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Cleanliness is next to impossible

I’m cleaning the house so our cleaning person won’t think we live in a pigsty. Not that I’ve ever been in a pigsty, but I’m guessing they’re pretty messy. The pigs probably drape their clothes everywhere and leave dishes in the sink until there’s a big enough pile to make it worth it washing them. They probably never vacuum under the sofa.

But we’re not a bunch of pigs. Our kitchen table is clean enough to eat off of — mainly because we never use it. We usually eat on the sofa, in front of the TV. That’s a sofa that I wouldn’t eat off of. It’s a disgusting mess.

“Why don’t you do your own cleaning?” you might ask. “None of your business,” I might answer. But the truth is that Sue doesn’t like the way I clean, and she’s sick of doing it herself.

When I do the cleaning, she follows me around making snide remarks like, “You missed the cat vomit in the dining room,” or “That toilet’s not going to flush itself.” Well, then, why don’t we buy one that will? I read somewhere that the Japanese have one that will do everything but pull up your pants for you. Sure, it costs $10,000, but wouldn’t that be worth it?

Also, why does the cat always vomit right where I’m sure to step in it? It’s never in the corner or under a chair; it’s always right in the middle of the room. It’s as if he’s counted my steps and knows exactly where he can puke so I will step in it first thing in the morning. In my bare feet. His second choice is to wait to throw up until I’ve put on my shoes, so I don’t realize I’ve stepped in it until I’ve tracked it all over the house. At the moment, he’s under the bed, licking his feet. His feet are clean as a whistle. It’s my feet he should be licking. But that’s another topic.

Why am I cleaning for the cleaning person? Is that wrong? Yes, but I don’t want her to quit on the first day. My plan is to gradually do less and less so it won’t come as a shock to her the way some people live. Though she probably already knows.

Yes, a man’s home is his castle, but you can’t run a castle by yourself. It takes knights and footmen and stable boys and serfs and ladies-in-waiting. And what are the ladies waiting for? They’re waiting for a cleaning person to show up.

Anyway, a good knight is hard to find around here, and all the stable boys and footmen don’t clean the castle any better than I do. Once, after I spent all day tidying up the kitchen, Sue walked in and said, “What happened in here? Did a tornado hit the house? Did you call 911? Are we insured for that, or is it an act of God?” There’s just no making some people happy. And how come she never steps in cat vomit? Maybe they’re in cahoots.

Finally — when I have chased down and captured the last dust bunny, when I have wiped every window, dusted every knick-knack, washed every dish and folded every piece of laundry — finally, the house is ready for our new cleaning person to arrive.

But where is she? She’s over an hour late. This is no way to start out. I tell Sue that I’m a little disappointed at how this is working out.

She says, “Oh, I forgot to tell you. I told her to come next Tuesday instead. I’m playing bridge today. Can you vacuum the car? It’s really a mess.”

Something tells me that I’ve been Bernie Madoffed and that no cleaning person was ever coming — that this was all just a big scam to embarrass me into cleaning the whole house myself.

Well, it worked.

Jim Mullen

Jim Mullen

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