Day 13: Loving clean and learning to love cleaning.

One of my treats to myself for my last day of work was waiting until I was actually done working to cancel our bi-weekly cleaning service. It was so nice to end my work life with a clean house so that I didn’t have to get out the mop bucket on my first day home. Well, today it was two weeks since they last were here and today it was my turn to clean my own house.

When you are working a 40+ hour week, the last thing you want to do when you are home is get the rubber gloves on and scrub the tub. I mean really, you work your ass off all week, and your time off is supposed to be down time. If you are a woman, and you live with a man, this is even worse (I’m not even going to start on the mess kids make). And not just because they are hairier than you… I hope. A man who cleans – and I mean more than the dishes – is hard to find. If you have ever been into an apartment that is inhabited only by males, it’s best to wait to get home to use the bathroom. Even in America in the 21st century, when humans cohabitate, the woman always ends up breaking down and doing all the cleaning.

When Tom and I moved in together in New York in 1998, I quickly learned how lopsided things were. His previous roomate (also a female) used to smoke weed and then clean the place for fun. That was her thing. “BEST ROOMATE EVER!!!” That was not my thing. I finally confronted him. He agreed that it wasn’t fair for me to spend four hours every Saturday cleaning our two bedroom apartment. We agreed to a more  equitable arrangement of splitting the cost of a housekeeper 50/50. This was long before we were married and when we still split the check at every meal and all the monthly bills. Why should the cost of a clean house be any different?

That is when we found Nubia. A lovely woman from the Dominican Republic who had daughters my age and treated me like one of her own. For $50 he came to our apartment every Tuesday morning and when I came home, our place was right out of the pages of Pottery Barn. It was bliss. When she would buzz in on Tuesday mornings she would say, “Hello, I am Nubia!” I still miss her.

When we moved to Seattle without jobs, it’s no surprise that we went without cleaning service. I went back to doing most of it. I didn’t work full time, so it was no big deal. Whenever I would spend a good chunk of time cleaning, I would stand back and call out to Tom, “Hellooooo, I am Nubia!” It wasn’t until the spring of 2o1o that we were both consistently working enough and being overwhelmed by parenthood, that we hired a cleaning service. I have to say it, no one compared to Nubia. The worst part was that I had to de-clutter the entire house in the morning on the day they came before I went to work . I had to PRE-CLEAN! No dishes in the sink, no socks or toys on the floor. It was so stressful..what’s the point?

Today was my day. I spent 5 hours total cleaning. I am glad that I had somewhere to be at 5 p.m. or I would have not been able to stop. I literally had to talk myself down, “Harmony, put down the sponge and walk away from the sink. You need to get dressed and put on make-up.” When I got home from my fun night, I walked into a fresh smelling, shiny floored home that made me feel fantastic. I kicked off my shoes and reveled in walking barefoot on a slickery wood floor. We all ate dinner out, so there were not even dishes in the sink.

I feel like I have a head start on the rest of the week. My mind is clean and clear, and I can’t wait to enjoy it. This home-maker thing is going to work out just fine.

I am Nubia!

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