I spent this morning racing
around the house, straightening up.
Any woman lucky enough to have a daily, weekly, or
even occasional housekeeper knows the drill: You must clean up before
The table is strewn with mail, magazines and
newspapers you haven’t read. Those must at least be organized into a
“neat” pile. It wouldn’t do for her think you have a tendency to let
things pile up and get, ahem, out of control.
All the newspapers and magazines you have read must be
gathered up and put in the recycling bin. It wouldn’t do for her to
think you mean to toss them in the trash. Sometime. Perhaps.
The muddy doggie paws across the kitchen floor need a
quick swipe with a damp mop. It wouldn’t do for her to think they’d been
there for days, even if they have.
The sagging plants have to be watered, and the dead
leaves snipped. It wouldn’t do for her to think you neglect something
until it absolutely screams for life-saving attention.
I am very fortunate to have a housekeeper. That’s
something I confess, rather than proclaim. After all, I am a woman who
lives alone. How much dust and dirt and detritus could I possibly
accumulate, that I would need to hire a housekeeper? How lazy must I be
not to get off my duff and do the dusting, vacuuming, floor washing,
scrubbing, sheet-changing and sweeping myself?
Well, I guess the answer to those questions would be
“quite a lot” and “quite lazy.”
I do not consider myself lazy. I have three writing
jobs, one of them full-time. I am also a realtor, though that’s easy to
forget these days. I also am a member of a community theater troupe that
takes up a large portion of my “free” time at least twice a year. I keep
meaning to put my various columns in a book. There’s something un-lazy
that will take some time.
I spend a lot of my spare time reading. Some might
call that lazy, but a girl’s gotta relax every day. And, I have again
reached the age where afternoon naps are in order. I remember being
forced to take a nap as a girl. I’d loll around up there in my room,
muttering, “She can make me come in here, but she can’t make me nap!”
Now, I’d pay to find time for a nap some days.
I have a wonderful housekeeper whom I’ve grown to love
for the fabulous, no-nonsense, creative and industrious person she is.
“Jan” is a woman of heroic proportions to me. She actually went on the
Internet, found out how to re-roof her house, and did it. Ditto with
putting a new muffler on her car. The woman can do anything. I’m lucky
to have her on my side.
There are silly, seemingly common-sense, things I
cannot do around here. Anytime I think, “I need a rent-a-husband,” I
think, “That’s OK; Jan will do it when she comes Friday.”
She will change out the storm windows for the screens,
lest I, God forbid, break a nail struggling with it. She is tall; she
can change kitchen light bulbs, and dust the tops of ceiling fans.
Remember my bat family? Bob and Brenda and Biff and
Buffy? I was beginning to be quite wary of them, lest they become
fruitful and multiply there in between my screen and storm window.
I came home last Friday. I begged Jan to change out
the windows. She sighed in a joking manner. Then she said, “You haven’t
even noticed I got rid of your bats.”
Huh? Ha! Sure enough, Jan had the gumption to take a
long thin stick, poke them awake, and stir them out of their daily
nesting spot. Then, she fixed the window so they can’t come back.
I hired Jan to help out my mother when she could no
longer keep up with the housework. I considered it a good deed.
The Christmas after Mom died, I didn’t have the heart
to put up decorations. I came home late one Friday to discover Jan had
bought a little Christmas tree, decorated it, and left it bright and
shining to welcome me home. She gave me a necklace I wear every day. She
somehow found a funny flamingo plant holder, knowing my affinity for the
goofy birds. Talk about good deeds! The little I pay this dear friend
can never be enough.