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Spruce up the maid is coming.

Updated on September 13, 2008

cleaning house before the maid arrives

Because I can no longer stand on two feet due to an old injury, It is impossible for me to take care of household chores. As a man who is used to having everything in its place, having a stranger come in and change things around has been hard to get used to.

I don't like the way they sweep my cat off her favorite chair or pick up crunchies off the floor and throw them into her food dish. My cat is not used to that kind of treatment. She doesn't like the sound of the vacuum cleaner or having a strange woman in the house at all. On the day the housekeeper shows up, the cat heads for the trees and won't come down until dinner.

It takes a long time to train someone who will go to the store and buy everything wrong. Wrong brand, wrong size, wrong fruit is the norm. The apples are all bruised and the bananas over-ripe. I ask for skim milk she brings whole.

Most of my kitchen settings are broken, the can opener disappeared, along with the silver plate months ago. Eating off paper isn't so bad, it's a little hard getting used to carrying food on paper plates. they tend to fold up in the middle and spill most of the food on to the floor.

Living in California is a financial challenge at times. The starting rate for an untrained housekeeper is around $12.00 an hour. An offer of less than $10.00 will get you a scornful look and a blackball among Maria's friends.

They tend to do better if they receive little "gifts," "tips," and gratuities such as food they may take home, clothing, gas money, and loose coins they find on the floor, etc;

Before Maria, there was a steady procession of light fingered maids whose ambition in life was to relieve me of my already meager possessions. They must have received lessons from my ex-wife. Everything was fair game; even a 12x15 rug, tools, boots, clothing, army t-shirts which for some reason struck a chord among them, and huge quantities of dish-soap until I realized I no longer had any dishes.

I soon noticed that longevity is decided by and in direct proportion to the new boyfriend's having moved in and assumed responsibility for the bills. Those thinking they would exchange sexual favors, thus avoiding work, soon recognized a definite reluctance of the head of house to dally, and didn't come back.

Finally, Maria came along and between us we had a purpose in life. Hers was to change the way I live. Mine, to preserve the last bastion anyone has control of these days, the home.

Never dismiss the power of those who you reveal all your secrets to, in your laundry, the corners of your home, and the evidence of a party on the weekend. Maria will silently enter the house on Monday, and in her self-satisfied way, confirm her worst suspicions through disappoving sounds, clucks, and sniffs, rather than a clean, stilleto, direct through the heart.

One trick I have devised to outwit my Nemesis is to have a family member or friend come by and clean the place before she gets there. So far, she has been suspicious about how orderly everything is, but without finding evidence, gives me a haughty sniff and goes through the motions of cleaning.

She, being grateful for the extra food I left for her children last week,came in the house and promptly threw away the monthly bills, an insurance policy, and two tickets for A Chorus Line. I couldn't even confront her, since the deal was any papers left on the floor would be fair game, One must remember to never throw the mail down upon entering the house.

Sometimes a day dream results from the presence of a woman in the house. not as a result of Maria's cleaning.however. My ex hardly cleaned at all, which was fine with me. She looked upon cooking with horror, and having tasted her pitiful attempts, I soon figured out why.

She was an actress and a fine concert pianist who had no business being with a half crippled, tweaked out, aspiring academic.Everyone bored her except the new director or complimentory actor.

It's not fun missing out on the best part of being married though. The best part of being married? The woman, what else? It is well for men to remember, it is easy enough to get a housekeeper or a cook, but to love and be loved in life is the most fulfilling of all hope and dreams.

That is only one writers bias, however, having witnessed successful same sex marriages and partners. The love that comes from those relationships is awesome and powerfully synergistic.


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