Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cleaning Lady

I was going to blog about my Should I Hire a Cleaning Lady dilemma a couple weeks ago but was ashamed that I was going to hire a lady to clean my house.

It made me feel like a failure and lazy and like a big spoiled bitch who doesn't want to mop, which is what I am.

And I didn't want that leaking out onto the blog because what would you all think of me sitting up on my high horse with someone else cleaning my floors while I went on and on about the fabulous pedicure socks I just made for myself?

You would hate me and think mean things about me and it would tarnish this spotless image I've created in my own head of the Woman Who Can Do All Things while also maintaining a spotless house that isn't covered in animal or human hair.

Then I gave in to the dilemma and said, "Look, the house is all covered in hair and you can't do all the things you think you can AND keep the house hair-free so just call the nice Cleaning Lady and solve all your problems because I can't stand you or the hair anymore."

For a brief moment, I sighed with relief. The Cleaning Lady was going to come save me. Save me from the hairs. Save me from the evil evil mopping. Save me from throwing myself headlong into Bay Area traffic.

I was momentarily hopeful that I wouldn't suffocate myself with a Swiffer cloth during my third Swiffering of the day.

That hope has since dissolved. And do you know why? It isn't because I found peace in a bottle of Windex and the cleaning of my own house, let me assure you.

As it turns out, it is not the hiring of a Cleaning Lady that I have to be ashamed of - it's my inability to effectively hire a Cleaning Lady. Because, apparently, Cleaning Ladies lead some pretty fast-paced and irretrievably busy lives where they are unreachable 23 hours of the day despite having multiple phone lines which they never answer.

They're goddamned elusive. I call, I contend with bad connections, random hang-ups, not-so-good command of the language, bizarre schedules, answering machines with no outgoing message, voicemail systems that haven't been set up, the inability to return calls, etc. The list goes on. It's a communication nightmare.

I should have given up by now.

I should have decided that having a Cleaning Lady who can't even return a phone call would be a bad person to rely on for any services, much less those which require unsupervised house visits.

I should have come to terms with the squirty bottles under my sink and started scrubbing.

I should have been inspired by The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home book that I ordered as a gift for a friend.

But no.

No, it turns out that I really want to not clean so bad that I'm still trying to find the Cleaning Lady and get on her schedule because the thought of mopping a floor or Swiffering a hair or dusting a lamp or scrubbing the shower one. more. time. makes me want to throw up and then die.

I am harboring this very unhealthy dream that if I can just get a hold of The Cleaning Lady ONE SOLID TIME I will be able to set up an arrangement that will satisfy me for all time and result in a clean house forever. And then I can resume normal sleep patterns that don't include dreams about being trapped in a soapscummy shower.

So go ahead and be ashamed of me. I don't care anymore. I've lost my will to self-protect. I am an young able-bodied woman with no children who lives in a tiny ass house and, yet still, can't manage to live life and keep the house perfectly clean without seeking unreliable outside help that will no doubt cause more problems than it will solve.

I am prepared to be judged as the indulgent non-mopper that I yearn to be.

Note: For those of you about to comment on your Wonder Womanness -No one wants to hear about how you have a hundred kids and a petting zoo in your living room while you work full time and do air traffic control for Dullus while maintaining a sparkling clean house. I'll save you the time right now by reminding you that you are lying and can stow it.


I think I bitched loud enough for The Cleaning Lady to hear me (either that or the idle threat I left on her one functioning voicemail was more sincere sounding than I thought) because she left me two messages yesterday (that's right! I have a hundred phone numbers, too!) and then called me early this morning on my cell with a lot of important things to say. Specifically that she's sorry she's been hard to get a hold of (I'm paraphrasing, it was not that succinct) and that she definitely wants to come by and work out an arrangement and can she please OH PRETTY PLEASE come by on this Sunday afternoon to just look around and then set things up.

Um, ok. I suppooooooooooooose, that will be fine. I mean, I'll probably be hobbling since I will have just finished running 13.1 miles, but that will make my DIRE NEED for cleaning seem more genuine since I obviously wouldn't be able to push a mop in my condition.

Plus, if I seem ill at ease, she might understand why I've let the herds of hairballs alone to fight for dominance in every corner of my house.

P.S. You are all very awesome for taking my side and also not reminding me of what a failure I am for not ever wanting to clean our teensy tiny house when I'd rather be watching football, knitting anything, running amok or Flah Feeshin' with Bubba.


  1. Finny, I love you. I read your posts and I feel like I have found a kindred spirit. Thank you for voicing many of my thoughts and being so honest and fun. You rock!

  2. Well, so you don't feel so pathetic, I will tell you I have a cleaning lady, twice a month. She's been coming to my house for 8 years. Love her! Wish I could send her over to you, she always returns my phone calls. She helps keep me sane. Twice a month my whole house is clean. At the same time. And I like clean. (I also have 2 dogs, 3 children and a farmer living here, so I am still very familiar with the windex and the mop. unfortunately)

  3. If I could afford a cleaning lady, I would have one in a heart beat. So I say don't feel guilty! Good luck getting a hold of a good cleaner.

  4. If you can afford to hire a cleaning lady, then, hell yah, you should do it.

    And, the only reason our house is ever clean is because we make our 4 kids clean it every other Saturday morning before they can leave the house at all. We've kept them alive this long; they owe us. (And I promise I'm not suggesting that you should have kids for that reason. It's much more effective to skip the kids and keep the disposable income. We kind of missed that step, though.)

  5. I am no Wonderwoman...."worse," I don't even like cleaning. There. I said it.

    Those who can, do. Those who can't, hire a cleaning lady :)

  6. Don't be afraid to start with one of the big cleaning lady companies either. We SWEAR by one in our house. Coming home on the days that the Ladies have been in our house makes us giddy. I don't know why we waited so long.

  7. Girl, let me tell you, if I were working outside the home, and there was a choice between hiring a cleaning woman so that I could do anything in the world beside clean the house, including sitting on the couch admiring my clean house, I'd be all over it. There's no shame in that (and if there is, I don't really feel it.) I was going to suggest the Merry Maids or what have you option, too; at least they might return your blasted call!

    Hold onto your dream, Finn!

  8. My dream is to have a maid. One day my dream will come true......and I don't blame you one bit!!!

  9. I am presently working (in the final stages) on a cure for all know and unknown cancers. My evenings are spent reworking the legal and welfare system for America (per George's instructions). I have 12 children who I homeschool. All of my family's clothing is handmade by me. I rise at dawn and prepare a huge breakfast each morning. Our family of fourteen enjoys a sit-down gourmet dinner (prepared by me) each evening on hand washed china with silverware (not flatware-silverware)which is polished before each meal. My husband and I enjoy homemade wine made by me from the small vineyard I grow out back (in hand-washed Waterford stemware, of course). The children drink hand squeezed juices made from the various fresh fruits I have growing out back (but not in my Waterford). We enjoy a delightful dessert after dinner EVERY night (I trained in Europe and am now the finest pastry chef in America). My tenth novel will be ready for the publisher next week. My house is always immaculate because I clean it myself thrice daily rather than hire some (shudder) cleaning lady. Oh, and I also volunteer for several worthy organizations in my spare time. I don't understand why you are having trouble keeping your house clean.

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. I've been lurking for months now and your blog is hilarious! HIRE THE DAMN CLEANING LADY ALREADY!!!! Oh, and let me know how it goes. Maybe I can talk (beg) my husband into getting us one. Thanks for entertaining me with your blog!

  10. Ugh, I hate cleaning. Hire a cleaning lady. That's it. That's all I have to say about that.

  11. I decided we had to hire a house cleaner after the 10 millionth time I picked up a giant pile of cat hair. Seriously, best decision ever. It was a hassle to find someone and get it all set up, but once we did... there's no going back.

  12. My mom got me a cleaning lady for 6 months, twice a month, when i had my first kid.

    Three kids and two dogs later, I have a cleaning lady come once a week and I LOVE IT. I LOVE not having to clean the bathrooms, mop the floors, vacuum, dust, etc. It leaves more time for what i really want to do--knit, run, run with the dogs in the woods, ride my bike, and go out to lunch with my friends. You know, selfish stuff that MAKES ME HAPPY. Cleaning the house never made me happy. Having it cleaned for me does.

    You go girl!


  13. OK - so I don't mind housecleaning...but my husband has never had to do any (yeah - his mom's a giver). Rather than constantly arguing about it - and seeing as though he will NEVER do his share of cleaning - we got a cleaning lady. WORTH EVERY CENT

  14. Do it, for God's sake, just do it....

    When I had a cleaning lady, I was so much happier, I felt bad, but my house was sparkling at least two days out of the month. My allergies improved, my checking account reflected a little less, but I was in step-mommy, young wife with a rigorous gym / work schedule bliss..

    I can't stress more what a good idea this is...and when you find that elusive cleaning lady, give me her number. Because mine isn't answering my calls anymore!!!

    We don't think less of you, you silly woman. It's a move in the right direction. Wonderwoman never cleaned, she flew around in her invisible jet.

    Since we're moving to a bigger pad...I will need all the help I can get!!


  15. For years, my husband refused to help with the house work, which was a point. When we bought our new house, the amount of work to take care of it quickly left me feeling unable and out of control, two feelings I hate with a passion. No matter what my complaint at the lack of help, my every bitch and complaint was met with comments like "If you don't clean, the house isn't going to fall down." Now some people may think that is a great point of view to have, but I grew up in a family in which we were never lucky enough to own our own homes, and I was taking pride in my surroundings for the first time ever. So, I did my best to lay down the law with the most stubborn husband that I've ever met. I told him he would either help me clean the house, or it would become my full time job. So, I was a stay at home wife for 11 months before the birth of our first daughter. I felt so guilty, but was damned if I was going to back down. Having said that, my neighbors now think I'm Martha Freaking Stewart because in my new found boredom I bake more muffins than one house needs, hand make children's clothes for birthday parties, and make sure I cook dinner every night. And I still regret my decision. Hire a cleaning lady and hold on to the identity that you have worked so hard to create for yourself and never look back!

  16. We hired a cleaning service (Merry Maids, which we have been very happy with) almost a year ago, and I swear I will never go back. I come home to a spotless house every two weeks, and it is WONDERFUL. Besides the obvious benefit of not having to clean, it's also been amazing to finally get rid of the stress of cleaning -- I used to go into every weekend thinking of all the housework we should do and then feel guilty on Sunday night that we hadn't gotten it all done. No longer!!! Plus, getting rid of the tension with the spouse over who does (or doesn't) do what makes it even more worth it. There is NO REASON to feel guilty about hiring a cleaner. I think everyone who can afford to should do it RIGHT NOW. :)

  17. I will not lie. I would LOVE to have a cleaning lady. There's too much to do to keep a house clean. Too many to clean up after that makes cleaning the house near impossible.

    Joe's great-aunt (who is turned 87 today) cleans houses for people. They take advantage of her and I'm about to tell those people off. She goes every 2 wks to the houses and they pay her $20 to work all day. 8-9 hours. They do NO maintenance in the interim. They don't even do their own laundry. Poor Aunt Lettie. (She also cleans for her church but she has to pay for her own cleaning supplies and paper supplies for the bathroom. I think they "pay" her $25 a month.)

  18. As you know, been there, done that. I held out in pride that *I can clean my own house and I'm not a spoiled brat and I can save money by doing it myself etc. etc. etc* for a while, then when I realized I was exhausted on the weekends and spending half my Saturdays trying to clean when I knew the house would just become a disaster again by Monday, I, as Ale would say "surrendered."

    Only words of advice are to make sure that your expectations are crystal clear. You know all of my crazy, wacky stories. Don't want anyone rearranging your underwear drawer, do you?

  19. Ooh, how timely (I've only just ventured onto your blog). My man and I just agreed to get a cleaning person! I find it hard to swallow the fact that it's going to cost thousands of dollars a year - I mean, that's a vacation to Paris, right? But then I think, how much nicer for it to be a vacation at home every day of the year!

    I hadn't anticipated the search might be hard, though. I've gotten a few recommendations for people and services on the peninsula - let me know if you need.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.