Wednesday, May 23, 2012


When we first moved into our new house we were deluged (yes, I really meant to use that word) with offers.  Landscapers, just-plain-gardeners, tree trimmers, handymen, cleaning services...

Some of the offers came in the mail along with catalogs of (very expensive) outdoor furniture.  Many of the offers were in the form of business cards left under the front mat or in the driveway inside a ziplock of decorative rock.  Some of them were actually in person:  Ring of the doorbell, potential worker there to present in person.

We have had a cleaning service for 15 years.  When Stubble was 5 years old I was in the middle of a period of "when you need something done, ask a busy person".  The house was out of control, my asthma was very active - and The Bearded One said, "Why don't we get someone in to clean the house.  Just for the next 6 weeks."  A friend recommended a service that was willing to take on a "just for right now" job and abracadabra, presto-chango - the house was clean and I stopped wheezing.

At the end of 6 weeks, we had become so enamored of a sparkly clean house that we agreed to give up our big family splurge - breakfast out on the weekends - in return for keeping the cleaning service.  They have become like family.  One of the ladies attempted to neaten up Stubble by tossing everything on the floor of his bedroom into garbage bags - just as she did for her own son of the same age.  And I mean everything.  Homework, text books, Pokemon cards, scrap paper....
It didn't work for either son, but she gave it her all.

I had never met her before, but one day at school, Stubble and I bumped into a woman who took a look at us and said, "Oh, I know you!  I clean your house!"  I immediately said, "Thank you!  I couldn't get along without what you do!"  And I meant every word of it.  If more husbands realized that it isn't chocolate and a bottle of wine but the scent of windex that you didn't have to apply yourself that is the world's best aphrodisiac, we could cut the divorce rate!

We also had a yard service that would come in when a neighbor's tree needed trimming. We had no trees of our own, but the neighbor's trees hung over the yard and created much need for clean up.  We would get permission from the neighbor and call "Mr. Jones" and he would take care of the mess on our side of the fence and after the  neighbor came to "supervise" the job, often finished up in the neighbor's yard doing their side of the tree.  Mr. Jones knows his trees, how and when to trim them, and what we need to do in between his visits to keep the tree healthy.

So when we moved, we brought Mrs. Smith of the cleaning service and Mr. Jones of the lawn service "along with us".  Just like all the best rap stars...
except that we're middle aged, and don't have a recording contract - or our initials in diamonds hanging around our necks.


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