I kind of hate to admit it, but I have a cleaning lady. Well, she’s not really a lady, she’s more like my husband’s step aunt. So she’s kind of a cleaning relative-by-late-in-life-second-marriage. In any case, I would love to brag about how I can do it all and keep the house clean whilst living with three males and three dogs, but DUDE. I totally can’t keep up. There's three people who pee standing up and only one of me. Not only do I work 50 hours or so a week, I also cook most nights, pack lunches, do laundry, and oh – write this high-larious blog you’re reading, which just sho happens to rake in tens of cents per month to help nourish my ginormous children. AND remain THIS hot. I’m justifying, of course, because I feel guilty that someone else cleans my house. Of course, I totally clean it FIRST… because, seriously? She’s family. What if she found something embarrassing like a PBJ under the couch and told her sister who told her husband who is my husband’s dad, and what if then they all thought less of me because holy crap she didn’t even know there was a sandwich under the couch? A frickin’ sandwich? Oh, poor Doug. He really should’ve married that girl from high school with the big bottom and skinny legs. SHE would’ve found that sandwich. Anyway. I figure as long as she makes less per hour than me, it’s a frickin’ value, because then I’m not stomping around completely hating and resenting the shit out of the three males and three dogs that live here. Well except the bulldog. I would never resent him. Because you are perfect, aren’t you bulldog? Yes you are! Yes you are! Who’s the good bully? You are!
However – after a year of cleaning lady bliss, things are starting to get weird. I’ve mentioned before that I like things straight. In squares. Not angles, not circles, not anything slightly damned curvilinear. STRAIGHT. Not a control issue or obsession at all, by the way, just the way that THINGS SHOULD BE DONE. Therefore, accent pillows sit flat (properly) on one side whether they are on a bed or sofa. Decorative crap on shelves sits parallel to the shelf. Because that is how it should be. Apparently, not so in Cleaning Ladyland. I return home every Friday to a home that smells lemony-fresh but everything in it is slightly askew. Pillows sit at jaunty angles on their tippy corners, rugs are turned diagonally in a room, little statue thingys and vases and books for Pete’s sake, are all turned on their corners. Two square green vases that sit next to each other on a square damned shelf are turned into diamonds. It makes my frickin’ head hurt. Now it’s like a game. I make it all straight, she dusts it and puts it back at a perfect angle. I imagine her thinking happily, "Oh, that poor dear. She can't decorate at all, can she? Here, let me fix it for her!" (But, yay! She dusted it!) I come home and sniff out all the imbalanced yin and set it carefully back to yang, holding my breath the entire time and trying to figure out if it’s all worth it. Yes, I decide. Of course it’s worth it because I haven’t touched the vacuum cleaner nor murdered any offspring for their slovenly ways.
In other news, though – she’s decided that she aspires to more, and has ventured into the dangerous world of multi-level marketing. For which I applaud her, because hey, it makes her happy. Generally, when folks I know are brave enough to approach me with these amazing opportunities, I am happy to oblige by buying whatever it is they’re representing, even though what they really want me to do is schlep more of the unusable stuff for them…so when she asked me I was all set to be nice, but then I thought, “WAIT! What if she gets so successful she doesn’t have to clean my house anymore?” So now I just hide from her. Because that’s what families do.
I should mention before anyone judges me that she doesn’t clean my kids' rooms. She vacuums them, but only because she happens to be standing near them with a vacuum. They are completely responsible for the overall tidiness, dust levels and piles of crap content of those spaces. Unless they wanna get jobs and pay a relative to clean their rooms, it ain’t happening. Because not that I’ve lived this or anything, but I’ve heard terrible tales of mommies keeping their boys’ rooms clean for them, and then the boys never learn to pick up after themselves and then they marry nice ladies who go insane and have to hire their in-laws to clean the house even though said in-laws turn everything crooked and stalk them selling stuff.