Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cue The World's Tiniest Violin, Again

Last week, while I was in North Carolina, my house cleaner Fabienne broke up with me in a text. I'd been expecting to hear from her about which day she was coming to clean, but what I heard instead was that she's taken a full-time job and won't be cleaning anymore. Her text also said that her stepmother could take me on.

I read this text and my mouth fell open, just like a comic strip character's. I felt happy for her but also sad for me. And confused about what stepmother and who is this stepmother? I felt this needed to be a phone conversation, so I called her and left her a voice mail saying how happy I was for her and that I wanted to hear about the job, etc.

The next morning she called me back and apologized for having texted me. She went on at such length that I realized she felt my phone call to her had been some kind of admonishment for texting. Anyway, Fabienne has been hired as an administrative assistant at a non-profit, with hopes that the job will convert to something more down the road. She is a single mom of two kids and this is a good move for her. I told her how glad I was and she said, "I'm ecstatic not to be cleaning houses anymore!"

Then I was felt like I needed to say, "Yes, that must have sucked!" or something but it also didn't seem quite right. So I jumped in with, "But I will miss you!" and she was like, yeah, miss you too, whatevs, hasta ya later, gator.

I also thanked her for the offer of her stepmother's services, but told her that this was probably a good time for us to take a break from having a house cleaner and to use that money to beef up our emergency fund. As I heard myself saying these words, I was like, "What the HELL am I saying? This sounds like some adult has seized control of my body! GET OUT." But it is the truth, and spending two grand on our cars in a single day the other week made this crystal clear to me.

So I came home from the mountains and stood in the kitchen with Matt. It was a solemn moment. "Listen," I said. "We're on our own now." I pointed to the downstairs bathroom that he and his coworkers use all day. "Nobody is coming to clean that bathroom anymore." He said, "You mean, Larry Bird is not going to walk through that door?" And then he laughed and laughed. I looked quizzical and he explained that this was a reference to the world of sports and that it was hilarious. Yes, so no Fabienne and no Larry Bird and no Big Bird. This seemed like a good time to tell Matt that I would not be cleaning the new Blue Mammoth Games bathroom being installed in our basement. So I did tell him that.

Funny, one of my very first blog posts was about getting rid of our old cleaning lady, back when I had only four readers and not the dozen(s?) I have today. It's all about fat years and lean years, I guess.

So I am still a little shaken at the prospect of losing Fabienne, but I will rally. It is some comfort to look back over the highs and lows of our relationship.

A low point: when she broke my Red Wing bowl and also when she wasn't dusting in my bedroom.

A significant point that I don't know how to categorize as high or low: when she was standing there at ground zero of my getting diagnosed with breast cancer.

A high point: when she gave me all those wigs. 

I mean, I knew this day would come, that either she would break it off or I would. But I wasn't quite ready. What various permutations of this sitch have you experienced?

So, that's another feature of my mental topography this week. And hey, I have an idea that I'm going to blog every day in August. I'm two for two already! This will result in my telling you some really boring stories about stuff like getting new tires and not being well-dressed enough to enter Walmart. See you!


AM said...

Could you please tell us what a "side scrolling MMO" is in one of your daily posts for August? I was looking at the website for your husband's company and was stumped by that phrase.

Elizabeth said...

I had a housekeeper/nanny type lady for nearly four years who saved my life when I had a second child after Sophie my first (who's severely disabled). She got pregnant and while I was thrilled for her, it was hard when she left. I felt like she was a part of my family, so I went out and bought her one of those ginormous fancy rocker/gliders. I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and she never thanked me. Weird. I think it was a cultural thing and my not getting over it is more about me being a Virgo and having a hard time not holding a grudge.

And I am SO EXCITED that you might be visiting every day in August!

Michele said...

It's a sad day when you lose a cleaning lady. When I lost mine JR said that we were up to the task. Little did he know that he might have been but I wasn't. Might explain why there are dust bunnies everywhere; I never vacuum.

delaine said...

Ah, Fabienne, we hardly knew 'ye. It may be time to institute a new regime. And that new regime can include the efforts of every person in the house. Do I see a list of chores on the horizon? Oh, I seem to remember a blogpost you did on the proper method to clean a toilet. THAT should be a handy bit of reading with a fourth bathroom in the basement! Good luck with life sans Fabienne.

KathyS said...

I'm on the (temporary) other end of that spectrum right now. My husband and I are moving, and since I've been teaching a summer class and need to catch up on writing and planning for the fall AND I've been waiting on him (and the dog) because he is on crutches from an achilles tendon surgery, he suggested hiring a cleaner to handle making the house ready for its new tenant.

Never having used a housekeeper before, I'm dealing with the big ol' guilt of saying "Oh, God, YES I want that and I love you more than ever for suggesting it!"

Veronica said...

Hooray for blogging in August! I remember that "how to clean a toilet" post too; maybe this month you could give us some more housekeeping how to's...

Becky said...

AM, "side scrolling" means that your little character runs across the screen from left to right (or right to left) like those Super Mario games. It basically means it's a 2D game. You should try it!

Elizabeth, I can imagine that hurt your feelings and left you confused; I'm a Sagitarius (or I might be that new sign??) and I agree.

Kathy, you need that house cleaner!

V, here's today's tip. I dug out those fuzzy dust mops that fit on your feet (yes really, got them ages ago at Bed Bath & Beyond) and I had Laura put them on and shuffle around. She liked it!

Becky said...

Oh, and MMO stands for "massively multiplayer online" game. It means that lots of people are on at the same time, playing in the same world. #nerd

Sjn said...

at least the timing is better with the kids going back to school very soon, they won't be there to make messes and you'll have more time to clean, right?!
If you set good habits and keep up with it, it should be okay. It's when I haven't kept up, and every room needs work that I get overwhelmed.
But I'm afraid you will have to oversee the cleaning of the "worker's bathroom", or stand over Matt while he does it, you can't just leave this up to a man's discretion.

Elle said...

A year ago, I would have directed you emphatically to Flylady, but she is so wacko now with the salesmanship and the Facebooking. Like, I can not think of a project less-suited to time-wasting, faffing-around ol' Facebook than hers.

I have every confidence Matt can handle a half-bath's cleanup. xo

Becky said...

Oh no, has Flylady gotten all fancy? I haven't looked at her site in forever, but it was always charming how clunky and 1997-ish it was. Like a well-thumbed spiral notebook of housekeeping wisdom. Too bad!