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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hey, Look! The Floor is Clean!

Mary’s at my house today.

And the dust bunnies are running scared.

We set it up last week.

“I can give you a discounted rate,” she had said to me.

“Are you kidding? And not be able to hold my head up around the neighborhood? I insist upon paying the household help a living wage.”

We laugh.

“So what do you want done?”

I’d been thinking about it for weeks. “In order of appearance,” I say, “Bathroom, kitchen, front stairway. Anything after that is gravy. Hairy, hairy gravy.”

I can hear her nodding. “You’ve got one dusty house,” she says.

It’s true. At just a little over a hundred and eight years old, the party the previous owners threw for the signing of the armistice still rumbles through the over-head vents.

“What about the cats?”

“They’re supposed to clean themselves,” I say. “Don’t let the little buggers talk you into anything.”

“No,” she says. “I mean will they be okay with me coming in like this?”

“Liza Bean has spoken of nothing else.” I pause. “Don’t lend her any money no matter how many times she asks. And don’t let her mix you any drinks.”

“No loans to Liza Bean Bitey – “

“—of the Minneapolis Biteys—“ I interject.

“—for any reason. Check.”

“And don’t take anything she mixes for you, either.”

Mary sighs. “There go my plans for the afternoon part of the job,” she mumbles.

“I’m sorry. What’s that?”

“Nothing!” she chirps. “No drinking with the cat, no loaning the cat money. Anything else?”

“Yes,” I smile. “Remember how you made the bed all pretty at the house in Edina?”

Mary and I regularly clean houses together, and I’d been witness recently to a spectacular, showroom-level bed-pillow display on her part that had left me shaking my head with admiration.

The woman is a craftsman.

“Of course.”

“Can you do that for me?”

I hear her smiling again. “And would the lady of the house care for a chocolate on her pillow as well?”

“That would be divine,” I murmur. “Thank you so much.”

“My pleasure,” she says. “And with that, madam, I curtsey in your general direction.”

“And I, in yours.”

“Madam," she says, a brisk nod of a word.

“Madam,” I say.

And we hang up.



I can’t wait to go home. It's clean -- and someone else cleaned it.

47 comments:

Pat said...

\i hope you left her tea and biccies. That's the first thing my lot have and expect

Shelly said...

What pure joy- can't think of many things nicer right now. Thinking back to one of your earlier posts, see if she can throw in the peeling of the pomegranates, too...

laughingmom said...

Mary's a true friend! My friends would short-sheet my bed!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Truly one of life's great luxuries. I have a very nice lady who comes once a month to do the things I can no longer handle on my own. When she leaves the house smells so good the high stays with me for days. I no longer have cats so there is no temptation for her to indulge in afternoon cocktails with the pets.

Judie said...

Waaaaaaaa!! I want a maid! I want someone who can get all the dust out of my home in Oosontay! Unfortunately, since we have so little rain, that person would have to come EVERY DAY! Waaaaaaa!

Leenie said...

Pearl, you are a word craftsman! You projected that whole Lucy and Ethel scene into my head with your writing. I'm in awe.

Everyone should be so blessed as to have a Mary. We are all blessed to know the writings of Pearl.

Glen said...

Don't get too excited - you have a half clean house and a drunken cat/friend combo Karaoke party in full swing.

Actually that would do me fine!

R. Jacob said...

Mary would need a shovel, pick axe and a hardhat with light if she stopped by my house to clean!

Kara said...

I grew up with this idea (I blame Historical Romances) that I would have my own Housekeeper who lived with her Gardener/Handy Man husband in a little cottage tucked into a corner of my estate.

Sigh. I'm jealous of you and your Mary with her fancy-shmancy bed-pillow displaying skills. ;)

SherilinR said...

i cleaned houses for years with one of my best friends. we used to talk about if we could just afford to hire someone, or each other, to clean our own houses, how lovely it would be.
i actually laughed at the line about the cats are supposed to clean themselves. giggle!

JeannetteLS said...

when she's done, I would like to hire her... She may drink all she likes. Me, I have dust rhinos.

I giggled throughout this. Well. Chuckled. I don't giggle. Well> I do--oh, SHUT UP Jeannette.

Great post, as usual!

The Jules said...

I want to come to your house and leave the seat up!

Laraine Eddington said...

I laughed, I sighed, I envied

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wow. I'm impressed. Obviously, your cats are much more better behaved than mine. All I put on our bed is three lousy toss pillows, and our cats consider it a challenge. There is no rest in their hairy little butts until all three pillows have been vanquished to the floor. They push 'em like bulldozers, and they toss them in the air with their heads like soccer balls. With great energy and much exuberance. When their task is complete, they collapse on "their" bed, satisfied that they've reclaimed it. No way they'd let Mary do a pillow "make-pretty" on the bed. And don't even get me started on the chocolate ...

Good for you. Must be awesome to come home to a clean house that you didn't have to clean.

CarrieBoo said...

*horn blowing* I give you, Princess Pearl! *clapping and cheering*

First thing I'd check is that pillow *slurp*... you lucky burger. ;)

jenny_o said...

Cats may be self-cleaning, but the fur they lose in shedding season never sees their tongues. It's everywhere, rolling into corners, clumping on the mats, floating in the air, sticking to pant legs ...

Enjoy your clean house!

Scarlet Blue said...

**sobs**
I have been blogging all day, ignoring the dust and debris building up behind me... and now I have to go clean the toilet... I have to, or the guilt will be too much.

Sx

fishducky said...

I have discovered a marvelous invention that cleans my house every monday! Her name is Olivia.

Esther Montgomery said...

I'd like someone to clean my house. My condition would be that they don't feed the cats and don't tidy. Anything in the wrong place would have to stay in the wrong place - just be lifted up and dusted under. It would all have to remain exactly as chaotic as it always is - only with fewer germs.

esbboston said...

Did you make sure to sound all Mary Poppins-ish when you two have your conversations?

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Can I come over to your house so I can further ignore my dirty house?

bill lisleman said...

Oh imagine the history traveling in the heating duct work.

Diane said...

What's Mary's number? You know. Just FYI . . .

Crystal Pistol said...

I'm so happy for you! There is nothing better than coming home to a clean house not of your own cleaning. Nothing.

Hairy gravy is gross. I try to avoid it when I can.

mrwriteon said...

Can she come over and do our house? She'd only have to content with huge volumes of dog hair.

Bouncin Barb said...

My cleaning lady must have fled the country because I keep having to do the dishes and laundry and make the bed. What's up with that?

klahanie said...

Howdy Pearl,
How are y'all? “And would the lady of the house care for a chocolate on her pillow as well?” Well, hopefully it is real chocolate and not that glorified wax that passes for real chocolate, over there, y'all.
And make sure it really is um chocolate on your pillow...I shall leave it at that.
Take good care, eh :)
Your shy, humble fan, Gary, co-starring Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star! Arf! Arf!

Symdaddy said...

How much does she charge?

I can have 'my man' collect her from Heathrow airport ... just let me know which flight.

The Elephant's Child said...

Oooh. Jealous thoughts. Everything in this house has a patina of fur. The floor has dirty fur, but everything has fur. Sigh.

Gigi said...

I've got someone to do my housework - me. And I have been doing a fairly shoddy job of it lately. I'd be happy to fire myself and have someone else come in but Hubby won't hear of it. Damn him.

Al Penwasser said...

As long as you got all that gravy off the floor. Must have been one helluva party to be so cavalier with the gravy.
It's okay to get rid of it, though. If it's hairy, it's probably bad.

sage said...

I'm writing on my laptop from the breakfast nook, looking at all the dishes folks around here have left me to put into the dishwasher... I'm envious.

Jeanie said...

You're lucky she didn't back out of the job at the "no drinking with the cat" part.

Sush said...

I lust for your clean house done by someone other than myself! Hot cha cha cha! You and Mary are one fantastic combo!
Hugs~

Daisy said...

I could SO use Mary! Any chance she could come north?

Belle said...

Oh, nice for you to come home to a spotless home. My daughter Sandy and I used to clean houses together. We had a good time doing it.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I'll be thrilled just to come home to a piece of chocolate on my pillow. You lucky lady!
xoRobyn

River said...

I used to be a cleaner, now I just wish someone would come and clean for me. For free, because I'm broke...

tony said...

Would She Travel To Yorkshire To Do Mine?

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

I find that my cats mix exceptional afternoon drinks.

I have dust. :)

Anna Lefler said...

Ah, yes - this is truly fabulous.

Although I have to say - hairy gravy sounds pretty damn cool, too.

Enjoy your day, Madam.

XO

A.

Sandee said...

It's like being on a cruise ship. When you leave in the morning for breakfast the nice people come in and clean everything for you and they make the bed too. It's divine indeed.

Have a terrific day. :)

Ivanhoe said...

Oh how nice! My house is only 1000 sq feet, but one day when I get a bigger house... I would like a cleaning lady once in a while :)

Jocelyn said...

Stop making me fall in love with Mary.

And you.

Stop making me fall in love with Mary and you.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Admit it: Liza Bean got her liquored up and they trashed the place.

No?

That's what Liza Bean told ME was gonna happen...

Eva Gallant said...

My fantasies! to have a cleaning lady and a cat who'll mix me drinks!

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Great read, and hilarious. As long as the floor isn't sticky anymore. Nothing quite as bad as having your socks sticking to the floor. ":)) Excellent dialogue!