Friday, March 15, 2013

The Hip Housecleaner!

I've now started a new job.  It's not cooking, it's cleaning houses with a locally owned company.  It's not huge money but the hours work out exactly right for the needs of my family.  My boss is the owner and she cleans with us.  She also has kids and understands that sometimes shit happens and a phone call from school means you'll have to take off.

A few of us will go in to dust, clean the bathrooms and kitchen (including the inside of the microwave, vacuum, mop, make beds, take the trash out and make everything nice for the people who live there.

It's fascinating to me how much you can tell about a family by being in their home, even when they're not there. 

You can tell if they're a blended family, if they cook, if they're not home very much and a variety of other things.

A big wall of DVDs means movie buffs.  High end small appliances with an emphasis on coffee making gadgets generally goes with gourmet foods in the pantry.  The patterns of wear on the carpets tell me which rooms are used regularly and which don't see people very often.  A formal dining room table that always has a layer of dust on it, but never any crumbs shows a family that doesn't do much entertaining.  A sign on the upstairs bathroom decorated in pink and black that says "Carrie, if you or Lance come in here I will KILL YOU!  Laura"  shows some sibling tensions.  And stuffed animals in the master bed lets me know that they have a little monkey that comes in to sleep with the grown ups.  Books like "The Dinosaur's Book About Divorce" indicates a split occurrs. 

I haven't met many of the homeowners.  They usually prefer that we come to work our magic while they are out.  That brings me to the fact that people are outrageously trusting.  In the first client's home I cleaned, I went into the walk in closet to vacuum.  When I closed the door behind me in order to vacuum behind it, I saw a stack of twenties on one of the shelves.  There was easily one hundred dollars there.  I finished vacuuming and marveled to my boss at the things people left out.  Tablets and laptops are left charging and we dust them. 

The homeowners I have met are gracious, courteous and thank us.  In one instance, I walked into a room housing a couple of computers and bookcases, the study I called it.  One of the computer tables was covered in used tissues and beer cans along with some glassware.  I double checked with the person I was working with and was told I needed to clear that all off and take the dishes downstairs.  I started out dusting the electronics and window sills before I  moved on to the shelves covered in knick knacks. 

The man who lived there came in, got a very embarrassed look on his face and said "Oh, yeah, you don't have to do much in here.  I should have told you before you started." 

"Oh, okay.  Well, I was planning on clearing your desk to dust it, finish up these shelves and vacuum." 

"No, no.  I'll clear off the desk.  You can just vacuum."  and he gathered up all the debris and glasses to take them downstairs.

"I've dusted your electronics and in front of your books.  We'll go ahead and vacuum.  If there's anything else I can help you with in here just let me know before you leave."  then I smiled. 

He told me that what I'd done was fine and left me to dust the stair railing.

Yes, dusting, lots and lots of dusting.  Dark wood is a pain in the ass.  I'm telling you right now a bunch of stuff on dark wood or smoked glass takes a long time to get perfect.  And my boss demands perfect.  Stainless steel is polished until there are NO streaks.  Mirrors must look as if you could just fall into them.  Bathrooms should sparkle and smell nice when we are finished.  We even get down on the floor to wipe down the little ledge under the dishwasher and stove. 

There are a few things we don't do on a standard clean.  Cleaning the baseboards, vacuuming furniture, cleaning the inside of the fridge or oven and dusting the blinds costs extra. 

I'm finding that I like it.  I like getting a little glimpse into people's lives.  I like making their lives a little easier.  And I don't have to get all dressed up. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When cleaning, put lotion on your hands before you don rubber gloves. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

After a long absence, poetry

How impersonal and cold the crossroads are, staring at me silently and stoically showing me the choice is to be made

One of three, the straight road which clearly opens to reveal the rocks and pitted path or the road that curves into the stand of trees that obscure what I will encounter or to go back. 
Each with it's own fate and consequence. 

Not only my own fate but the fate of those I love.  Should I choose the dark and unknown it will mean detours and heavy machinery as those around me must alter to the decisions I make. 
How can I do this when so much is at stake?

Do I dare to take the chance?  To dash into the darkness where dragons may wait?  Dragons that will breathe fire at me, blind me with smoke that waters my eyes and chokes me while it's iridescent scales glow with the pleasure of it. 

My courage is all but gone.  My bravery is shrinking behind the shelter of that which is safe. 

But is it safe?  No, none of this trio is safe.  My selection will thrust me into a new state of being.  What on earth will I wear?

If the best part is the jumping, as I have been told, standing on the edge, teetering out over the chasm before pinwheeling arms to come back to the crumbling surface is the worst.

I study the absence of a signpost and prepare to jump.

And prepare to jump.

And prepare to jump.