Seriously, get a maid

Through the Ages With Millie The Model

Through the Ages With Millie The Model (Photo credit: Terry McCombs)

I don’t want to get all domestic on you, or dust off my ol’ Martha Stewart straw hat, but it is time. It is time to clean my house. I was brought up in a very clean and neat house. Truly, I was. When I was a kid I loved to dust. Mom would hide nickels under the doilies and the little decorative table cloths (someone lovingly embroidered with birds of prey) that covered our coffee table and end tables to see if my sister and I would find them when we dusted. My sister never did. I always found them and added them to my weekly allowance which was saved up to buy the latest comic book that week (Archie and Millie the Model were two of my favourites—I was not a literary child.) The irony here is that today you can eat off my sister’s floors. You can eat off my floors too, after you have shovelled them.

Seriously, I do not usually let the house go to such extremes, though I do like it to be a little challenging — not dirty per se, but a bit beyond dusty before I clean, so I feel the whole exercise is worthwhile. I remember cleaning my mom’s house, and there was never much satisfaction to the whole cleaning thing (except that it made her happy) because the place never got dirty. You did not have to wear shoes in my mom’s house to keep your feet clean. I am not saying you have to do that at my house, but when you come to my door, and I ask you to leave your shoes on, it is not necessarily for your comfort (which of course is very important), but it is so you do not go home with remnants of delinquent dust bunnies on your clean white socks.

You know what convinced me that I needed to get the vacuum out (and use it)? Some crumbs fell off a kitchen cupboard, and instead of landing on the floor, they got caught in a cobweb and were suspended midair about an inch off the ground. That is what convinced me. I told this to my sister in an email, and asked her if I should really reveal this stuff in a blog post. I have received no comment from her yet. But I do not judge myself by my housekeeping skills. (Thank goodness). Okay, I will admit to getting the vacuum out and using it as a prop “as if” I am in the middle of cleaning, but I really do not derive any self-actualization from vacuuming.

Another sign that perhaps I should clean is the fan in my kitchen, which is on perpetually all the time. Yesterday my youngest son was trying to stop it with his hand (hey, he is 21, do you need to know more?).  When I asked him why he was doing that, he turned it off and said he was trying to see if you could see his handprint in the dust.  (Again, why? Same answer, he is 21—now don’t ask that question again.) In my defence, kitchen fans are notorious for collecting dust because of all the leftover cooking residue (okay, grease). The dust gets caught in the residue (okay, again grease—are you trying to embarrass me?) and stays there until you decide to climb up on a chair, risk life and limb, and scrub it off.  My answer to this whole dilemma is to keep the fan on all summer, then clean it in November when it is no longer needed.  You cannot see dust on a whirling fan.

I know that this topic is a recurring subject in my writing. And I know that it will come up again. But please do not judge me. If you come to my house and I am expecting you, I can fool you into believing that I am not a total slob. If you come to my house, and I am not expecting you, you will have to stay in my one sane room in the house – the living room, as I keep it pretty neat most of the time.  If you need to go upstairs to the bathroom though, you will have to put on a blindfold. So, call first if you have a weak bladder.

I am now going to clean my house. Really. This was just a pep talk to prepare me for the process until I can afford a maid and a butler and a cook and a chauffeur. (Hey, if you don’t dream big, why dream at all?)

Update: I did clean my house. No I do not feel self-actualized. Ask Pavlov –no, no, that was the guy with the drooling dogs; ask Maslow, he was the hierarchy of needs guy.

Abraham Maslow Quote (2)

Abraham Maslow Quote (2) (Photo credit: Psychology Pictures)

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Published in: on July 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm  Comments (65)  
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  1. Too funny! My housekeeping standards have relaxed a lot since having children and working full time outside of the home. I tend to aim low on the cleaning front and avoid disappointment. That said, its generally neat and tidy on the main floor where it is visible to the never ending stream of neighbours and customers (part time home business), and I keep the kitchen clean.

    We avoid low flying cobwebs with a variety of short children and big dogs – tails and windmilling arms seem to be effective cobweb sweepers. Its just the upper corners that I notice them in. My solution – don’t look up. Clean when necessary (before dinner parties and for house guests).

    But I will probably be cleaning house tomorrow too, then declaring it done until I feel the pressure of someone coming over for dinner. sigh.

    • I love the don’t look up wisdom – I only have big guys in my home now – no little guys–and the cat makes friends with all small critters in the house – giant ants under the sink, spiders, and even the mice in the basement (that are gone now–but not because of Kitty Bob)

  2. I’ve tried keeping Up & it stresses me out. So – my imaginary therapist told me to take a chill pill & to realize it will never have that magazine look. My house is lived in & I’m good with that – I think – ;)

    • I like that – my imaginary therapist just told me to have a glass of wine and forgetaboutit. Lived in is a good look in my books

  3. Oh I need to get moving on the cleaning too. My sis just phoned to say she’s coming to visit on Saturday with her husband and two kids. Better try and dig out the spare room from all the junk…..

  4. at least you can find your spare room – I think I may have one upstairs – used to be my son’s — now it is a repository
    good luck with your cleaning – the visit will be worth it

  5. Ha! This was so great, Lou Ann. How cool your Mom leaving behind nickels under doilies to check and see if you guys dusted. Clever. Loved your wit on this piece. I’m a pretty good housekeeper I guess. Things LOOK clean, but there are times when I have to pull out the full amour and get down into the gross crevices you spoke of. What’s the saying — A clean house is an indication of a life not lived?? Something like that. I don’t mind a few stray dust bunnies so I guess for the most part “my needs” are satisfied as far as housecleaning goes….:).

  6. “A clean house is a sign of a life mispent” is a quilted sign I have in my dining room. I rely on it when my house is not up to par. I have to admit I do like clean, just not the process to get there.

    • I need to get me that sign!

      • me too

      • oh that sign – I thought you wanted the ex-mother-in-law’s sign of another blogger–my sign works sometimes – I just point to it and people seem to understand — after they have tripped over some shoes and watched a dust bunny run across their fot

  7. LouAnn, your house is welcoming and a place I always want to visit. Mom put nickels under the doilies????? Hmmmm, news to me, lol!

    • news to you because you did not find them — now who is neat and who is not
      thanks for the welcoming and place you want to visit stuff – you are a good sister

  8. If you’re still in the mood could you come over and help me clean mine?

    • sorry, the mood passes so fast – will let you know if I ever get into it again

  9. “I do like it to be a little challenging” …. That is pure genius! I will now use this line when Mr. Whine suggests I clean in my free time. Sorry sweetheart – not yet challenging enough for my taste!

    • My Mr. is usually smart enough not to suggest I clean, but he does suggest I get organized which is really irritating–must come up with a line that will work for this instance

  10. It’s okay, most of us don’t expect a home to be perfectly spotless. I think I would be scared if it was!

  11. Leaving money to find is fantastic. I’m going to try that.
    Why is it we always think our house is worse than it is. Most people don’t notice unless you’re a candidate for Hoarders.

    • That is true – I try not to apologize so I do not draw attention to the dust bunnies (or kangaroos as we call them at our house).

  12. Hahahaha, I so get that! Once the cleaning bug bites you – then there is no stopping until its all clean. The problem is, the bug just takes forever! :P

  13. I am sure to keep these tips for when I finish school, move out and have to clean my place my friend ;)
    The money tip for sure! And yea, I will be dreaming of a maid of 3 :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • glad to be of help – remember to put the vacuum where you will not trip on it — I am not that smart

  14. Brilliant!! You really made me chuckle! Thank you! A woman after my own heart :)

  15. Hahaha! This sounds familiar. In fact, I’ve had my vacuum cleaner resting by the kitchen cupboard for about two weeks now. Thanks for the laugh, LouAnn.

  16. Congrats! I have given up…at least until my daughter is in school full-time. I try to keep up with the mess but have decided I’d rather do anything else than clean with my free time….but I do crave a clean house!

    • Free time – clean house – I know who the winner would be at my house – although I have to admit, I too, like a clean house

  17. I used to be a COMPLETE anti-housework person, back when I was a single mom. Hey, read with my little girl or vacuum? C’mon, hands down, the kid wins. Then I met my future (and I think final) husband, Lex, who made a joke about “dust rhinos” when he was visiting. I handed him a broom. Together, we cleaned my whole place up.

    Later, married, etc., he balanced his OCD with my “whatever” and now we are “clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be happy”! Thanks for visiting my blog, hon. Peace and to hell with cobwebs, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/07/03/snapshots-of-then-dverse-im-back/

    • I must say I like your attitude – “clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be happy” – I think I have a new mantra.
      Enjoy your blog – thanks for dropping by.

  18. This was hysterical. I chuckled through the whole thing. Don’t be jealous but my housecleaner left two minutes ago. Sorry.

  19. Oh, thank you for this post! I am always feeling slovenly in my house. I work from home so I think people expect me to be cleaning all the time but I have better things to do. I grew up with a very tidy mother and I think I am rebelling now. I am not dirty but I don’t dust every day/week/longer. My husband is a neat freak and we often have arguments about tidiness. It makes me want to rebel even more. Though he never dusts. I wish someone would leave me money lying around to find… and I would happily get the feather duster out. Love the anecdote about the crumbs in the spider’s web. Hey, there’s another good use for spiders!

    • I work from home too – and work quite happily among the dust bunnies – they keep me company – I think one in particular is my muse. I have started naming the ants who are trying to take over. The spiders though are not quite as welcome.

  20. love this post. it’s laugh out loud funny. i too have used the vacuum cleaner prop. i am a “company’s coming” kind of cleaner. i often spend more time thinking about it than it takes to do it. although, i have gotten better since denise and i started our cooking adventures for some odd reason. maybe her good habits are rubbing off on me.

    • I think we should form a vacuum cleaner as prop club–I too think about cleaning more than I do it – though 5 minutes may be as long as I think about it
      glad you enjoyed it–maybe I need denise’s good habits too

  21. I loved it…you said what likely a lot of us think from time to time when we talk our self out of doing the housework ‘today’….tomorrow will be a better day!!! ….Diane

  22. My ex-mother-in-law used to have a little plaque up in her kitchen. It read, “Come in, sit down, share a laugh and converse, My house doesn’t always look like this, sometimes it’s worse.”
    She also grew up in a house which was immaculate, or so I have heard. Some say that a too-tidy house is the sure sign of a neurotic human.
    I spent some years making my living as a housecleaner. There is no shame whatsoever in being messy or not cleaning regularly…. and for all of my clients, it was ABSOLUTLY worth the little money they paid me to come and make their home shine once every couple of weeks. I highly recommend it, and urge you to forget thinking that only rich people pay someone to clean their house. And for the $75 payment, you will help someone to pay their bills, and will receive tremendous peace of mind from them after they leave. And will no longer worry about spider webs holding crumbs on your living room floors! SB

    • Love the plaque message – need to get one of those for my kitchen, I assure you that if I had the $ I would be happy to hire someone to give me peace of mind, until then I will just have to do it myself or start naming my dust bunnies. When I was a teenager I helped my aunt clean houses – I did not like it then either.
      And–it is nice to know I am not neurotic

  23. Very funny post…dust waits patiently until you decide to get rid of it.

    • It does, doesn’t it – although it does gather and wisp around if you let it go too far – similar to tumbleweed, only it is tumbledust. Thanks for dropping by.

  24. I feel for you. I am trying to motivate for this task as well.

  25. if you find some fun motivation, let me know

  26. Oh that was a fun read! I gave up the idea of a cleaning person because I think I would have to clean before they came! Living in the country has proven that the dust wins anyway so I only dust when it’s really bad. If a house is too clean, then people can’t relax so I try to keep my house comfortably dirty which means company can relax when they are here. Thanks for the laugh!

    • I like that — comfortably dirty – means you will catch no diseases, but not have someone harping at you to pick up after yourself all the time – thanks for dropping int

  27. Well I am finally getting around to making up my bed every day. Nice progress, do you think?

  28. Excellent progress – I am still trying to reach that goal – how did you do it– in steps or all at once? You would think it would be such a simple thing, but nooooo, not for me. I celebrate your breakthrough and hope that one day, I too, will be making my bed everyday,(this is not tongue in cheek if you are wondering)

  29. I like the bit about ‘should I really blog this’. Our home is not a show home and my wife has a couple of friends who, when a planned visit takes place to their home, one room looks okay and doors nearby are closed showing bits stuck around the edges (clothes, shoes, bags, pets). Bruce

  30. That quote on being unhappy all the days of your life (at the end of your post) is so very well said.

    I grew up in a household of neglect, amongst mess, and was determined since my very first day alone, to have clean household. And I have. It just feels good.

  31. My house is totalled too. It happens with three kids and three jobs Something’s gotta give

  32. Great post – very honest! I’ve noticed that as I get older I get more able to put up with dirt, sort of regressing to my teenage days when a mess never worried me. I hope I never get quite that messy again, but it is nice to have a relaxed attitude towards tidiness and cleanliness.

    • And when you finally do get around to cleaning — it is really worth the effort! (lol) Thanks for visiting — and if you are like me, your dirt is clean.

  33. Your mother was very smart about cleaning day and gaining a little help. My philosophy is simple: Don’t bother cleaning until you can see an improvement from the effort.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you–I just finished vacuuming up the dust kangeroos and found the top of my coffee table and it is very satisfying!


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