Seeking some relief from an extraordinary schedule that includes monthly travel, weekly children’s activities, daily chores, and work from home, I hired a maid. She starts in two weeks. I met this woman by chance as she unloaded her vacuum from the trunk of her car. She was chatting with my little son in front of a neighbor’s home. A few hours later, she stopped by to give me an estimate. Apparently, there is a difference between clean and tidy. I thought my house was clean, as I had prepared for company that was still here. Everything was in its place. The dog hair had been vacuumed from the rugs. The coffee table glistened. Wilma, in her heavily accented English, announced that I definitely needed help. She pointed to the grout in the kitchen tiles, the bathroom tiles, and said, “Is ‘sposed to be white.” Yes, Wilma, but that some of that tile was laid nearly fifty years ago and I am just thankful the grout still holds. I was insulted. She ran her fingers on top of painting frames, window sills and sashes, baseboards.
“Dirty. Dusty. You need help. I see this,” she continued. She looked at the tracks for my shower doors, the brown between tiles near the shower, and fussed again. Appalled at my apparent ineptness to see dirt, I hired her on the spot. If she does not appreciate my mold, then she can be paid damn well to remove it. At least, when she lifted the toilet seat, I was not betrayed by a scandalous pink ring; I had swished the toilets two days prior.
Fridays and Saturdays are housecleaning days here. I do downstairs one day and upstairs the next. I grab some help whenever it is available, but apparently the short people in the house (Tiny and Chicken Little) don’t see dirt well, either. Today, after swearing that I would not clean one iota till Wilma crossed the threshold again, I found myself challenging the tiled kitchen counter with Comet and a toothbrush. Apparently, Wilma is right. The grout is indeed supposed to be white. Who knew? I tackled the sofa cushions with a vacuum and removed spider webs from two heavily used rooms in the house.
I won’t kill myself over next week’s cleaning routine. I’ll do the essentials and save the backbreaking labor for Wilma. But at least now I can sleep better knowing everything is under control. Bleach is a beautiful thing, as are dusters, scrubbers, and perfect Brazilian housekeepers.