Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Life as a Charwoman

My parents saved from the time I was born to send their children to college.  One of my first memories is getting my allowance (five cents a week at the time) and putting three cents of it into my piggy bank for my college fund.  My sister qualified for a full-tuition engineering scholarship when she was ready to go, but I paid my way with our accumulated savings and a series of part-time jobs.  One year I was the cleaning lady for the basement of the commons for my dorm block.  That meant dusting, vacuuming, removing fingerprints from the plate glass doors, and cleaning the bathrooms.  I was utterly revolted by the disgusting condition that the men's bathroom seemed to reach every single day.  I was overjoyed when someone vandalized it so badly that it had to be closed for a month for reconstruction.  (Had I known it would take so long to repair, I might have vandalized it myself.  Repeatedly.)  I believe my dust allergy dates back to those dark days.

I was having bad flashbacks to that time during my efforts to get our house ready to sell.  Every time I thought it was clean enough, another clump of cat hair or smear of grime would leap out at me and demand attention.  I was relieved when the house finally reached the point where only occasional maintenance was necessary.  Then my sister decided to sell her house.

Sue bought a beat-up house in a retirement community about two years ago and she and my father had been rehabbing it ever since while she continued to live in her fully functional home.  A couple of months ago she declared the rehab project officially finished.  She will be legally old enough to live in the house by the middle of May, so last week she moved all her stuff there and has been trying to get her previous residence ready to sell ever since.  Today I helped her clean.  We finished the garage, the laundry room, the closets, the master bedroom, and the hallway.  She'd already done most of the rest of the house; tomorrow she (and probably I) will tackle the bathrooms and the weeds in the yard and that should do it.

I was sitting with my feet up tonight contemplating tomorrow's day of progressive cleaning (first my house, then my sister's) when the phone rang.  Barry and I have an offer on our house.  The main thing in favor of accepting it?  Not having to continue the cleaning marathon.

"Don't cook.  Don't clean.  No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum - 'My God, the floor's immaculate.  Lie down, you hot bitch.'''"  ~Joan Rivers


  1. Once the dust settles ( pun intended ), you're going to have to book yourself a spa day!
    Going off on a tangent here, but this post brought to mind an odd association ...found myself picturing Carol Burnett ( spelling may be off, dunno ), hoisting her mop and bucket around the stage.
    There isn't a Tarzan yell in your future, is there?