Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cue the World's Tiniest Violin

Due to some fiscal reprioritization around here, we decided to stop paying for a housecleaner. For almost two years, Bobbi has come every two weeks. She would start at the very back of the upstairs, and clean her way down the stairs and eventually out the door. She straightened, changed beds, dusted, vacuumed the carpets, cleaned the bathrooms, damp-mopped the wood floors, and cleaned the kitchen. This started out costing $65 a visit and then moved up to $75. She was also interesting company and I liked chatting with her. She always did a good job—though perhaps not an A+ white glove job—and I was happy. A lot of this relationship, I realized, involves non-cleaning issues like personality and compatibility. We were a great fit in those respects. I know because for a couple of months before I found Bobbi, I used a friend/protégé of Frenemy Neighbor, and this lady would stay for six hours, giving me childrearing advice and trying to sell me the Amway products she was using. No, no, no.

It isn’t that I never had to lift a finger, of course. Two weeks is a long time in a house with little kids. There’s always something to do. I never did deep cleaning of the bathrooms, though, and I only spot cleaned the floors—I didn’t mop. To me, those are the two big jobs that she took off my hands. A major thing for me, too, is that having someone else clean the house is intensely pleasurable. It just is. I’ve heard people say that having another person working in their house, doing chores that they themselves could do, makes them uncomfortable. Not me. When Bobbie was ready to do the floors downstairs, Hank and I would go upstairs to play in the freshly cleaned and fluffed bedrooms. I would sit in my room and drink coffee, listening to her bustling around downstairs, and feel total happiness and serenity. So even though we’ve decided that that our $75 every two weeks has more urgent uses, I am really going to miss that feeling.

Matt and I agreed we needed to cut this expense, and I was trying to be a big girl about it. I said that I would rather have Bobbi than cable TV or a cell phone. Or electricity. So Matt said to make a list of everything Bobbi does, and we would build a routine where we each do half of it. Last night, we made the first big push. Today is the first Bobbi day that we’ve missed, so some chores on the list had come due. We might need to work on our scheduling a bit, because we didn’t start until after we’d put the kids to bed AND put in a little time on our own projects. So it was about 11pm. I cleaned all three bathrooms and mopped the bathroom floors. Matt did a deep kitchen cleaning, cleaned the cabinets, corralled toys, straightened the living areas, and vacuumed all the carpet and hardwood downstairs. It got too late to damp-mop, so he’ll do that tonight. I must say that we did a better job than Bobbi does. And it was actually kind of fun. While I was working upstairs, I could hear Matt blasting some techie podcast (he calls it his Nerd Radio) while he worked, and that made me feel happy and serene too, to not be tackling everything alone.

Plus, I invented a cocktail. I’m not sure what to call it, maybe the Tidy Up? At around 1:30 in the morning, we were wrapping up, and I realized we were out of both vodka, for cosmos, and tonic water, for G&T’s. So I improvised:

Over ice, pour some gin, a few fingers.
Add a dab of triple sec, then add another dab.
One squirt of lemon juice.
All the lime juice you can muster.

Shake gently, and drink standing at the sink. Tastes like a new tradition!


Veronica said...

Ooh, bummer to lose the housecleaner; I'd love to have one of those!! But the new drink sounds fab-o.

Bren said...

I admire your pioneer spirits. I mean spirit.

Becky said...

Thanks for the good wishes, girls. The new drink does take some of the sting away, though!

Erika said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I know what a difficult time this must be. Cocktails and spousal teamwork are a very comforting combo.