If you’ve been hanging with AGMA for a spell, you realize that I have a number of dirty little secrets. My thin mint addiction, my obsession with professional male cyclists in spandex, my desire for a tramp tat…
All are things I wouldn’t want to share with a child under ten. Or my husband.
And I have one more. Not really dirty. Just a secret. It better not be dirty for what I shell out…
I actually pay somebody to clean my house every two weeks.
I’m so ashamed. I feel like an elitist 1%er. What would Bernie say? What would my stern, frugal father say? What would my step-mother say?
Actually, she would probably say, “Atta girl!” Louise hated doing domestic stuff. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect she probably had a housekeeper/cook when she was working full time and married to her first husband.
After she married my father, he persuaded her to quit her job. It was important that he be her first priority. Not surprising. So she went from business woman to full time domestic goddess. It wasn’t her dream job.
However, she dutifully executed her work. She was after all, from a good German family where all the walls got wiped down every spring, floors were scrubbed until they shone and sheets were ironed to make them “crisp”. I never really wanted crispy sheets, but I didn’t have a choice. She made all of the sheets “crisp”.
But she really didn’t like any of it. And, for better or worse, she passed on an extreme dislike of domestic duties to me. I nearly flunked Home Ec.
But like Louise, I was a trooper the while my kids were grown up.
I made dinner every night. The cuisine was mostly Midwestern post-modern – meatloaf with ketchup and onion soup mix, a variety of Hamburger Helper “flavors”, frozen chicken nuggets, and whatever would cook in a crock pot and still remain edible. Fruit and vegetables were from cans.
My 32 year old son, who now eats raw kale, chard and other woody, stemmy, barely chewable vegetables, mentions how unhealthy my dinners were when he was growing up. Quite frequently.
The last time, I shot back, “When you work part-time, take care of aging parents, drive in multiple carpools, hate to cook and are married to your father, then talk to me. We’ll see what YOU make for dinner.”
That shut him up.
But really, nothing compares to the battles fought over the years trying to keep our house from disintegrating into a scene from some post-apocalyptic world. AGMA turned from caring, understanding, encouraging, loving wife and mother into loud bitchy shrew. I wasn’t about to clean up their mess.
I realize we’ve found out that Bill Cosby is a sexual predator and has left many victims in his wake over the years. His immoral acts and attempted cover-ups are reprehensible. But I have to admit (sheepishly) that I still consider some of his family themed comedy classically brilliant.
On his comedy album, Bill Cosby Himself (1983), in describing his angry wife, he uncannily describes AGMA on housecleaning day…
“I’ve always heard about people having a conniption, but I’ve never seen one. You don’t want to see ’em! My wife’s face… split! The skin and hair split and came off of her face so that there was nothing except the skull! And orange light came out of her hair and it lit all around! And fire shot from her eye sockets and began to burn my stomach!”
Despite my head splitting open with dizzying frequency, I really was sad when both of my son’s went off to college. On the other hand, I was finally going to get to the bottom of many household mysteries related to moldy food stuffs and sour smells discovered in unlikely places.
Of course, when they were all at home, none of them was ever the guilty one. It was always somebody else who left toast crumbs all over the couch or spilled the juice on the floor.
But as they flew from the nest, things began to change. This list of the usual suspects got much smaller.
Then it was just hubs and myself. And there was nobody left to point a finger at when toast crumbs littered the hardwoods or milk soured in a puddle on the counter. The house slowly started not looking so post-apocalyptic.
But it still wasn’t good.
Coming from a long line of lackadaisical individuals, my husband was not raised in an environment that believed, as my mostly German father and step-mother did, that “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Hubs pretty much wouldn’t notice if our house was featured on the reality show, Hoarders.
And while AGMA never fully committed to the “next to Godliness” thing, I do like having a semi-clean and tidy home. This however, does not seem to extend to my car.
As it turns out, recruiting outside house cleaning help was a marriage survival strategy.
Now I don’t have to feel like Cinderella, cleaning the whole house by myself and missing the ball. And he doesn’t have to take time away from….ah….whatever it is he does when he isn’t working. Most of it appears to revolve around his smartphone, his laptop and the TV.
But hey – I’m busy too. I have my part-time massage therapy practice, the New York Marathon to train for, an eBay business to build and, most importantly, a blog to write…
So for the near future, it looks like we’ll continue to be 1%ers. Sort of.
We’ll probably revisit this line item in our budget after he retires. I’m sure he’ll be much more engaged on the domestic front after that. And he’ll be happy to dust and scrub sinks.
And Donald Trump is a really nice man who’s just being picked on by the RNC and Megan Kelly.