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Meredith Leigh Knight Columnist

Published Friday, November 30, 2012

Clean up - the maid is coming

I hired a maid.

I know I don’t have to justify this decision, but let me justify this decision.

I had surgery recently. A surgery which my son commented that I was making the most of. He even went as far as to say he wished he’d had surgery. I told him that could be arranged.

I work full-time now, and I’m really, really tired when I get home. Real tired. I know plenty of women work and keep their homes neat and their kids fed, but my energy level allowed me to choose one or the other, and the house doesn’t whine.

I can only say this because my grandmother has passed away, but I’m a lousy housekeeper. My grandmother’s house was so clean that my daughter wrote a report about it back in the third grade, stating she had the “cleanest basement in the whole world” and that was no exaggeration.

Today, my daughter has a house of her own, and she said she tries to think to herself, “Is this clean enough for G.G.?” If not, she cleans some more. It obviously skipped a generation or two.

Back to the maid. I hired her through word of mouth. I mentioned to my hairdresser that I was looking for one, and she in turn yelled “Hey, know anyone who cleans?” to her coworker across the room, who in turn gave me a number. That, my friends, is how news travels.

I called her, and we spoke. You’d think I’d be interviewing her, asking her questions about her qualifications, but instead, I spent most of the phone call ensuring her that we’d tidy up before she came and trying to convince her that we really weren’t that bad. I guess I sounded fairly convincing or either desperate enough that she felt sorry for me because she agreed to stop by and give me an estimate.

“Clean up!” I yelled when I got home from work that day. “I’ve hired a maid, and I don’t want her to know how filthy we are.”

“I don’t want anybody but my mama cleaning my room,” my son protested.

I guess I should have been flattered. Instead, I closed his door and told the maid she didn’t have to go in there.

“I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” I told her.

She gave her price, and we agreed for her to come the following day. Since I was at work, my husband texted me updates at my insistence. They went something like this.

“She’s here.” – 8:45 a.m.

“Had to unclog the vacuum, twice. There’s enough hair in it to make a wig.” – 9:30

“She’s still upstairs.” – 11 a.m.

“Started on our bathroom” – 12:30 p.m.

“Said she had to leave to get her son. Would finish next time, and, oh yeah, she’s raising her rates.” – 1:45 p.m.

At which point I called him.

“Catch her! Tell her to please come back, please. I’ll pay double!” I said, cursing myself for not telling him to offer her a sandwich and something cold to drink.

Fortunately, we’ve since worked it out. Her original rate was too low, and our house was bigger, and, yeah, messier than she thought. She’s worth every penny and then some. I can’t wait for her to arrive every other week. Even my teenage daughter enjoys it and happily picks up her room so it can be vacuumed. Having a maid has forced us to keep things tidier, which makes me happier and a better mom. I rank the decision to hire her right up there behind getting married and having kids. I just hope she keeps coming back.

As for my son, his room is still quarantined.

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