I'm writing regarding the letter from "Former Houseguest," who complained about his hostess rushing into the bathroom and scrubbing it every morning after he and his fiancee had showered.
When I was a newlywed, I was an insecure hostess and overly concerned about what my guests might think of the state of my house. Perhaps she was trying to impress upon them that she was a careful homemaker. Her rushing in to clean the bathroom may have nothing to do with her not wanting them there.
Been There in Rowlett, Tex.
Perhaps not; other readers read the letter through the prism of their own experiences, too. Read on:
I have a stepdaughter who has a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This poor soul can't have company because she must spend all day and all night cleaning the entire house before they arrive. When we visit her, we must be careful not to touch the walls, or she will scrub them, too.
Some people are not even aware that they have this illness until it's so out of control they are advised to seek help. This could be the case with that hostess. It's a terrible illness that results from a chemical imbalance in the brain.
A Reader, Nashua, N.H.
Thanks for pointing it out. A reader from Texarkana, Texas, who suffers from OCD e-mailed me to suggest that people who have this disorder should contact the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation Inc. It offers support and education for people with OCD-related disorders, their friends, families and professionals, and it also supports research into the causes and effective treatments. Its Web site is: www.ocfoundation.org.
I have a different perspective than you on the letter from "Former Houseguest."
I also clean my bathroom every morning, and I am not alone. A lot of people are on a "system" set up by someone we call "the FlyLady." ("Fly" stands for "Finally Loving Yourself.")
She is a county commissioner in the state of Tennessee, who instructs us to get up, get dressed to the shoes, put in a load of laundry, and make our bathrooms shine -- every day, first thing in the morning. The bathroom is then presentable for any guests who might come later in the day.
If you would like to see this for yourself, go to www.flylady.net. She is wonderful. She talks about having peace in your homes and a lot of other wonderful things. There are currently 212,899 people following her system. That hostess may well be one of them.
The hostess could have set her routine up long before "Former Houseguest" arrived.
Should she have been expected to modify her daily routine just because she had guests? I don't think so!
Flying in Oregon
After reading your letter, I stopped by my neighborhood bookstore and spotted a book by Marla Cilley, the FlyLady. It's titled "Sink Reflections" (published by Bantam Books). It was easy to read and chock-full of helpful ideas for the disorganized, as so many people are today. What I liked most about it was Ms. Cilley's philosophy that organization is most easily achieved not through earthshaking changes, but through a series of baby steps.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate