posted by Joe Anaya on February 11th, 2013

I resisted having a housekeeper for a long time. In California, labor is cheap. Hand car washes, yard service, and housekeeping are all very reasonably priced. I grew up working-class and feel funny about not cleaning my own house or tending my own landscape. It all feels very bourgeois. My attitude changed when I and my wife had high stress jobs with long hours. We spent one weekend afternoon cleaning our house with deadlines hanging over both our heads, but we couldn’t put off the mess any longer. As I was on my knees cleaning the bathroom my wife said, “We could make more money and advance our careers if we were working these three hours instead of cleaning. Let’s get a housekeeper.” I dropped the toilette brush and blue-collar attitude and said, “I’m in.”

Then came the long string of housekeepers. I hate hearing myself think these thoughts, but “It’s really hard to find good help.” There was the housekeeper who brought her boyfriend. He didn’t help; he just stood around reading the paper and watching her clean. Then there was the family who came in as a horde but never remembered any of the instructions from last week. “Please don’t use abrasives on the tub,” was our instruction every week as they sprinkled Comet or Ajax in the tub every week.

Then there was the Cleaning Pimp. We had a service run by a man who brought a different woman with him every week. One time after the Cleaning Pimp and his moll left, my wife couldn’t find a certain pair of earrings. She was convinced the housekeeper took them, until she found them in the pocket of the suit she had on when she last wore the earrings. Now whenever something is missing, we joke, “The housekeeper took it,” even though we haven’t had a housekeeper in years.

Now days, working freelance, I have a lot more free time and therefor a lot more house cleaning responsibilities. But like Charly from Flowers For Algernon, I’ve seen life with a housekeeper and I liked it better. Leaving me to wonder, “Where did all my free time go?” The housekeeper must have taken it.

File Under King of the Castle