So you're wondering how it went with Betty. I think it went well, though I was sort of weirdly exhausted by the end of it. Certainly the house--or the rooms that Betty and her three daughters cleaned--were beautiful, shiny and fresh. They cleaned the dust off the ceiling fan and made the boys' bathtub a thing of beauty. I couldn't be more pleased.
I was interested that when they were done cleaning Betty left a religious tract on my counter with a note ("Thank you for letting us clean your house, I hope you're happy with the job we did today ..."). The tract is the sort that most of us are familiar with--Did you know that Jesus died on the cross for your sins so that you wouldn't burn in Hell? Say the Sinner's Prayer today so that you will be saved. Given that I have a postcard of Mary and baby Jesus on my fridge alongside a poem by Kathleen Norris called "Imperatives" that begins,
Look at the birds
Consider the lilies
Drink ye all of it
Enter by the narrow gate
Do not be anxious
Judge not; do not give dogs what is holy ...
you'd think I might have been given a pass on the whole "we're concerned about the state of your soul" thing, but I guess not. A little disappointing, I have to say.
It's funny having a stranger in your house, especially one that's mucking about in your space for a couple of hours. You start to see what's weird about your stuff, at least if you're me. For instance, for the last three or four years we've had this dangling from our livingroom ceiling,
which is a dried bundle of Salvia clippings from the garden. The Man trimmed back the plants one day and liked how the remnants looked, so naturally he bound them together and hung them from a hook, as one does (the hook was already there--I believe the previous owners of the house hung a lamp from it). I've always loved our Salvia, but looking at it through Betty's eyes, I could understand that she might think us quite insane.
Then there's our fireplace mantle, that runs the length of the wall, upon which we have displayed all sorts of things, including one of the Man's many fine documentary photographs, various children's art projects and some barbecue sauce:
Sometimes I wonder what my children think when they go to other people's houses. Do they think, "Ah, at last, normal decor?" Or do they think the normal stuff is weird? Do they wonder where the display of barbecue sauce is? Where their friends parents display their bundles of sticks?
So I believe the house cleaner experience was a success. When I get rich, I'll have Betty and her daughters (everyone in the family is stunningly gorgeous, by the way--it's like have the cast of "Petticoat Junction" clean your house) come weekly. Will they bring me religious materials to read every time they come? Will the tracts become increasingly scarier? Should I start leaving my Bible out in obvious places? I'm curious to find out what happens next. Stay tuned!
I'm a writer and a stay-at-home mom who keeps meaning to mop the floors because I think it would make me happy if I did. I love books and music and writing, spend entirely too much time in the dentist's chair (I bet I have more crowns than you do), and used to think I was sort of bohemian, but now I wonder. No tattoos. Minivan. That story.