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.
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!