Here’s a guest post from Mari Buck, a Coachella Valley writer who we hope to see more posts from in the future here at Cactus Hugs.  Please give it a read and give her a nice, warm welcome.  You can also check out her blog, Beerbo Bloggins

Let’s set the stage.

All is calm, all is bright…then all of a sudden you remember that you forgot something. Did I leave the stove on? I forgot to floss, didn’t I? (Oh hell, who flosses regularly, really?) No, no. I think I just forgot to feed the dogs!  Nope. It’s none of those.  Your in-laws are coming into town and it is CRUNCH TIME!

A timeline, if you will…

1 week before: It’s too far away to even think about right now. Those Westworld episodes aren’t going to watch themselves for the third time, now are they?

5 days before: Yeah, yeah. I remember.

3 days before: We should probably start cleaning the house, huh? OR we can go to the trampoline park, grab some tacos, and go see Caxton for the 20th time. Definitely that!

2 days before: I’ll vacuum the rug.

1 day before: Shit.

It’s a stress that is unlike any other. Your in-laws are going to be all up in your space. Asking question after question (rephrasing the same questions to sound like different ones), silently judging your way of life (or so it seems), ahhhh, tis the season!

My in-laws live 6 hours away from here, so visits don’t happen so often. But when they do, let me tell you, this place goes into hyper-critical-drive-mode. We need to look at this house through the eyes of the mother-in-law. Every detail must be perfect, any and all dust bunnies must be given immediate eviction notices, replace the water filter that’s been blinking at you for months. NOW, you idiot! Go, go, go!

My husband, bless his soul, bought (and assembled) the final pieces of furniture for our living room and music room just before the arrival of our guests. Growing up, when my family had company, we (and by “we” I really mean “me”) just hid all of our crap in cabinets and under beds and hoped for the best when it was inspection time.

So the house is finally in order, now we start the waiting game. This is not a drill, code red, code red! They are in transit, closing in on us.

Pacing around the house is common at this point, looking out the window every ten seconds, final pillow fluffs, a last minute walk-through of the house. Start at the front door and do a complete sweep. Yes, it’s all good. No sign of humans or animals living in this house, right? Perfect!

Wait…what in the bloody hell is that!? Who dare shed, on these, the floors that have just been cleaned and polished to absolute perfection!? I’m looking at you, dear dear Golden Retriever. You gorgeous, sheddy creature, do you want to end up on the streets? Because this is how you end up on the streets.

So you run, like Forrest Gump, to get the handheld vacuum, but then you hear it. The car doors closing outside. First one, then the other. Slam…an eternity…slam.

All of a sudden everything is in slow motion. They’ve arrived. It’s me against the time is takes for them to grab their things and walk from the car to the front door. That hair is just sitting there, staring at you with all the hate that a little tuft of hair could radiate. They’re so close you can hear their muffled chatter from outside. Oh god, I’m not going to make it.

But then I do. Somehow. A miracle! A holiday miracle! I look into the vacuum, stare at that little tuft ,and tell it, “not today, man.” I say, “OK Google, play “All I Do Is Win” maximum volume!”

The song comes on, there’s a whole montage that plays through of me rocking out. It’s a thing, and it’s glorious, as most montages are.

Then the doorbell rings.

To those of you that have, or will be going through this soon, my thoughts are with you. You’re not alone. A moment of silence for our comrades whose guests end up with delayed flights. Let’s pour one out for the dust bunnies that perished during this manic time of year. It wasn’t your fault, innocent bystanders in the line of fire.

Take solace in the fact that alcohol is nearby and readily available. Godspeed and happy holidays, y’all!

*For the record this was all a tad exaggerated for dramatic effect. My in-laws are actually pretty rad folks.


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