Every other Tuesday night. That’s when it happens. It usually starts with me threatening the children. Pick up these toys or else! Or else what? Or else I’m going to move them all to the basement and donate them to charity. That’s usually enough motivation. Next comes the dishes, picking up two weeks of mail, putting away laundry, etc.
What am I talking about? This is the ritual of the affluent burbs known as “Cleaning for the cleaning ladies.” To an outsider, this sounds completely absurd. It was to me until we hired a cleaning company about a year ago. “Isn’t this what you pay them to do?” Well, yes, kinda. Before we hired a cleaning crew, I used to laugh at my bachelor friend for doing this. His reasoning was that he didn’t want the cleaning ladies to see his bachelor lifestyle. So his cleaning routine consisted of throwing out beer cans and putting away random pairs of underpants that might be scattered around the house. Our routine is a little different… less beer cans mainly.
In reality, this is more of a pickup and not really a cleaning effort. It is amazing to me that in two weeks we’ve managed to cover most of the horizontal surfaces in our home with junk. That junk has got to go somewhere so the cleaning ladies have a surface to clean.
There is some modesty in all this. Even though we don’t know the cleaning ladies, we don’t want them to see anything that might be embarrassing, not that I have anything like that! And I’m sure they’ve seen it all, I just don’t want them to see mine (whatever it may be).
So we clean… for the cleaning ladies… so they can clean for us… and we pay them for this. It all makes perfect sense in the burbs. After all, if we didn’t clean for them, we wouldn’t get our money’s worth out of their service. Thus by paying them, it forces us to clean up our mess, something we would put off for a lot longer than two weeks. The end result is a presentable home, at least for a few days.