I’ve racked my brain, but can’t recall a time I have ever walked into a guy’s house and listened to him trip over his tongue in an effort to tell me all the reasons why his dwelling looks messy, dirty, or both.
The home of a woman though? Different story.
Every time I’m in a friend’s house and she starts going on about why there are messes, I want to grab her shoulders and say, “Relax. It’s okay that your nail clippers landed on the coffee table, beach towels are in the kitchen and dozens of unread magazines rest by your bed. You live here.”
And then someone comes to my house and I do the exact same thing, in this order:
- Nervous laugh
I never meant for my explanations to morph into such excuses, but here we are.
So I decided to start a list of all the excuses I’ve told visitors, especially when they’ve shown up unannounced, which is the norm here in Mexico. I’ve also added a few great ones people passed on to me.
I knew if I concentrated I could come up with at least three or four, but apparently I severely underestimated the power of a good excuse.
Desk Excuse: “Don’t mind the piles; I’ve been going through paperwork like crazy.”
Reality: I went through paperwork like crazy last week—for the first time in months. What you see is the wake of my efforts and then I fizzled.
How I Want to Change: Pick a smaller portion of the pile and finish what I start.
Bedroom Excuse: “Ignore the suitcases; we’re still unpacking from our trip.”
Reality: We got home nine days ago, but I have so many clothes I don’t need to wash what I took. Plus I’d rather do 23 other things first.
How I Want to Change: Dump the clothes the day I get home and put the suitcases away.
Kitchen Floor Excuse: “I am so embarrassed about all these crumbs. I just swept! Seriously—how does it get dirty so fast?”
Reality: Seems like just yesterday, but I haven’t swept for a week.
How I Want To Change: Sweep every other day. Better yet, employ the niños.
Couch Excuse: “Don’t worry, you can sit here. All these clothes are clean.”
Reality: The couch always looks like this because putting away laundry is not a priority.
How I Want To Change: Dump the laundry on my bed, not the couch.
Family Room Excuse: “Sorry about all the junk; I’m gathering stuff for a garage sale.”
Reality: I’ve been gathering for ten months.
How I Want To Change: Stop waiting for the perfect month and do the dang sale.
Dog Excuse: “Oh, the dogs smell? They must have gotten into something.”
Reality: They’re outside dogs. We wash them about twice a year, usually when anti-dog or germaphobe friends come to visit. And the next day they’re dirty again.
How I Want To Change: Recruit one of our kids to wash them more often. Or maybe rub their coats with organic dryer sheets. That would work, right?
Car Excuse: “You know how cars can get; just throw all that in the back.”
Reality: My car always looks like this.
How I Want To Change: Take all my stuff inside every time I get home. Keep a small box/bin for everything I want to stay in the car.
Kitchen Sink Excuse: “Sorry about the dishes; it’s been such a busy day.”
Reality: I don’t wash dishes when the kids are at school; I’d much rather get my computer work done and then talk to them while I wash. So if you pop in between 9 and 3… the sink will be occupied.
How I Want To Change: I don’t.
And a few bonus excuses, just for kicks…
Birthday Card Excuse: “Sorry there’s no card with the gift. I don’t know what happened.”
Reality: I’m not taking time to make cards right now, and I refuse to pay $6 for something I can tell you in person. “Happy birthday!”
How I Want To Change: Take the time to make cards, or buy more at Trader Joe’s. Cute, cool and only .99 cents.
Meeting a Friend Excuse: “Sorry we’re late; little man here lost his left shoe and wouldn’t get in the car.”
Reality: I don’t require my kids to put their shoes away, so they’re aways in a different spot. Plus I don’t leave any margin for unexpected blessings, so we’re usually late.
How I Want To Change: Put a shoe rack by the door and teach my kids to use it. And then plan to leave 15 minutes earlier than I think we need to.
Party Excuse: “Are we coming tomorrow? Yeah, maybe—sounds like fun!”
Reality: We have zero intention of coming; I just don’t want to hurt your feelings.
How I Want To Change: Be honest, remembering I’d rather hear a hard truth than a beautiful lie.
Bible Study Excuse: “I couldn’t finish my bible study this week ‘cause I had a root canal.”
Reality: True story. But I also went to bed too late, hit snooze four times, watched the Olympics and worked on my blog instead.
How I Want To Change: Go to bed earlier, get up earlier, and schedule it as a priority instead of a hope.
Christmas Cards in March Excuse: “Oh those? We just like looking at our friends year-round.”
Reality: I feel bad throwing them away, but I don’t know where to put them.
How I Want To Change: Stick a few families on the fridge for a stint and toss the rest. More will be coming in nine months.
“An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.”
Proverbs 24:26 (NLT)
What about you? Can you add to my list?
Please tell me I’m not alone.