Monday, March 25, 2013

A relationship ends. Awkwardly. And in a drawn out fashion.

Since I was pregnant with B we have had a cleaner come once a fortnight to do the basics, you know, floors, bathrooms, blah blah.  It was $50 well spent. Oh how I love the feeling of a clean house but oh how I loathe cleaning it.

Tidying and prettifying I quite like. Fluffing cushions and putting flowers in a vase I am practically an expert in, but cleaning does not float my boat. I have lofty aspirations and it takes more than grovelling around on the toilet floor bleaching off stubborn stains to get me excited.

Don't get me wrong, I am no shirker. With a baby and a toddler there is always cleaning to be done and not a day goes by when I haven't vacuumed or swept the floor, cleaned the kitchen fifty times, put on and hung out twenty loads of washing, swished out the feral toilet, changed wet sheets, you name it. I also have a useful husband who, you know, crazily enough does plenty of house slaving too.

But once a fortnight I indulge in the luxury of paying someone else to do all that crap for us.
I would give up lots of things before I would give up the cleaner.

The problem was the cleaners gave up on us! How bloody rude. It was a mother and daughter team, and my first inkling that they were no longer enamoured of chivvying for our household was when the daughter got a part time job in a shop selling baby clothes.

I chose to ignore this traitorous extra work on the side and continued to text her the night before our cleaning day to ensure all was still on. Her replies became increasingly reluctant, starting with the occasional "can we swap days my manager needs me to work" and ending up with "no I can't come but maybe mum can?"

I became confused and a little needy. What was she trying to tell me? Was she trying to break up with me?

Were they still my cleaners or not? I felt hurt, then worried, then downright panicked.

Would I have to clean my own floors that week!?!? Surely not!!! That would be a crime against humanity indeed.

Anyway it seemed that the mother was still turning up and doing the house and pocketing the cash for the moment, albeit in a less fastidious fashion than in the early days of the relationship.

It all started really going belly up when the mother then went and got a job in a fruit shop. I tried to pretend I didn't care, that it was fine, I was sure she could still fit me in. Surely??? I mean, I gave them a box of Roses Chocolates at Christmas time!!! WHAT MORE DID THEY WANT FROM ME???

She texted me about a fortnight ago asking "Do you still need me to clean tomorrow?".

"Yes PLEASE!" I texted back enthusiastically, hoping to energise her with my upbeat manner and friendliness.
"M is home today with the baby who has a bit of a cold but he won't mind!!" I added.

There was quite a pause before her reply.

"Can we wait until the baby is better?"

My heart sank.
"Oh, ok. Maybe next week?" I replied hopefully.

"Yes no problem".

It was starting to look dangerously like I would have to weaken and wash the floors.  You will be pleased to know I resisted this urge courageously.

Next week rolled round and she did turn up and give the place a cursory sprucing. Cursory being the operative word.

The next fortnight I did my usual texting and her reply didn't arrive.
I left the key out and the money on the table in the optimistic hope that she would arrive and work her mediocre magic on the filth.

Later that day she finally sent me a message in reply to mine.

"I'm sorry I can't clean today I'm going to New Zealand for two weeks tomorrow and I'm really busy packing".

My heart sank again.
I guess I can take a hint.

"Ok. Well thank you I guess I'll find someone else", I replied.

No response.
Point taken.

It wasn't her, it was me.

I felt like weeping. I put a call for suggestions on FB and got a few names.
When I contacted one of them and she said she was available I felt overwhelming relief!
She came round to meet me at the beginning of last week. She was cheery and enthusiastic and full of advice. I could have kissed her.

When I told her that I usually left the key out for the cleaners under the doormat on our back patio, she looked horrified.
"Oh no love. No no don't put it there! My husband used to work in security so I know all about it. Oh that's very unsafe, especially in this suburb!"
She looked thoughtfully round the backyard and then said;
"Leave it there love. In the pot plant. Much safer. Yes that is MUCH safer".

Yeah because no one ever suspects the pot plant do they?!? Whatever, I was happy to do her bidding as long as she took me on.

Anyway today was cleaning day and I woke up extra early, full of excitement, like a kid on Christmas morning. I just knew that my firm position on refusing to clean the bathrooms or mop the floors would be justified when I came home tonight to a sparkling house.

I rang M while I was on the train on the way home, and he said "The house is perfect! She has done a great job! The kids and I are all here safe and sound."

"WONDERFUL!" I said with joy, "I cannot wait to see it!"
When I got back, I raced in the door to embrace the children briefly, then shoved them out of the way so I could get to the loo. It's a long trip OK?

As I raced in, I noticed a small pair of damp undies in a pile on the ground, and the distinct crunch of sandpit sand under my feet. I looked closer and noted the tell tale spots of wee that indicate a rushed toddler toilet visit.


Under the dining table were several pieces of scrambled egg, toast and plenty of squashed peas.  Toys lay scattered in both living areas.

I guess it probably looked good for about 5 minutes.  I hope one day I get to witness the house in its pristine state but it doesn't look like that will be any time soon.

At least there's no mould in the bathroom sinks now. 

Do you have a cleaner? Or do you enjoy wallowing in your own crapulence? Perhaps you like to sniff household bleach to forget your troubles?

Tell me everything!


  1. I used to have a cleaner who visited once a week. But I had to call time on the relationship. She did a brilliant job, but I just wasn't comfortable having a stranger in my home. I was also one of those idiots who cleaned in preparation for her arrival. ( Mind you, if I had had kids, she would have been living in my attic, permanently). Now I just do it myself. It's such a thrilling pursuit, why deny myself the excitement?

    1. You are one crazy party kitten.
      Clean for the cleaner! Are you MAD!? I clear away some of the detritus so she can get to the surfaces but that's it baby!

  2. I've come up with an ingenious solution! A friend of mine has been posting photos of beautiful houses for sale all morning so I've decided the answer to a clean and tidy house is to just move every couple of weeks - simple!

    Last time I let loose with the bleach spray I had to climb out of the bathroom window to escape the fumes ....

    1. This is a excellent plan! Last time I thought about cleaning the fridge out it broke down and was still under warrantee, so they just delivered a whole new one and took the old dirty one away! I'm sure that will happen every time right??

    2. Sounds about right to me ;)

  3. I want my cleaner baaaaack!
    Pre toddler days we had an Indonesian husband and wife team come and clean our house.
    They were wonderful.
    I loved them.
    I don't even know what they cleaned since at that point there were just two of us and we both worked full time and so were never at home messing up the house.
    But then I was home on maternity leave and couldn't really justify the fifty bucks and so I cleaned the house.
    And now it has just become my job.
    I do outsource the vacuuming to Daddy R.

    1. I know, goodness knows what on EARTH I was complaining about before I had kids. The feral mess they make here is UNBELIEVABLE!
      I've been thinking about one of those robo vacuums but they are a little pricey...

  4. better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all, I say. Just replace "loved" with "had a cleaner".

    1. HAHA! You are so right K! Thank you for commenting x

  5. I would love a cleaner. I remember, once, when I had only one child who could do little more than roll, my husband asked if I'd like one as a birthday gift and I was all like "No!" and thinking I had this stuff under control. It was a synch. Why would I want a stranger in my house?
    I was an idiot.
    I wish he would bring that offer back now that I have three able bodied (able to make extreme mess) children and no energy.
    Glad you were able to find a new cleaner!

    1. Hi Becky! THank you for commenting!
      Yes I bet you are regretting your hasty refusal! I got over the stranger in the house thing PRETTY DAMN QUICK!

  6. I'd love to have a cleaner, but always thought we couldn't afford it. 50 bucks sounds reasonable though. Only problem is it gets messy again so quickly that it feels like I'd need one every day.

    Hope you new person works out and you get to enjoy it. x

    1. Thank you Ness, yes this new lady is $60 but I still think it is worth it. Just one day without drudgery!


  8. Dumped by text eh? How very modern. Personally I just can't bear how quickly it all gets messy again. It's depressing enough when I've cleaned it myself - would it be worse if I'd paid good money for the cleaning? We bought a robot vacuum at Christmas time. It's a small step towards outsourcing all my household responsibilities (well, that's the dream!) :)

    1. Oh I want one of those robo vacuums but felt I couldn't justify it what with having the cleaning lady and all. I hear you on the quick messing up but I still enjoy the luxury of a drudgery free day! xx

  9. No cleaner here, but serious discussions are underway for us to acquire one once baby number three arrives in August.......although I would prefer engagement of such services sooner.

  10. Well if you need a name I can give you one Trudie!

  11. NoI dont have a cleaner , I would have to clean up first to allow her/him in.

    However if I dont pull my finger out and start earning some more money I'll consider being a cleaner

    1. Oh my husband did cleaning work back in the day, offices and the like. There's always a need! x

  12. We had a very elderly cleaner who eventually stopped coming due to ill health. I was sad to see her go - she loved the kids, but it was also a bit of relief. Every time I heard something crash in the house I worried she'd fallen and blown a hip!

    1. Oh the stress! I don't know if I could handle an elderly cleaner, just one more thing to worry about!!

  13. If its a war the crapulance will win.

  14. I desperately want a cleaner...and not even because I dont have the time to clean my house...but just because I'm lazy and want someone else to do it for me! lol

    1. I am as lazy as a lazy sloth. SO you are in good company Ez!!!

  15. We've had cleaners sporadically over the years. I miss them. I am training my boys. The organised housewife is having a competition to win a cleaner for a year. You should enter.

    P.S. Happy birthday!!!!! Hope you have a wonderful day x


Vent your spleen! You know you want to.

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