The call came in around noon on Sunday.
“Hello,” I said. It was our friend Kevin, and I quickly snapped my fingers at my wife, who was sitting on the couch.
“What, Kevin? You say you are in Tulsa and would love to drop by around 3 p.m. on your way back to Kansas City? That would be great,” I said.
“He can see the house,” my wife said, loud enough for Kevin to hear.
When he got off the phone and I hung up, my wife repeated loud enough for our entire neighborhood to hear: “OH MY GOSH! HE CAN SEE THE HOUSE! AND HE IS GOING TO BE HERE IN LESS THAN THREE HOURS!”
I quickly ran to the stairs and hollered up to our 14-year-old daughter, Emma: “WARNING, WARNING. UNEXPECTED COMPANY COMING. ANTICIPATED ARRIVAL TIME IS T-MINUS THREE HOURS. I REPEAT. UNEXPECTED COMPANY COMING. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. REPEAT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Emma immediately came running down the stairs.
“I just heard. What can I do?” she asked.
“Here,” my wife said, handing Emma a pile of clothes, old mail, magazines, shoes, jackets and at least one cat. “Take these and throw them on our bed.”
“On it,” Emma said and ran back upstairs.
Meanwhile, I ran to the kitchen and began trying to erase the remains of a breakfast of crepes and bacon. I unloaded the dishwasher and then loaded it again. I scrubbed the pan in which the bacon had been fried. I scrubbed another pan that had been used the night before to pop popcorn. And I wiped syrup and powdered sugar off the counters.
My wife ran back into the family room and began gathering up the Sunday newspapers and the assortment of shoes that had accumulated over the weekend.
“Time?” my wife yelled.
“T-minus 2 hours and 15 minutes,” I said.
“WE’RE NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT,” my wife said.
“FOCUS, SOLIDER!” I said. “WE’VE BEEN IN TIGHTER JAMS THAN THIS. REMEMBER THE UNEXPECTED BROTHER VISIT IN 2002?”
“HOW COULD I FORGET? WE HAD TO THROW THINGS INTO THE WASHER AND DRYER!”
Meanwhile, Emma came back downstairs and began cleaning the living room, which, in theory, should not need cleaning because we never use it. But it needs cleaning because we have been piling things there.
Emma picked up a large pile of stuff and looked at my wife.
“THE BED,” my wife said.
Then my wife handed me a mop and told me to clean the kitchen floor while she ran the vacuum.
When we were done, we headed to the recently remodeled screened-in porch. My wife wanted Kevin see the porch, but we hadn’t yet hung the curtains, and there was still a pile of remodeling junk on the floor. My wife and I finished hanging the curtains and got into only eight arguments.
When we were done, I picked up the pile of remodeling junk and looked at my wife.
“MY CAR,” my wife said.
“ROGER,” I said. I ran outside and tossed the remodeling junk into the back of my wife’s car.
When I came back in, my wife was scanning the house.
“It’s clean,” my wife said.
“Yeah. Too clean,” I said.
An hour later, Kevin arrived. When he walked inside, he told my wife that the house looked great.
“Thanks, but you’ll have to excuse the mess,” my wife said. “We’ve just been lazing around today.”
While my wife talked, I used my foot to slide a stray shoe behind our couch.
“Yep, just lazing,” I said.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.