We are the beneficiary of generous friends who frequently invite us to their houses even though we never reciprocate. Or, if you look at it from the other side, we are deadbeat guests who never fulfill our duty to take a turn as hosts. The reason is our house, which is embarrassingly small, cluttered, and old-fashioned compared to the newer and larger houses of our friends. I'll take the blame; I just haven't felt like I could expose the relative squalor in which we live until we had fixed up a few things.
Well, we have fixed up a few things. The front yard is presentable from the street; the guest bathroom has flooring; the upholstery is free of obvious rips or cracks. There's a lot that one might want further, like new carpet, paint on the walls instead of peeling wallpaper, and a complete redo of the kitchen, not to mention areas that casual guests don't see like the shower enclosures. But updated and spiffy isn't necessary to provide hospitality; navigable, cleanish, and not immediately dangerous will do.
So we finally had our friends over, for the first time in years, as we hosted their kids for Archer and Cady Gray's double birthday party today. And while there's never very much space for adult to sit while ten kids play, the occasion was still cozy and congenial. It was kind of our friends to overlook our dereliction of duty for the past few years and share our company today. I enjoyed myself and was surprised that the very few provisions I had made for the party attendees -- paper for art projects, an origami craft, and party hats that could be worn like Pikachu ears -- were huge hits, and occupied the kids as much as more elaborate games would have.
We're also the beneficiary of friends who don't treat entertaining as a competitive sport. They're as easy-going and casual as any slackers like ourselves would want. Otherwise we'd never have gotten away with sponging off of them for so long, or been treated as well when we finally, belatedly, stepped up.