Monday, February 21, 2005


And she does windows, too!

Of all the things could possibly indicate that I am now in fact a grown up, like for example owning a house, celebrating my 15th year with my employer, being on marriage number two or even mothering two kids and a husband, none have made me feel quite so “arrived” as having a cleaning lady.

I was slow to warm to the idea of hiring a cleaning service. Not that I’m overly fond of cleaning, and I certainly don’t have issues with the idea of having someone else pick up after me. Please, if I could find someone to chew my food for me I’d pay them for it these days. What I find troubling is that now once every two weeks I have to find a home for all the clutter so the cleaning lady can find the dirt and clean it. I think I spend more time putting stuff away the night before the cleaning lady arrives than I ever spent on actual cleaning.

Take vacuuming, for instance. When I vacuum, which I do at least twice a week because we have a 100 lbs golden retriever-German shedder mix polluting the house with buckets of yellow dog hair, I push the vacuum with one hand and use the other to swat stuff out of the way. If the cleaning lady is doing the vacuuming, I feel obligated to put away at least enough of the toys so that she can find the carpet. But as I move through the dining room-turned-playroom (because let’s face it, formal dinner parties are years and years away from happening around here), the wrecking crew of two follows closely behind me liberating books and toys as quickly as I can stash them.

Any qualms I have about the cleaning service disappear when I walk through the door to a (relatively) clean house after work every second Wednesday. What is it about a clean house that seems so peaceful? I always try to make it through the door first so I can savour those few seconds of possibility, of “you know, with just a tiny bit of effort we could probably keep the place looking like this all the time.” And then I fling my coat onto the steps, leave my bag in the hall and toss the mail in the vicinity of the side table, content in the knowledge that I can safely ignore them for another 13 blissfully cluttered days.