I lust after a cleaning lady. I long for a cleaning lady. The idea of a blessed Alice who steals into my house, tidies and disinfects, and then scoots right out the door before I return home with arms that are bursting with babies and bags is Nirvana. I have talked at length about a cleaning lady ever since G and I moved into together 7 years ago. Sometimes I wake up in the morning with a blissful expression and a total sense of peace because I was dreaming of my hypothetical cleaning lady.
My serenity is ripped to shreds when the sleep clears from my eyes, and I realize that my dream was not reality.
It’s not that I feel I deserve a reprieve from managing the household I created. It’s not that I feel being elbow deep in dirty dishes or throwing out my back hoisting dirty laundry into the washing machine is tedium I should be exempt from. It’s truly that I just suck at it. Working 3 days out of the house followed by 4 days spent with the messiest creatures found outside of a mosquito-infested bog, leaves me little time to polish and scrub and organize. I feel exhausted and would rather reclaim some of those lost hours with my kids rather than my broom.
The problem is G. He’s a product of his environment, which was a household of SEVEN children managed expertly by ONE mother. She was the type of mother who gracefully herded a flock of children while putting dinner on the table and clean clothes in drawers. And, even though I spend a fair chunk of time working outside the home, the idea that we cannot stay abreast of the very mess we create is something that G cannot fathom. He just believes that we should be able to keep on top of our own home. Clearly he doesn’t realize just how hard it is to surmount a pile of laundry as high as Annapurna that he alone creates! But, to his credit, he is the kind of guy who turns a blind eye to crayon marks on counters and sour clothing strewn on floors. He picks through a pile of clean clothes that never makes it to folded and put away status each morning to get dressed. I always say that I’d love him to be neater, but thank God he is the kind of guy who doesn’t complain about living in chaos.
But each year, around my birthday or other gift-giving periods, I send some prayers up to the Goddesses of Gifts (who are selfish bitches lately) that this is the year G is going to give the gift that keeps on giving. No, it’s not a magazine subscription, in case you’re reading this!!
A cleaning lady named Hortensia.
Or that Nordic wonder named Sven from the AT&T commercials. Remember him? He’d wake up the parents with stock reports and read aloud their emails while getting the kids ready for Kung Fu. He’d recap the schedules and hand everyone a sweater as he hustled them out the door.
I’ll take either one. Hortensia or Sven. I’m not picky.
So you can imagine my delight when G said to me, “I’ve gotten us two things that should help with the housework immensely.”
He stressed the word immensely. And when the word immensely is stressed in a context of lightening housework, I immediately pee my pants in delight. Two kids and no time for Kegals will do that to a woman.
I can’t believe it? Not only am I getting Hortensia…I’m also getting Sven!! Talk about a triple threat! Hortensia, Sven, and I will take on this house. And then the town. And then the world. We’ll power through dirt and blast through grease. We’ll make lunches and dinners in the blink of an eye. We’ll build public transit systems and villages for the needy. We’ll erect monuments and clean up Wall Street. And we’ll do it all in perfectly laundered mock turtlenecks. Need your life overhauled? Hortensia, Sven, and Erin have an app for that!!
As my mind was contemplating exactly where I’d accommodate Hortensia and Sven, G unveiled his ‘two things that should help with housework immensely.”
What. The. Frig. Are. Those?
Meet Hortensia and Sven.
Their immense housework is limited to holding the dribble of sauces. And instead of cleaning, they – like everything else in my life – actually need to be cleaned, too.
You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t build those bridges and dams. I have to put Hortensia and Sven in the dishwasher first.
(Do you have a Hortensia or Sven? Are they the descendants of Jesus I think they are? Or do you just wish for one, like me?)