You would have thought the Queen of England was coming to my house with the way I was acting last night. “Put those shoes away! Get those dishes out of the sink! Who’s going to sweep this floor? Take the garbage out of the bathroom!” The members of my home were running around like hamsters on a wheel. Time was running out. I’d never get everything done in time. I’m getting a stress headache.
So who was coming over that was so important that I made my family clean up till the stroke of midnight? Were Branjolina and the new babies coming to visit? Maybe it was the Publisher’s Clearing House crew with my 26 pound check. Or was it was the Absolut Vodka hunk, Jason Lewis, coming to drop off a case of booze in person? Unfortunately no, it was none of those fantasy friends. It was a group that was even more ‘in-the-know” and my house had to be ready for them. Who were they, you ask?
Yeah, okay. Take a minute to process that one. I’m cleaning my house so the maids won’t think my family is a group of slobs. Now if any of you have or had a maid, you know exactly where I’m coming from. There is a line between what is acceptably clean and what is “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me!” dirty. I’m sure for the most part I was being obsessive compulsive. But then again, if I was that OCD I wouldn’t need a maid in the first place.
For the most part, I’ve always been able to handle my house on my own with the help of my husband and two kids. It’s been much more difficult, however, since I had had three shoulder surgeries and four hernia operations within the past 8 years. I’ve had to cave in to the fact I can no longer reach, grab, push, pull, lift, carry, and stand for long periods of time. That pretty much takes away my ability to do much cleaning now at all. My husband isn’t the most together person when it comes to cleaning either. He was the only child of a stay-at-home Italian mom and didn’t realize that clothes didn’t wash and fold themselves till he was around 25. In fact, while helping me after my first hernia surgery, he actually called me on his cell phone from our basement to ask me what the knobs on the washing machine were for. Give me strength.
With a foot surgery on my upcoming agenda and no idea how long I will be out of commission for, I decided to break down and hire a cleaning service. I don’t feel bad that I am now aware that I can’t take care of my house by myself. Hell no, I’m not that proud. I’m upset because I have to let a van full of women see my cluttered, disarranged abode. There is no privacy paper you sign when the maid service comes to your house either. Everything they see will be discussed amongst the living before the end of the day. And because of this “all seeing, all knowing” clause that you know is in fine print, anything not in place must be put in place ASAP. Things such as all dirty socks buried under the couch. All of the toenail clippings on the floor that no one will claim must be disposed of. All pay stubs must be filed. All wine glasses must be washed and their accompanying empty bottles must be disposed of. And the collection of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues must be “put away for safe keeping” as per my husband.
So if all this is going to be done, why bother to get a maid? I guess it’s because a home is easy to de-clutter but not easy to clean. And when the time comes to remove the clutter, somehow accumulated crud appears where clutter once was. By that point, to most wives and moms, it’s overwhelming to the point of tears. Cleaning services are awesome. They get down on their knees and scrub the bathroom places that I only see when tying my shoe while taking a pee. They will clean my kitchen and dining room floor with a nail brush. They chisel off the Spaghettios that have become a permanent fixture in my microwave. They will suck out the fuzz from under the refrigerator. They will polish the candlestick holders that Aunt Melva gave to my mother-in-law who in turn gave to us which honestly don’t match a damn thing but my husband says we can’t get rid of due to sentimental value. At this point, they have accumulated sediments … not sentiments. They will tackle this home with a shop vac, old t-shirt scraps and Windex. And for this I will pay them. I will pay them well, and I will nominate them for cleaning sainthood.
So as soon as I finish getting my house in order, I will be ready for them to come in and tackle my dusty, dingy but full of love and appreciation home. I just hope to hell they don’t open the hallway closet. If they do, the chances are good they will be attacked by a hockey stick, a computer charger, 15 X-Box games, an empty six-pack of coke, Christmas decorations, and a box of stale Cheerios. I’ll have to make a note to get that cleaned out before next Spring.