Monday, April 29, 2013

Small miracles.

Dear diary,

Sweet Baboo and I got a cleaning woman.

I'm telling you this, diary, not for bragging purposes but to reveal an evolution in growth. I struggled with guilt for years with the idea, finding it compelling and guilty-inducing, all at the same time. In such a case you have a choice: spend your weekends cleaning, or hang up one of these:

My mom never needed a cleaning woman. Then again, my mom stayed home with me until middle school, when she started a part-time job. I never appreciated clean until I was well into adulthood. I realized then that clean = finding stuff you need instead of searching through piles. But it was too late, I had children.

So here I am, a grownup, and there's something to the notion that

My weekends, which I used to use for deep cleaning, are spent running or flying somewhere to run. This is our hobby. We spend our money going places instead of collecting things, so there's that. Baboo and I are both self-made, and make regular, faithful payments to our students loans. Since we both work for non-profits, we have a small house, cheap cars, all so that we can go places and do things.

Now, I prefer clean, but can usually tolerate a bit of clutter and dust for a week or two....After that, the distress starts growing and I'm compelled to clean. And it's not that I don't like to clean, I do. I love our home and get a fair amount of satisfaction cleaning it up. So much so, in fact, that I will put off running to do it. It's a convenient excuse. i should got run right now, but oh, damn, look at that dust...And therein lies a major problem, i neglect running for weeks on end to conquer dust.

We would come back from a marathon weekend to a cluttered house I would feel distressed and anxious because the house was a mess and I didn't have time to clean it. I started balking at our weekends, and it was around my 48th birthday that Baboo suggested getting help.

DreadPirate had also been after me to try this for quite some time. DreadPirate and her mom Roadrash both used the same woman, so I contacted her. She came over and looked at the house. Her first day would be March 29th, and I waited for it like a kid waits for Christmas.

I honestly didn't expect much would get done, that first cleaning. I was prepared for that. I hold myself out as a pretty good cleaner, given enough caffein, but the back of the house was the most neglected part of the house, and I figured that the kitchen wouldn't even be touched.

I came home early that Friday, mainly because I had worked at least 9 hours on every day that week and I was tired. Was it going to be worth it? How far out of the back of the house would she get?

Unexpectedly, she was still there, and lo and behold, had made her way to the front to the kitchen. I didn't expect that, i expected her to still be in the back of the house. But, I guess if you do this for a living, you get efficient. I didn't want to be in her way so i tiptoed to the back of the house..


holy fuck.

It was clean. Cleaner than I could ever get it, that's for sure. She'd even made the bed in the guest room and straightened up in there. Hissy, our gray tabby, was curled up on the guest bed, and opened one eye to me to signal, I approve. Lily, our scaredy cat, was off somewhere being hysterical, Did you KNOW a stranger was coming in here to clean and move things? Why wasn't I consulted about this?!?

I sat down outside with the Chloe the Wunderdog for a bit, who was more than a little anxious. There's a strange PERSON in our HOUSE. Hey MOM, THERE'S A STRANGE PERSON IN OUR HOUSE!

Eventually, she let me know she was leaving, and then Baboo came home. That night and the weekend was spent discovering things that were now clean and/or dust-free, like our very own Easter egg hunt.

She cleaned the trophies, Baboo said wonderingly.

She cleaned the dust out of the cabinet with the components, I breathed.

Hey, the exercise room is clean! (small bedroom with only a treadmill, full-length dressing mirror, and a tv bolted to the wall)

When I went to open my refrigerator, the door handles felt unusually smooth. Oh, that must be what they feel like when they're clean.

She even made the doggie bed.

The hardest part of all this is working my way through the guilt, and forgiving myself for not being a better house cleaner. That feeling was eclipsed rapidly by feeling like I was in my very own hotel. I was inspired anew to get rid of even more junk. I made a carload trip to goodwill that weekend. We stopped wearing our shoes inside the house.

I'm telling this story because if you have the means, do this for yourself, about once every two weeks is all you need. You may have similar neuroses as did I, but trust me, let that shit go.

The morning after Teresa worked her miracle throughout the house, i sat down at the table, dressed for a run. I looked around for something, anything, to provide an excuse to procrastinate.

There was nothing. Dammit.

So, I went for a run.




  1. Awesome! I'm waiting for the day that my husband will agree that we can get a cleaning lady. Until then, there are mortgage payments to make. Luckily, we clean the house together (he does the bathrooms) so he's stuck waiting it out as well. Enjoy the cleanliness! :)

  2. With two working adults and a baby, I will happily argue that the money we spend to have a cleaning lady come twice a month is critical to our sanity. I actively encourage anyone with the resources who has a job and a life and feels somewhat overwhelmed by keeping house to pay someone to clean.

  3. Having a cleaning service has revolutionized the way I feel about being at home. Two working adults and two kids -- and now, I come home on Fridays to find everything clean, and it stays relatively clean all week, and I don't have to spend six hours on it every weekend. It's absolutely worth every penny. I'm so grateful we can afford it.


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