I learned three important lessons in Seattle. The first is that you can get used to anything if you just look at it long enough - although Minneapolis sure felt nice and familiar as soon as we got back here. The second and third lessons require a bit of a backstory.
We stayed with a friend of mine that has been in Seattle for two years. He is a bachelor, and is European, and also recently moved to a new apartment. As you can imagine, the whole time we were there he was devoted to the Soccer World Cup, which was no big surprise. What was a surprise, but shouldn't have been because I've seen it before (but not for a while), was the 'bachelor lifestyle' this guy led - he had only four bowls (he doesn't see a purpose for plates), no bed (sleeps on his couch), used dish towels for bath towels and a bath towel for a bath mat, never opened his blinds, never slept, never ate, had no sheets that we ever saw, nothing in his refrigerator except beer (and, oddly, a carton of soy milk), but had at least five guitars and a Sony Playstation 2.
Clearly, this is not the way I would choose to live. I told my Studly Hubby later that it was fine for a weekend but if I moved in permanently with this guy I would have to stand in the living room and scream for a while and then spend a week cleaning everything and 'womanizing' the apartment before I could live there. My Studly Hubby gently noted that every bachelor friend of his lives like that.
The lesson I learned is this: men live like this. They aren't malicious or unkind or even aware that women then have to clean the apartment and fill it with nice things and food etc. in order to tolerate it. Men just don't do that stuff on their own, ever. The second lesson I learned is that there is a wide range for how clean a house must be for guests. I think I was giving way too much importance to the appearance of my place for my guests - perhaps I was paying too much attention to these articles I read in 'O the Oprah Magazine' suggesting you leave a carafe of ice water and tumblers by your guest's bed and tuck a scented bag of potpourri under the sheets and provide slippers as a take-home gift etc. For the kinds of friends I have (or would like to have), this is totally unnecessary.
Now I'm going to go trash my house and drink some booze and go bed and not worry about it at all. Or maybe I'll skip going to bed and just head down the street to the bar to watch some soccer.