clock ticked on.  I regretted spending so long cleaning the bathroom.  There was shoving of clothes into wardrobes and other spaces.  I hoped that my visitors had no need to go pooching in my cupboards.  
I took the time to spray my roses for green fly.  Why ?  An essential task to produce photographs showing a family reading ?  Perhaps the photographer would like a close up ? Roses and novels ?  Hardly.  Did I think that this was a feature for 'House and Home' magazine ?

In the midst of this, I did manage to declutter some.  I binned 6 months’ worth of Sunday Times magazines.  The ones that I kept in the hope that I would have a ‘me day’ sometime and look through them all, tearing out inspiring photographs.  It was a painful parting.  As I write now though, I am contemplating retrieving said magazines.  Yes, I think I will. 
One o’clock came too quickly and I had to collect the children from the summer camp.  At home, we had the usual, painful stand off about Mya’s attire.  She, quite rightly, said that the photographs should be about ‘our faces and books’ and that it didn’t matter what she wore.  Hard to argue with that logic.  We compromised with pink leggings, rather than the usual worn-to-death black ones. 

I hadn’t planned my own outfit and I was out of time, so I pulled on a half ironed top and jeans, covering up the carefully applied fake tan.  Usually my fake tan application resembles an accident in a chocolate factory, but today I looked au naturelle, like I had sunbathed in the South of France.  No time to apply nail varnish either.  Maybe I should have given the greenfly spraying a miss. 
I didn’t want the children to undo my tidying, so they were only allowed to eat food that didn’t require cooking, or a plate or create crumbs.  They couldn’t believe their eyes that they were having chocolate for lunch.

The crew of three arrived at 2pm on the button and the photographic shoot went smoothly.  Hu, the photographer was lovely and had a great way with my camera shy children.   But despite his cajoling and my offers of ‘paper money’ later, Leon barely cracked a smile throughout and refused to remove his thick hoodie.  Mya meanwhile, wouldn’t pull her hair back from her face.  I hope that we will, at least, see her nose in the photos. 

Then they were gone.  I realised that no one had peed in my loo, looked in my cupboards, or under the bed, nor swiped my shelves for dust.  I really should have taken five minutes to do my nails.
Still, the house is cleaner than it has been in months.  I’m ready for visitors.  But if you are coming, can you do so before the dust settles (literally), the flowers wilt and I have to do it all again ?

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