A Modern Day Fairy Tale: A Story of Social Awkwardness and True Love

Written by Emily


At exactly 7:28 pm, my husband and I looked at each other in horror and gasped. My pulse quickened and the color drained from my face.

“Was that a knock on the door?!”

We thought the same thing: “Can we pretend we’re not home?”


Suddenly the subtle recessed lights above our kitchen peninsula felt like interrogation lights: bright, hot, damning. My cover was blown. I scanned the kitchen. I had chosen to give the girls baths while the pans soaked. The dirty dishes sat on the counter like beacons for the weary traveler at the door, screaming for whomever it was to “Look! Look over here!” I could feel my palms sweating. Chloe’s socks were on the floor. A doll stroller was on its side with its contents (a baby, a purse and a notebook) scattered next to it.

Gah! Like the close-up camera work in a crime drama, my eyes zoomed in on every item that made my house look lived in and thus unfit for strangers who might judge my “homemaking.” Was that dried cereal on the counter, too?

If we could have rock, paper, scissored for it, we would have, but proximity to the door made my husband the loser. I waved him forward. In a scream whisper I said, “Well, answer it!”

As my husband opened the door, I held my breath. Who was it? I heard a man’s voice. A solicitor? And then a smaller voice announced, “I want to say hi to Noah.” CRAP! It was the neighbors who only days before had Noah to their house for a play date. Oh sure, they get to prepare. They get to tidy. They get to make sure their toddler’s face is clean. They get to make sure their son is wearing a shirt.

The cautionary words, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” played in my mind.

I slithered from the bar stool and ran to the playroom. “Noah! Your friends are at the door!” In a singsong in case they might hear, I added, “Run to the door to say hello!”

“But I’m not wearing a shirt!” he said, startled and unprepared.

“Just go!” I said through clenched teeth, fearing the neighbors were already standing over the dinner dishes I didn’t finish. “Take one for the team,” I wanted to add.

I scooted him toward the door.

Chloe followed with her wet hair slicked back and her robe tie trailing behind her.

I walked into the laundry room and stayed there.

When I heard the door close, I calmly exited the still-dark laundry room, “What was that about?”

My husband answered, “I have no idea.”

“But,” I stammered, “what did they say? Why did they drop by?”

“I’m really not sure.”

It was as though he was so caught off guard that he had nothing to offer. His mind had gone blank.

What is wrong with this guy?! 

And then I remembered I just emerged from my hiding place in a dark laundry room.

Without warning, it smacked me right in my socially awkward face: We’re perfect for one another.

How sweet.


If it’s acceptable for people to hang No Soliciting signs on their doors, then I’m going to hang something like this for strangers, so they’re prepared for what’s inside. I’ll move the arrow throughout the day:


Voila! No explanations necessary. No need to hide in the laundry room…yeah right.

Categories: Emily, Family, Home

Tags: , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. I remember once in frustration I dumped all my backed-up laundry on the couch when the doorbell rang. In walked in my in-laws with a friend, and I was surrounded with piles of clothes up to my chin. They were not impressed.

    • Yeah, I ‘got over it’ all when my kids had lice 7 (yes, SEVEN) times. You are surrounded by laundry constantly and you find you just don’t care what the neighbors think anymore. Besides, when I found out that the lice was coming from THE NEIGHBORS, I really didn’t care! LOL

      • Oh! That is awful! But you survived! I need to get over my fear of the surprise drop-in 🙂

      • Don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay to not want people dropping in willy-nilly! 🙂 My husband doesn’t like it when that happens. Unfortunately for him, he married an EXTROVERT who LOVES when that happens! LOL But we’re al. different, and that’s a really, Really, REALLY good thing.

  2. hahahaha – oh my! In our house, the moment the doorbell rings we freeze. Then look at each other and one of us tip-toes to the door and looks through the peep hole. I have a friend that cracks me up, because when we are on the phone together and she hears my doorbell, she stops talking… she knows I’m sneaking to the door and keeps quiet, on the off chance they could hear her, through the phone, through the door. 😉

  3. I would like to add “Temperature below 65 and I don’t open the door. Ever.”
    And “Teenage hormones loose inside. Enter at own risk. (Your insurance won’t cover this.)”
    Or “Trombone practice taking place. Ear protection recommended.”
    Also, “Yesterday’s teenage guests ate all the food. Come in if you’re not hungry.”

  4. Hysterical !! Thankfully, we are cut from the same cloth, so I would always call before coming, and vice versa, you guys have always called us. I am constantly amazed at people’s homes which always look immaculate – like no one LIVES there! I ask myself (& Dave) – “Where do these people actually LIVE?” Do they DO anything at their home? If I get everything done (which NEVER happens) & things look perfect, well passable, I really am afraid to start anything new, because I will then mess it all up. I actually need a “show area” and then a “I LIVE here area” – is that like the guys’ Man Cave I hear about?

    • Kathy that’s so funny! We should have outgrown those feelings by now, right? I tell John that my life is a struggle to create order out of chaos! (You can drop in any time!)

    • I think you are absolutely right about the man cave. I wouldn’t mind a show area and a “live” area, but my kids don’t understand boundaries. Despite my best efforts, every area becomes their space to do with it what they please :/

  5. A neat and tidy home sounds like a past life. I haven’t even considered that idea(l) in years! Our home is “lived in,” but sometimes just straight up crusty. I love your sign:). You covered all the reasons why I never invite people over unless I am serving drinks.

  6. “Enter at your own risk.” It doesn’t just have to be for Halloween!

  7. I like those options, like the clock in Harry Potter’s Weasley house that constantly points to “Mortal Danger” toward the end. Mine would constant point to: “If you want to see a clean house, feel free to go back home.”

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