Jan
22
2009

  The Maid Might Work Out

It's too soon so know, but the maid might work out for us. Terry noticed right away that she may be prone to the same sort of "mission creep" that caused us to abandon our old handyman. Meaning that while she's doing one job, she's talking about all the other jobs we could hire her to do also.

But to her credit, she did work very diligently all day. Later this afternoon, I discovered what all the banging around was while she was vacuuming. She moved all the furniture away from the walls and vacuumed behind and under everything, and also took out all the heating vents and vacuumed and cleaned them. Thank goodness-- I could never be bothered and they were getting so full of cat hair that I couldn't bear to look at them very closely. And I don't even want to think about all the cat hair that must have accumulated behind some of the furniture against the walls. She's also cleaning the heating air return vents, for which I am grateful-- it's all I could manage to change the filters a couple times per year, I never attempted to dislodge the grime from the metal grates themselves.

She didn't even finish the downstairs in seven hours, but what she did finish, she really got clean. She was impressed with how far we'd let the house go, she could tell it didn't get this bad overnight. No kidding. I would have hired a maid years ago if we were ever in town long enough to have one come on a regular schedule. She'll probably be able to put in another seven hours tomorrow, so that should get her done with the downstairs and at least started on the upstairs rooms. She'll probably have to spend another full day just cleaning windows, we've got about 25 windows and glass doors in the house, nearly all them covered in either pollen from last season or construction dust. I hope she can put in a lot of hours for us up front, I'm not sure what her schedule with other clients is, but she only has her son every other weekend so I think she's looking to pick up some weekend hours to make extra cash. Fine with me.

Terry finally acknowledged that we probably would still need her two days per week once this deep-cleaning phase is complete. I told him if he wanted to actually get back to doing all the laundry and changing the bedsheets and vacuuming once per week then we could probably just have her come once per week. But he gave me a look that told me at this point he'd rather just pay for the extra day of maid service. That's what I thought.

At this point there is no such thing as "mission creep" since we do want her to clean every single thing in the house at least once, and that's going to take some time. Seriously, there are little piles of cat hair that have wafted behind the books in the bookshelves, it's just out of control. We'll have to see if it's a problem after the house is completely cleaned and she's just on maintenance. Personally, I'm in favor of paying for a few more hours and getting the nice things taken care of like having all our cloth napkins and tablecloths neatly pressed, our sheets scented, the hand washables laundered, etc. As long as I don't bring any of it to Terry's attention, I doubt he'll notice, but I notice, which is why I think it's valuable. I was able to keep things very nice when we were in NYC. That little apartment was quite manageable, and we were able to entertain guests often and in style at a moment's notice. This house, it's just too much for me.

But I really miss throwing dinner parties, having small cocktail parties, etc. If I don't have to put any effort into keeping the house clean, I can focus what little attention I can muster to baking cookies or scones or something once a week so at least I can invite neighbors over for tea any day. And once I can get back on the sauce I'll have them over for cocktails or wine again-- we have a lovely view of the sunset from our front porch and it's a nice break for all involved, and there are a number of homemade crackers and cheese dishes I can put together without much effort. But I really most want to get back into the habit of inviting friends over for dinner. Now that my cooking strike has been over a while, I'm back in the habit of making delicious stuff, and there is only incrementally more effort cooking for four or six versus for two. Plus it would incent me to make dessert more often, since it would be gone in one evening instead of sticking around to fill me with sugar for days at a time, which I prefer to avoid.