There are only 2 people I’ll go out of my way to clean for

I ran 7.5 miles and  then did 30 push ups earlier today.  I’ll get to that in another post some other time, hopefully soonish.   I’ve had my first ever ice bath, wasn’t as bad as I thought and finished my cleaning chores so I can finally sit down and write.

I had to actually vacuum my own home today and it got me thinking about cleaning. .  I pay  The Ladies to  clean the whole thing every 3 weeks. Well, to be fair Babu pays them to do it.  So other than dishes or the more than occasional disaster I flat out prefer not to clean, ever.   It’s not that I mind cleaning, it does a lot for the  clearing of a mind or the satisfaction of a job well done, it’s just that there are always at least 100 other things I’d rather be doing.   When we didn’t have  The Ladies, Babu and I  split the chores we couldn’t pawn off on the kids evenly, and that division of work applies to what’s left for us even with regular The Ladies visits. I could go into an entire side bar about how much I loathe laundry, but I’m trying to stay on track here because very soon I’m getting to my point.

I have never been  a neat freak.  We don’t live in filth , most of the time, but I’ve been known to let dishes pile up for days and days before doing them.  They aren’t going anywhere.  I recently solved this problem by assigning MiniMe and the Destroyer to dish duty.  Babu does 90% of the cooking because he wants to. I am a great cook but ever since he moved back in this is just how it has been and I’m certainly not going to screw myself out of that deal.  The rule in our house is whoever doesn’t cook, cleans.  As the kids are 6 and 9 now, and they eat the family meal, they can participate in the family chores.  I’m not sending my kids out into the world with no life skills.  I don’t want my future children in law glaring at me because my kids don’t know how to load or unload a dishwasher, or scrub a toilet, or fold their laundry. Houses and families don’t run themselves and they live in this house and are part of our family.  One of our family rules is that everyone participates in the running of the household.

Since I’ve never been a neat freak when you come to my house you get what you get.  I don’t play the do special freak out cleaning game. I  don’t subscribe to the Mother or MIL is coming so the house has to be spotless crap.  If they are coming to see a clean house then they can clean it if they don’t like it.  Thankfully I don’t have a Mother or MIL with cleaning issues, so this has worked out well for me.   In reality there are only 2 people I will go out of my way to clean for.

the first is more a set of people than a person.  People who have never been to my house before because I don’t want them to think we live like pigs all the time. This way when they come back over that 2nd time and see that we actually DO live in a messy house they are more apt to forgive me because they saw the nice cleanish pretty house the first time.   I have even been known,  in times we don’t have maids, to clean my house but leave something uncleaned on purpose because I don’t want to set the bar too high.  Like the dusting, or the mopping etc.   I work,  Babu works, we both have outside activities and if you’re  spending too much time looking at the dust bunnies or dog prints on the floor and making judgments about that, then you are a bitch and don’t need  to be in my house or in my inner circle.   I will ALWAYS try to make sure the toilets are clean, the drive is shoveled and the couch is febreezed because we aren’t savages.  But those 3 things are pretty much my only standards.

Except for person #2.  I will go out of my way to clean for Chef Badass. Chef Badass is a professional.   He likes a clean working area and does not like to cook in a messy kitchen. Our relationship has deepened over the years as he has spent more time cooking in my kitchen, but even in the early stages I tried to make sure the kitchen was presentable because I could just tell he would prefer not to cook in  a mess.  This means I make sure the sink is empty and clean, the stove top is clear from gunk, the counters are clear and as spotless as I can get them.   He has never demanded this, but it has become a bit of an inside  joke with us and at this point in our relationship he would probably tell me to get my a$$ is the kitchen and prep it properly for him.  I’m not entirely doing this out of unselfish motives.  His food is amazing and he is probably going to be famous some day.   Famous like 4-5 star restaurant maybe even on TV famous.   It started out as sucking up. If I give Chef B a great kitchen to cook in maybe he will cook for me another time beyond this one.  If I give him a really clean kitchen when I walk in with enough ingredients for a DOUBLE batch of B’s and G’s and sweetly demand he comply with my desires maybe he won’t tell me to STFU.  I may have mentioned previously that, and I mean this in the most love filled way possible, Chef B is kind of a dick.  He is unabashedly himself, and all chefs are probably a  bit of a dick, just like all surgeons are arrogant.  These personality traits are almost required to be a good one.   One day Chef Badass is going on to big things. We have loved and supported he and Ava G since that very first night I got her wasted on wine while she was helping him cater out Open House.  One day he will have his own place, and he will command that place in whatever way he sees fit, it will flourish. My not so secret hope for this eventuality is a personal bottle of vodka in the cooler and a stool in the back with my name on it.  The cute boy named Julio to fetch my Vodka and pour it for me is entirely optional.  ” Chef, the crazy curly haired lady is here again.”  I want to be able to walk into his place and walk right back to the kitchen because we are just that close.  Truthfully, I dream of this stool/vodka combo as a little nirvana where I can escape the world and enjoy a fabulous make me whatever meal without having to  worry that there are no reservations for 6+ months.  I want Chef B to succeed, and I hope that when he does he remembers all those times I cleaned my kitchen and let him use my printer. 🙂

Which brings us full circle.  Tonight Chef B and Ava G are coming for dinner, which Chef B is cooking. And Uncle Shaggy is coming over and bringing his new girlfriend, who has never been in my house.  The Ladies don’t come until Wednesday so the house is a bit worse for wear at the moment.  But I febreezed the couch,  vacuumed up the dog/cat hair from the hardwoods,  made MiniMe clean the guest bathroom toilet and made darn sure the kitchen was clean for  Chef Badass.  I hope he remembers 5 years from now that I like Ciroc Red Berry, a stool with a back and a foot rest and to hire a  cute waiter named Julio.

The Ladies are coming, the Ladies are coming!!!

It’s big excitement in the Lola house today.    I am officially getting my maids back!  Which of course prompted me to want to tell you some of my maid stories.

I am an extremely picky to work for.  When I hire maids, if I am using a service, then I usually go through 2-3 crews before landing on one I trust to clean my house to my specifications .I expect you to pay attention to details, I don’t mean I go all crazy bitch if you miss one little thing. I mean I think it is fairly reasonable to expect that when I am paying you to dust my home, you will dust the  actually objects  sitting on the dusty surfaces as well as the dusty surfaces themselves.  That when you mop my floors I can not bend down and find spot I can scrape up with my fingernail of gunk still stuck on my floors.   That when you make the beds you will make them nicely and a litmus test is what  do you with Mr. Bear.   Mr. Bear is the ratty ass  bear I’ve slept with since my sophomore year of college.  I got him the summer I sold books  for Southwestern, but not until after I got home.  Mr. Bear has had many adventures and is fairly special to me.  Though I would not need a PTO day if something happened to him or  anything.    I try to be a good home owner by taking the  time to pick things up so the maids have surfaces they can  actually see and  access to be able to clean them.  This has resulted in many what was many  Tuesday nights running around the house “cleaning” for the maids to come. I set the sheet outs to change the beds etc…   Also I work from my Home Office quite a bit and they have to pass the don’t drive me batty test.   I have permanently solved this part of the problem by having the current service clean on a day I am in the office ( Wednesday).  I explain my  expectation to the  owner of the service and they put up with me until they send me a crew I like, and then I stick with them as long as I can unless something goes wrong.  Now lot’s has gone “wrong” over the years.

We  got maids sometime when MiniMe was a baby, and kept the same company for years until we put our  first house on the market when The Destroyer was about  18 months old.   This service had a few crews and 2-3 ladies would show up at my house, one is the supervisor and the other 1-2 are workers.  Greasy the owner had to send over a  few crews until  I landed on a few select ladies. As long as C, K or L where in my house, and preferably all 3 then life was good.  These were The Ladies!  It started out that only K was a supervisor, then C became one and her own team. L was usually on one of their teams.  New girls would rotate in and out, but I was happy as long as the crew had C, K or L in it.   Now I work for an amazing   mother friendly company. I worked from home 2 days a week when both kids were babies, and they stayed at home with me while I was working so I could breastfeed them.      They both went to daycare part time until they got mobile or in the way. For MiniMe this lasted 18 months for The Destroyer about 6 months.  Our office has a locking  nursing mothers room with this amazing leather chair that I totally need to tell our facilities manager I  have dibs on if we ever get rid of it.   When  The Ladies started coming to our home there was a baby, and when they quit there were two. There was always a nursery to clean and often a kid in the house as well.  The  Ladies took care of both of us.

If there were a few things left  out, they picked them up.  They folded blankets on cribs and  big girl rooms, they put Mr. Bear on the bed up at the top by the pillows. They did a good job cleaning and were very responsive to  feedback fro tweaking things.  As the months and years progressed they became a part of our lives in what felt like a permanent way.  They gave a stressed out, working from home but has been up since 4:45 EVERY stinking morning mother, some adult human interaction.  The respected my vacuum or no vacuum the babies room because he/she is sleeping/sick/fussy right now wishes and they ASKED every time how it should be.   They came in, greeted me/us, had a short review session with me for any special instructions and got the hell to work.  Then they worked their asses off for 2-3+ hours and left my house spotless and my soul a tiny bit refreshed.  It became easy to get MiniMe to pickup her room and play room  because she was doing it for The Ladies, not just for Mommy.    As they spent time in my house I got to know them and a little bit about their lives.   They became a little more than just maids.  The became The Ladies.  So much so that we still call maids The Ladies in our house today.   They have also set the bar so high on both a professional and personal level that I fear no other  set of ladies is ever going to earn the name.

You can tell a lot about people by how they handle awkward  or potentially tense situations.   You can tell a lot about a  Cleaning Service or person by how they handle  feedback and um..when bad things happen.  I’ve had two maid services steal pain pills from me. Both times tight off my dresser right out of the bottle and while I actively needed them!   The first time it was while The Ladies were cleaning, I’d had a miscarriage between MiniMe and The Destroyer.  Yes, I’ve lost a baby myself and that is part of the reason I had no qualms telling you that IMHO PJ never actually had this  happen to him.   Anyway that day I had only 2 of the C,K,L trifecta and there was a new girl.  It is a cleaning service there is always a new girl and they often got trained on either C or K’s crew.   I had ten, had taken two, leaving eight.  I went to take one more that afternoon and there were only 6 in the bottle.  I swear people are DUMB!!!  I called   Greasy the owner and  left a message.  I was heartsick, please let it be the new girl I thought.  I don’t want to lose faith in my Ladies. I kept going over the count in my head, had  I taken more pills than I thought? No I had not I decided, I’d only come  home from the DNC the night before.    Within a few hours I got a call back. “She’s fired he told me.  We pulled the records and she was your duster. Obviously we can’t have that type of thing happening and we would be happy to replace the cost of the medication to do whatever else we need to do to make this right.”  The next time  The  Ladies came we got it right out in the open. I was so glad it wasn’t  any of them, and never thought it could be. They were very sorry it happened and that new girl was a mess anyway.  I still got new girls from time to time, they would be brought it introduced to me and told  how it was. Then They’d get to work and get feedback from C, or K during their time to be sure they did it right.

I had The Ladies until we put our house on the market.   I figured if I was going to have to keep the house spotless  I wasn’t going to keep paying  for someone else to do it.   Then we lived in a tiny 3 bedroom, almost basement like, dark, dank, and nasty apartment for many months  while the Dream House was being built and once we moved in I wanted The Ladies back.   But my new house was almost twice the size of the old one and the ladies we all loved  so much were no longer working for the company so I’ve been going through maids ever since.

I fired one because she thought it was crazy talk that I expected her to be sure and dust the stairwell bannisters and change my bed linens. Then she started taking longer and longer to clean my house and the job started getting shittier and shittier.   The lady down the street, who I had gotten her name from, had fired her as well.  I fired one cleaning company because when THEY stole pain pills from me in an eerily similar fashion after my ablation ( my poor uterus has been under siege its whole life) , their  owner REFUSED to believe it was them that did it.  He actually said to me. “If you told me they took something else I could see it, but they would never steal medication. I talked to them and they swear it wasn’t them.”  Really??? If  I’d said they  stole money or my jewelry that would be not a surprise,   but pain pills are a big shocker??? Really???    Then I had to talk business  as The Husband calls it.    “I can’t trust you in my home, you have handled this badly and you’re fired. ”

On a side note I had to talk business to the jackass that thought it was a good idea to stand on my porch yesterday evening after my 4 mile run and argue with me  about why I wouldn’t hire him to be my lawn service.   I have a lawn service guy, he does what I tell him and tells me when he thinks he really needs to do more.  D knows how to handle and do business with me and I am  quite loyal because of that.    I finally told I wanna be our lawn guy if he manged to turn Uni’s  yard  next door around then we could talk next fall.  He gasped and sputtered.  The end went like this.. “You can get off my porch now, I’m  done”   He  shoved a flier in my hand, shook his head, laughed and sulked off the porch while I shut the door.  I’ve seen that look in a dudes eyes when I dress him down before.  He’ll be back because getting my business is  a challenge now.  The Husband will handle it. I have no tolerance for people standing on my porch wanting to argue with me.  Or arguing with me in a combative way after I  have continued to say no.   Ask my kids how this usually goes for them… If you want to change my NO to a YES, you better be able to do it an an intelligent and respectful manner. Bring me your point of view as an adult not your “but your lawn guy  sucks I could be so much better way”..while you ogle the patchiness in my front lawn like it’s all the  current lawn guys fault.   D-bag…. Get the fuck off my porch.

Back to the maids….

The service after that is the one is coming back today.  They started  right  smack dab in the middle of the GW cam days and cleaned for us  until May 2010.  I kept the house on my healthy income  and the whopping  $150-300 or so (he paid more than the state told him he had to and quite frankly neither of us can remember exactly how much it was)  a paycheck The Husband was paying me in child support wasn’t going to be used for maids.  It was going towards  weekly double therapy session for the kids and Mommy’s Divorce diet of beer and vodka.  I’m super excited they are back and the owner already knows  each crew is a little test until we land on just the right one.  And when I walk into my house tonight after work it will be  MAGICALLY clean and pretty.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH… I love having maids.