Well, here it is the last Monday before our Big Trip. We leave on Friday, and thanks to a lull in work (and compulsive Virgoness) I am pretty much completely ready to go. The clothes are all sorted, clean, ironed and folded. (I will be wearing only the reject, not-good-enough-for-the-trip clothes between now and Friday.) The notes for the children have been prepared. So I’m completely ready to go, and I have no work. Can you say bouncing off the walls?
I can’t even burn off any energy cleaning house, because my cleaning lady is coming tomorrow and it goes against every fibre of my being to pay someone to clean an already clean house. No, she must earn her money by facing a pigsty or I’m not getting satisfaction. I’ve been known to screech at RH for, say, wiping something sticky off the kitchen floor the day before the cleaning lady comes. “Stop! Are you nuts? She’s coming tomorrow!!” I bellow. “She’s going to be cleaning the whole floor! You’re just wasting money!”
Of course I know this doesn’t make any sense. I can’t help that.
I’ve had a cleaning lady (well, a series of them, and one extremely stinky cleaning man) for ten years, which is also how long it’s been since I went back to work after being a full-time mom for a long while. A cleaning lady was the very first priority for me once I was earning my own money. (I couldn’t afford both that and a personal chef. It was a toss-up, but the cleaning won.)
The problem is that I have two completely different people living inside me when it comes to this sort of thing. There’s the side of me that could have been quite comfortable as a duchess in 19th century England with a very large staff. (Duchesses prior to the 19th century also had large staffs but I’m not willing to go any farther back in time due to other issues such as disease and general smelliness and things. And most duchesses subsequent to the 19th century don’t even have enough money to keep their estates from falling down around their heads and have to sell them to people like Elton John or Jo Rowling.)
Anyway, in juxtaposition with that duchess part of me, I have this annoying egalitarian streak which makes me feel guilty about having someone else clean my house. (Or it would, if I didn’t pay her such a lot of money to do it.) Back when I hired my first cleaner, one of my children made the grievous error of referring to her as “the maid”. I nearly bit the child’s head off. To my mind, “maid” was a term too suggestive of subservience. My offspring were forced to listen to a long lecture about how people who clean houses are no better or worse than anyone else. They are performing a service just as valuable and respectable as doctors or lawyers or hockey players or moms or any other important person.
But I didn’t say these were two equal parts of me. Of course the duchess part is stronger. You know that! Where RH feels it necessary to leave the house when our cleaner comes, I actually get quite a lot of enjoyment hearing and seeing her working around my home, doing the stuff I’m just too damn lazy to do.
Oh, I just got an email from my office. There’s work! Yay! Otherwise I would have degenerated to just typing: Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet……