For the first time in 2 or so years, my mom is coming to visit me for a spell. I'm excited about this; she's spirited, funny, loves to eat and drink, and will take my dog for long walks. I'm also dreading it, because she's psychotically neat and organized, and the opposite of laid back. I've spent the last month on a self-imposed 'cleaning protest' while simultaneously worrying about how much effort it will take to get my abode up to Betsy standards. A minor ankle sprain last week eliminated the weekend cleaning push, and the reality is that if I took a week off of work, there would still be a grease patch behind the washing machine that wouldn't go unnoticed. Now, with one evening before touchdown I've made my best effort to vacuum the dust bunnies and make my home habitable for more than just a dog and cat. But Betsy's white-glove test, I will not pass.
So I have to live with the fact that I am not going to get an A for tidiness. Where I can redeem myself, however, is in the kitchen. Tonight I'm braising short ribs in onions, fennel, carrots and red wine. They will be even better tomorrow after they've rested overnight, and after I've picked her up from the airport, I'll reheat with more carrots (the braising vegetables strained) and whip up some coarse polenta with parmesan. Not sure we'll bother with dessert, there will be plenty of eating to get in over the weekend. Whether or not I feel the sting of a mother's disappointment upon discovering cobwebs in the eaves of the entrance, it's a comfort to know the visit will start out on the right food, I mean foot.