It was 6 months ago that I said to my husband, “Gee, our bathrooms are pretty grimy. I’m going to make it a priority to clean those.” Babyboy was 3 months old, and it seemed normal and reasonable that the bathrooms would be less than spotless. We were new parents. I had a hard time breastfeeding. I was tired. My husband was working, which meant traveling a lot, and he was pretty tired. But I really thought that we would get around, somehow, magically, to the cleaning of the bathrooms...and to mopping the kitchen floor, wiping down the refrigerator, reorganizing the cellar, laundering the curtains. But I went back to work in the clinic, and we fell into a busy rhythm... and all those tasks that so need to be done so never got done.
We did the basics: the essential laundry (especially when there was poop or spitup involved), an occasional vacuum of areas that guests might see (usually five minutes before they were to arrive), a hasty wipedown of the downstairs half-bath (ditto), and picking up the cat puke (generally within 24 hours of seeing it). You know, the basics.
So, nine months after the birth of our first child, my husband and I realized that if we ever wanted a truly clean (or even minimally hygienic) house again, we needed to pay someone else to do it. What really spurred us was the idea of a CRAWLING BABY. All the magazines say that to prepare your home for your exploring infant, you need to get down to your child’s level to look for potential danger: uncovered outlets, small objects, sharp corners.
Well, I got down to ground level in our dining/living rooms one day and scanned from under the dining room table to under the sofa. I saw: crumbs, identifiable bits and pieces of dried-up food, scattered kitty litter, massive dust bunnies (bunnies is too tame a term, these were more like dust-beasts), mangled cat toys, and dirt. Lots and lots of dirt.
So at a neighborhood get-together, I took a poll. A lot of my neighbors use a cleaning service. Good, I thought, they won’t think we’re THOSE kind of people. One lady was very happy with her service, and she gave me their contact information. I called. The next day, a woman came by to give me an estimate. She was Brazilian, dressed fashionably, even elegantly. As she walked through the house she occasionally wiped her index finger along a surface (my bookcase of medical reference books, for example). Her finger left a stark streak in the thick layer of dust.
“Hmm,” she said. “Yeah, we can do this. The first clean will need to be a deep clean. Really heavy. The works. But after that, I think one time every two weeks, we can keep it just so. Maintenance.”
She quoted me her price and I took it, no bargaining. I think I was supposed to bargain, but the price seemed so minimal compared to living in guilty filth. I was ashamed of the state of my home.
So they came. The Elegant Brazilian and her crew descended upon our little home and spent three solid hours; they did a good job. After they left, I walked around in awe, and I again felt guilty: It only took these people three hours to scrub this entire home spotless? Couldn’t we have done this and saved ourselves the money?
But these regrets faded fast, as the cleaning job faded fast. It took us (and our pets) about 24 hours to create visible clutter. Two weeks later, the countertops are again sticky and crusty, kitty litter has again migrated to the sitting room, and the bathrooms... well, I’ll spare you the details.
And I am SO excited that they're coming tomorrow!