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Ode to a Cleaning Person

September 24, 2009

Cute Cleaning Lady

(Cleaning lady is sexist, you know.)  Most people don’t like to clean but it is a necessary evil of life (unless you are my husband:  then it is just plain unnecessary).  I don’t HATE cleaning but I hate the way I get when I clean.  When I clean, it is an all day affair.  Seriously: I will start at 10 AM and I won’t stop until 11 PM.  And this isn’t once a year either, but once a month (I do lighter cleaning in between).  I don’t eat, I barely drink (although red wine helps), I just scrub and sweat.  I obsess over every dust mote, every water stain, every cobweb.  No one should be near me when I clean.  I will bite your stinking head off if you get in my way.  You need to use the toilet I just scrubbed?  You better march on over to the McDonald’s, Mister.  And Oprah help you if drop one crumb on the counter I just disinfected.  I will bitch at you for days afterward if you track one blade of grass in on your shoes.  I would get depressed thinking about cleaning and the fact that it needed to be done.  I would become psychotic while cleaning and a fascist afterwards.  I would banish my husband for the entire day and neglect my dog.  I actually made myself sick from overdosing on cleaning product fumes once and had to go to the emergency room.  This was not making for a happy home.  Clean, yes, but not happy.

I never knew anyone who had employed a cleaning person.  It seemed like such a luxury, something only rich people did.  Then a friend of mine told me she had one and it changed her life.  Our neighbors also had a cleaning person and it seemed like it didn’t cost that much.  They had used her for years so I felt she could be trusted.  I begged my husband for months to let me hire her.  I pleaded my case:  this was a matter of psychological health for both of us.  I hated the way I felt when I cleaned and I knew he didn’t enjoy my nagging.  Finally he relented.  I tell you the sense of peace that washed over me was irreplaceable.  Granted, our cleaning person, Kim, does not clean as comprehensively as I would, but she does a great job.  The fact that not only is our place clean, but that I didn’t do it and therefore am not emotionally invested in it, has been life changing indeed.

Kim has been in our lives for 3 years now.  When things were getting tight this past year my husband and I discussed letting her go.  I was ready to give up my premium cable channels before I considered dumping Kim (and anyone that knows me knows how I need my HBO).  We have needed to drop her visits from twice a month to once – and I still have to pull out the old Swiffer Duster in the intervening weeks – but the emotional calm she has brought to our lives is priceless.  I really hope things don’t get any worse, economically speaking, because I’d really hate to say goodbye to my internet service.  At least Kim wouldn’t have to dust the laptops then.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2009 4:28 pm

    This is hilarious! I’ve been begging for years to have a cleaning person come into my home, but I’m immediately shot down. How much should a decent (cheap) cleaning person cost anyway?

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 24, 2009 10:58 pm

      Thank you, Stephen! I believe the standard price varies from region to region. We have a 2 bedroom, 1 bath condo that is just under 1000 square feet. When Kim was coming out twice per month it was $75 each time. Now that she only comes out once per month it is $85. Our neighbors who had a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house were paying her $150 twice a month. And Kim doesn’t do laundry or windows/ blinds, doesn’t clean inside the oven or microwave as some other services might. Keep at your pleas: the time and stress you save are priceless!

  2. September 24, 2009 8:52 pm

    I did the cleaning service once. It was really nice, but the baseline of our place is such a mess that I felt like I had to pick up after myself so much before she came that I might as well clean myself anyway.

    I think we might try it again if life gets as crazy as it was when we hired the service in the first place. It’s kind of hard to get over the thought of it though.

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      September 24, 2009 10:53 pm

      I hear ya, Elliott. My hubby gets all miffed at me when I tell him to pick up his clothes and crap all over the place before Kim comes. He thinks it is her job to know where his clothes go, put all the dog toys away, and that she can dust a dresser that has papers strewn all over it. I don’t feel like I have to clean before she comes, just put things away that should already be put away. Thanks for your comments!

  3. September 25, 2009 4:05 am

    And if the economy does get worse, you could send in a tape of your cleaning frenzy to that Intervention show. Im sure they pay you and you get free psychatric help.

    Seriously though, shoot me her contact info…

  4. ashleyolsonrosen permalink
    November 13, 2009 10:58 pm

    Ha!I like your blog … there was a automatically generated link to it from one that I just wrote about cleaning up for the cleaning lady! What region of the country do you live in? I pay the same as you for a 3,500 sf house with 8 pets and 2 kids and a husband, all of whom are sloppy and shedding!

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      November 13, 2009 11:12 pm

      Holy cow, you got a deal! We are in Minneapolis and I think the rate we pay is pretty standard around here. Thanks for your comment and for visiting my site!

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