Ettie Newlands

Women do a thing before going away for a few days.

For my daughter, it’s her silverware drawer that gets special attention.

She takes all the knives, forks and spoons out of the drawer.

Then she gets all the little bits and pieces of food that have fallen into the drawer out and wipes it down.

Then she replaces the silverware with the forks and knives as well as the spoons, spooning.

She’s convinced that if anything goes kaflooey and she doesn’t come back, people will immediately flock to her silverware drawer to see what kind of a woman she really was.

For me, it’s the linens.

The bathrooms have to be spotless with newly hung-towels and newly-placed bathmats out and ready to be used.

The bed has to have fresh linens on it and it has to be made.

Not made like we’re home with the throw pillows on it. Made like we’re coming home exhausted and wanting to crawl in.

Turned down I think it’s called. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds because I take the bedding with us.

I mean, seriously, does anyone really think hotels clean blankets every single day?

Sheets, pillow cases and bathroom linens probably. But blankets? Of course not.

The lights are another issue when we go away.

They say not to leave a porch light on because that’s a sure sign to burglars that nobody’s home.

A centrally-located hallway light is good, just enough to suggest someone’s in the house. But, not enough to draw attention during the day when the light wouldn’t be on if someone really were home.

And then there’s always the size 10 men’s boots left at the door. Those are ideally placed right next to the empty ammo box.

“What’s the worst that can happen?” my husband asks, as he carries the pillows and the comforter to the car.

The worst that can happen, which I don’t tell him, is that if we never come back, someone will come in the house to get all our worldly belongings and lifelong treasures ready to be sold for a buck at a yard sale. And yes, see already-used towels hanging in a bathroom.

It would probably be easier if I shared my daughter’s silverware drawer fetish.

At least I wouldn’t take the forks, knives and spoons with us when we go away.

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