Tuesday, November 2, 2010

186. I Am Paying You, Right?

So I’ve scheduled my biannual professional house-cleaning, and the cleaning lady will be here any minute.  I’m doing what I always do right before she arrives: clean. I’m in the kitchen, scrubbing away, when The Husband walks in.

“Did Sonya cancel?” he asks innocently.

“What? Why would you say that?” I brush a stray hair out of my face with the yellow rubber glove.

“Well, it’s just that I thought we hired her to do this deep-cleaning, but then it looks like you’re cleaning. I don’t understand.” He blinks.

“Sweetie, can we have this discussion another time?” I say, as I tap at his feet with my mop, “Really, I’m under kind of a time crunch here. Can you please move? You’re in my way.”

“We are paying Sonya good money, you know. She’s not doing this for the love of Windex fumes,” he continues.

“I don’t want her to see the house this messy,” I respond as I pick a calcified orange peel off the floor.

“The house looks fine; I'm sure she's seen worse.  She's a cleaning lady. She cleans. It’s her job, remember? Honestly, if you're going to do it all for her beforehand, why don’t we just save the money?” he interrogates.

“She does a better job than me,” I say, as I set down the Q-tip I was detailing the faucet with so I can look him in the eye.

“You’re crazy.”

“Don’t call me crazy. And here, I need you to vacuum the living room.” I motion for him to take the vacuum. He does what I used to do as a flight attendant when a passenger asked for a pillow: ignores me and walks away.

I go into the bedroom and start stripping the sheets. I take the picture frames and spare change and perfume bottles from on top of the dresser and shove them all in a drawer, my rationale being that now Sonya can dust without things in her way. I pick up a stray pair of tights and put them in the hamper.

I hear The Husband go out the front door and then come back in. Then there is a weird noise in the living room, a noise like someone stomping dirt into the carpet.

I walk in the living room and witness The Husband stomping dirt into the carpet.

“What are you doing?!?” I screech, dumbfounded.

He has ceased stomping, and now he’s doing some sort of dance, a Dirt Dance.

“You’re getting the carpet even dirtier than it already was!” I say, barely masking my exasperation.

“That’s the whole idea. This will give Sonya something to do. This way she’ll really deserve her tip,” he grins, and I detect a sinister gleam in his eyes.

“What's your problem?” I ask, my voice full of resentment.

He gives me an unexpected hug. “MOV, I love you. You and I clean the house 99% of the time. Why do you hire a person to do a job, and then you do the entire job for them? Don’t you think that’s insulting?” He walks past me to the kitchen and starts making noises in there, too.

“You’d better not be making any dishes dirty!” I yell.

“I’m not, don’t worry, I’m just getting a snack,” he answers. Why doesn’t he offer me a snack? I've been so busy cleaning that I’ve run out of time for breakfast.

I look out the window and see Sonya’s car pulling up. I glance at the clock and realize I need to leave right now to be on time for my dentist appointment.

“I gotta run; I’m late!” I call out to The Husband as I remove my rubber gloves. He meets me at the door just as I’m putting on my jacket. He gives me a quick kiss.

“Here, MOV,” he says, offering me a small bag. “I packed you a snack for your drive to the dentist.” He winks at me.

Huh, that’s weird. Since when does he pack me a snack? “Uh, okay, wow, thanks,” I say rather ungratefully, not really knowing how to respond.  Then, as an afterthought, "I'm sorry I yelled at you.  You're right.  She's a professional, and she can certainly do her job today." 

I get in the car. Come to think of it, I am a little bit hungry right now. Maybe he packed me a roll or an apple? I open the bag, and staring back at me is the giant bag of Oreos.  Does he not realize I am going to the dentist?  Wait--he actually said, "for your drive to the dentist".  

I hesitate:  I didn't bring a toothbrush with me.  But I am hungry.  The Oreos are calling to me, "We're full of empty calories!  Come on, yummy!"  I sheepishly eat two cookies in rapid succession.  Then I accidentally catch sight of my blackened and sugar-coated teeth in the rearview mirror.

I guess the dentist will be doing his job today, too.   



  1. I LOVED this!!! YEEESSS!! I never eat Oreos in public anymore. I have heard of people hiring cleaning ladies and then doing most of the work themselves. I once knew a cleaning lady who did NOT keep her own house clean, only everybody else's. So think of that. Sonya may be cleaning your house and leaving her own full of crumbs. Does that make it easier to let her do the job?

  2. HA HA HA HA!!!!! I wish I could have a Sonya just twice a year. I think that thing that's living behind the stove would finally move out. ;-) As for the bag of Oreos on the way to the dentist -- awesome idea! My dentist would get a big chuckle out of that.

  3. couse, you get to appreciate all my early writing! I think maybe two people read this essay! ha!



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