September 26, 2006

Once upon a time, Workplace provided a biweekly housecleaning service as a benefit. Eventually it was dissolved in favor of providing the monetary equivalent increase to everyone’s salaries, which meant I cancelled it, because I couldn’t quite justify paying the fee back out to the service from my own pocket. If that makes any kind of sense.

Now I’m thinking of calling them again, or better yet, hiring someone who runs their own business so the person who does the actual cleaning gets paid a decent hourly wage. I know some people like to make me feel guilty about wanting to outsource the toilet-scrubbing, coughcoughJB, but I figure the only people who get to have an opinion are the ones who know where the 409 is located. YOU KNOW?

Oh, I give JB a lot of shit but he definitely pulls his weight and more around the house. Here’s the thing, though: if he doesn’t like cleaning, and I don’t like cleaning, and the pets and child are totally useless on that front, then I think it’s time to build on what I most love about the Roomba: the notion of the house becoming clean without my involvement.

JB doesn’t like the idea of a stranger being in our house. Let me repeat that with some clarification and our helpful friend, the Caps Lock key: JB, the man who hired eighty SKILLION random people to troop through our living spaces for HALF A GODDAMN YEAR, who tracked dirt everywhere and blared the radio nonstop and once left a tube of PERSONAL LUBRICANT in the BATHROOM, doesn’t want an unfamiliar cleaning lady in the house.


Lately I’ve just been realizing how fast the days go by and how hard it is to get the things done that I want to do, never mind the things I don’t want to do (see also: toilets). Paying for my house to be cleaned doesn’t seem like a frivolous luxury anymore, it seems like purchasing actual blocks of time that I can use elsewhere.

Because god knows I need to spend more time sitting on my ass in front of a computer. Hey! Speaking of! New reviews at SundryBuzz, in case you’re not looking all on your own: Roomba, Griffin iTrip, Sierra Trading Post, and…uh, cuticle oil.


This morning I was walking Riley down the hall, holding his hands in my own, when he stomped directly onto my bare foot in his clunky Toddler Shoes, and you know, it fucking hurt. I’ve been suspicious for a while, but that’s it, the truth is undeniable now: Riley is no longer a tiny baby, he’s a little boy. A little boy with some heavy-ass feet, apparently.

Also, guess what I learned about myself last weekend after the fair? I can do a spot-on imitation of a rooster. No shit. The whole “Err-err-err-err-ERRRR” sound? I’ve got it down. This is my new foolproof trick for cracking Riley up, because he thinks it is HILARIOUS. We do a lot of animal sounds in our house (don’t even ask about the Naughty Chicken who says “Bok bok bok BUKKAKE”!) and the rooster is his current favorite.

Me: “What does the cow say, Riley?”
Riley: “Deh deh deh?”
Me: “MOOOO, that’s right! Mooooo. What does the sheep say?”
Riley: “Teh. Teh.”
Me: “Bahhhhh, that’s right! What does the rooster say?”
Riley: *expectant pause*
Me: “Err-err-err-err-ERRRRRRRRRRRRR!”
Riley: *laughs hysterically, poops pants*

So maybe I sound like a deranged barn animal who doesn’t know what the hell time it is, it could be worse. For instance, the animal noise JB is particularly good at? Sea lion. At least the rooster has a smidge of dignity.


34 Responses to “Housecleaning and sea lions”

  1. Jane on September 26th, 2006 3:22 pm

    Seriously, get a new cleaning lady. For me, it’s worth it for the bathroom cleaning alone.

    I just read that there’s a new Roomba designed to clean garage and basement floors! I don’t even have a regular one yet (although it would be worth it just to freak out the cats), but now I want both kinds.

  2. honeybecke on September 26th, 2006 3:24 pm

    I cannot believe a workplace (ha, Workplace) has/had the benefit of a housecleaning service.

    Has anyone else ever heard of a company doing this? Are we just in the dark up here in AK? (Actually yes, yes we are for most of the winter :|

    About the toilet funk (not to mention soap scum, laundry and dusting)I would just do it. Call up Mighty Maids and be done with it. JB will just have to understand. I have a Mighty Maids magnet I found on the ground. I couldn’t help myself, I picked it up. It was muddy, but I didn’t care. I stuck it to my fridge. There is hope in that magnet! Someday I’ll call them, oh yes.

    I must admit I stare are it longingly quite often.

  3. Jenn on September 26th, 2006 3:34 pm

    *SNORT* @ the chicken that says “bukkake”. Y’all are twisted and sick! (But I like that in people.)

  4. dani on September 26th, 2006 3:40 pm

    hire a cleaning person.

  5. Shelly on September 26th, 2006 3:50 pm

    Hire the cleaning person. Now. Consider it more quality time with your child and money well spent!

  6. MRW on September 26th, 2006 4:53 pm

    I have to add my vote for getting the cleaning service stat! I got one years ago because I couldn’t bear the constant battling over who was cleaning or not cleaning and/or feeling angry and resentful all the time because I was the only one who saw the dirt. The cleaning people REALLY improved my marriage and now, unless we are having guests, I don’t do any cleaning between cleanings – instead I spend time with my husband, kid, friends, exercising, reading, whatever. Life is too damned short to spend any part of it scrubbing a toilet. I’d give up coffee, chocolate, the internet or TV before I gave up the cleaning person and believe me I LOVE all of those things. OK, you’ve hit a nerve. Let’s just sum up by saying that the only piece of advice my dad gave my husband before we got married was to hire someone to clean the house. Do it and never look back.

  7. LLL on September 26th, 2006 5:01 pm

    Get a housekeeper – every 2 weeks. Its a great investment for the cleanliness of your house and sanity of your marriage. Have her/him change the sheets too. Its the best $150/month we spend and I have a neat-nick husband. Do it…do it now. And get a refernce from someone so you can find someone trustworthy. Check them out on the BBB website and make sure their bonded (unless its a friend of a friend sort of deal). But do it.

  8. Connie on September 26th, 2006 6:30 pm

    Hire a housekeeper now!!!! We have no kids, 3 cats, and a dog. I realized, when we were both working (my husband is retired) that our weekends were nicer when we didn’t OCD clean for a day and then do the yard for a day. When I was unemployed, I fired the yard service, mowed the lawn myself, and kept the housecleaner so long that I was willing to trade house cleaning for food. Anyway, I went back to work. Without kids, I can’t imagine doing it myself anymore. Heavens– there are 2 of us in a 1400 square foot 80 year old house and she come TWICE A WEEK.. I pay her holidays, maternity leave, I worship her. Hire one now.

  9. Lesley on September 26th, 2006 6:33 pm

    At least you’re not saying cockadoodledo, which, er, can sound kinda funky.

    Re the cleaning lady…go with a service that’s bondable. That way you can ensure you’re not getting someone who might snitch stuff from your house (there’s no guarantee but having a bondable person is better than naught.)

    Thanks for the cuticle oil tip. Mine are ragged lately. I just hope it’s sold in Canada.

  10. Mary O on September 26th, 2006 6:43 pm

    I loooooove having someone to clean my house! I just hired a lady recently to clean twice a week and it has been SO nice. And if anyone should feel guilty and/or lazy about having someone else clean their house it should be me, since I am a stay-at-home mom with only one kid (so far!). But now I can play with my son and not feel guilty about not scrubbing toilets, etc. I feel like it is definetely a necessity now.

  11. Jennifer on September 26th, 2006 7:05 pm

    I think you should add a link from the “personal lubricant” in today’s blog back to the entry with that story. That particular story (and the photo of the famous TUBE on the counter) and the subsequent comments were fantastic!

  12. jonniker on September 26th, 2006 7:14 pm

    Uh, I had a cleaning lady when it was just Adam and I, and I loved every damn minute of it. Well, except for the cleaning for the cleaning lady. Totally worth it, man.

    And that rooster imitation? Classic.

  13. Joanne on September 26th, 2006 7:24 pm

    I *totally* say Cockadoodledoo, it cracks me up more than my boy. I just wanted to comment that my boy weighs about 28 pounds, and he steps on my feet with his *bare feet* and it hurts like hell! I used to think I was being a wussy, but then I considered this: I wouldn’t put a 28 pound weight on my foot and smoosh it all around, right? Now I just tell him to step the hell off! which also cracks me up. I’m a SAHM and it is *all* about my amusement, I figure!

  14. Katie on September 26th, 2006 7:32 pm

    “…but I figure the only people who get to have an opinion are the ones who know where the 409 is located. YOU KNOW?”

    Ummmm yes. I know. Oh boy, do I. We have bi-weekly fights over this issue.

    Another vote for cleaning lady! Hopefully she won’t be like my parents’ and sit around watching TV and drinking their leftover wine and asking for raises all the time.

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you! As long as she doesn’t leave personal lubricant in the bathroom, I’d say you have a winner.

  15. sundry on September 26th, 2006 7:46 pm

    Re: cockadoodledo, make sure you follow up with “And what does the HEN say? ‘Any cock’ll dooo!”

    Jennifer – I added the link, thanks for reminding me!

  16. Mama Ritchie on September 26th, 2006 8:27 pm

    I hired a cleaning MAN. Actually, TWO cleaning men. I sit on my couch tapping away on my laptop and watch two men clean my house for me. The ultimate experience of retribution and luxury. If JB is deadset against it, compromise by saying you’ll just have them in once a month. After that first cleaning, he’ll be so happy he won’t care if they come twice a day. Or, you could hire a topless (female) housecleaner…

  17. mrsgryphon on September 26th, 2006 9:11 pm

    Adding my vote for the cleaning person. The fact that the house gets cleaned by someone else and all I have to do is write a cheque every other week? Glorious.

  18. Kristin on September 26th, 2006 9:11 pm

    Nolan thinks the cow says deh deh deh also. And thinks it’s hilarious when I do my famous fire truck sounds, although they are most definitely not bang on.

  19. mrsgryphon on September 26th, 2006 9:13 pm

    Also meant to say that my husband didn’t think it was necessary either (what, you go on mat leave and suddenly we need a cleaning lady? Yup, because I’m home to be WITH THE BABY, not to CLEAN!)… anyway, he’s a big fan now and I’m pretty confident the cleaning lady budget won’t get cut anytime soon.

  20. Elissa on September 26th, 2006 9:21 pm

    Even though *I* don’t have one…… YET! A few of my friends have cleaning ladies. It has made them so much happier! And really, if you are able to hire someone? Why not? One of my friends who has a cleaning lady only has her hubby’s daughter over a few times a month, no full-time kids, AND she was unemployed for about a year. And if SHE doesn’t have the time, who does?!?!?! :) Life is way too short to do stuff you hate doing!!!!!!

  21. Gentry on September 27th, 2006 1:05 am

    The rooster is the national animal of France. And they don’t call it a rooster, they call it a “coq.” I felt you need to know that.

  22. Nicole on September 27th, 2006 3:38 am

    I am a stay-at-home mom with a twice a week cleaning person and I assure you that once you get a cleaner you can never do without. What happens is that, since the house is clean, you are able to spend your time just keeping things organized (the cleaning before the cleaning, if you will). Also, you free up all the time you used to need for fighting with your husband about whose turn it was to empty the dishwasher. Right there, you’ve gained like 4 or 5 hours a week. You get so used to having a clean house -something that never happened when I was responsible for the task- that when the cleaner is off, you start to feel like your house is a pigsty, even if you were blind to dirt before. Its a double-edged sword, sundry, BEWARE!

  23. Erin on September 27th, 2006 5:33 am

    Oh the cleaning dilemma… I don’t have one and I’m insanely jealous of all these farts who DO. I work full time and hate cleaning like every other living, breathing thing. Yet I’m also CHEAP. Can I really justify all that friggin cash for cleanliness? Think of all the other fun stuff I could do with that $$, like go buy 3 pairs of old navy slouchy pants.

  24. Jessie on September 27th, 2006 5:36 am

    My mom doesn’t want a cleaning lady for the same reason JB states, but if I spend my time visiting her by cleaning her house because I just can’t stand the mess one more time? She’ll have to deal with it. My dad agrees. We think it might be her birthday present.

  25. donna on September 27th, 2006 6:05 am

    Its just my husband and I and two cats- and I am soooo cheap I won’t pay more than $30 for a pair of shoes. But this past year I got injured and could not clean, so we were forced to hire someone to clean for us.
    OH MY GOD!!! I love it! I am very physically able to do it now, but I’ll never give up my Rosa. Believe me, you’ll find other things to occupy your time and you’ll wonder how you ever had time to clean. There is nothing like coming home on Friday to a completely clean house without any arguing and cajoling being involved. And it helps you feel more in control of your life, because things are orderly at least one a week.

  26. Swistle on September 27th, 2006 6:15 am

    I don’t like the idea of “someone in my house,” either, because I am hermitlike and awkward. What I’d like to do is find someone I can totally trust, so that I can give them a key and plan to ALWAYS be out while they’re in my house.

    Does anyone know how to start looking for one? I looked into a few services, but they’re so expensive and you just know the person doing the cleaning is getting minimum wage while the bitchy, teased-hair, over-makeupped “coordinator” is getting all the rest. I’d like to find someone who gets to keep everything I pay her–but then do I have to arrange social security and crap, or does she worry about that?

    Also, what’s a reasonable amount to pay? Some of the services were saying $30/hour, which seemed really really really really high to me.

  27. Roberta on September 27th, 2006 7:22 am

    Cleaning lady = sanity. She comes once a week and spends 3 hours, and accomplishes more than I do when I spend the weekend cleaning. I’m not sure how that can be, but it’s true regardless.

  28. sweetney on September 27th, 2006 7:47 am

    dude, i’m so with you here. i’ve been mentally tossing around the idea of getting a cleaning service as well. and hey, how’s that roomba? do you have the vaccum model or the floor washing model? does it work well?

  29. MRW on September 27th, 2006 8:27 am

    Swistle, when looking for a cleaning person, asked everyone I knew, I mean everyone – co-workers, family, friends and came up with names of a couple of people that own their own cleaning businesses, were trustworthy and had been working for friends for years. The woman I hired cleans my house every other week and I don’t have to be there. She is bonded, had worked for friends for a long time, and does a great job. I had a couple of false starts with cleaning services, so I wasn’t wild about them, but the person who owns their own business is great. Also, at least in Portland, Oregon $25-$30/hour is average.

  30. Lindsey on September 27th, 2006 8:34 am

    Bok bok bok BUKKAKE = hardest I have laughed out loud in a long time.

  31. Jennifer on September 27th, 2006 10:17 am

    I’ve been seriously considering getting a cleaning lady too. I feel stupid because 1. I totally do not make enough money for that kind of shit, 2. I feel like it will make me seem pretentious, lazy, or both. But I fucking hate how it seems like I spend all my free time cleaning the house and it just keeps getting dirty, and then I start a big fight with my boyfriend about how I’m not the goddamn maid and it won’t kill him to do the laundry and scrub the bathtub once in awhile.

    I bought a Dyson about 6 months ago in hopes that having an awesome, cute, PURPLE vacuum (which actually, you know, WORKED) would make me hate cleaning less…. but shockingly, that didn’t really work. Vacuuming is still boring. Cat hair is still everywhere.

  32. Melissa on September 27th, 2006 5:42 pm

    My husband was saying, the other day, that money can’t buy happiness. And I said, but having a cleaning lady buys me happiness. Two words-Hire one. So worth your sanity.

  33. Amy on September 27th, 2006 8:06 pm

    It’s interesting reading these comments. We had a cleaning lady for years before our son was born, and until about 3 months after his birth. Then, the loss of my salary started getting really painful and we stopped the service “temporarily”, moved across the country and just haven’t started it again.

    It really did change our lives when we hired the cleaning lady initially. Suddenly, no more fights! The toilets were clean! The floors were scrubbed! And best of all, my weekends were cleaning binge-free. But even now that we have room for it in our budget again, I don’t have much of a desire for one. Staying home with the kid, I seem to mostly have time to get things done.

    Long-windedly, though, it sounds like you should hire one. You’ve got the cash for it, cleaning is driving you crazy, and you know what? JB really *will* get over it once he sees the improvement in your mood.

  34. katie d on September 28th, 2006 9:09 pm

    I’m with the cleaning lady camp. It *is* blocks of time. Seize the day!

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