Thursday, April 6, 2006

Getting Cleaning? Or just GettingTaken to the Cleaners?

My friend Brian came into the house for the first time in a couple months. He was barely in the front door, and said "Tell your #$%!! cleaning lady that I am very angry with her." It was obvious to him that even though this house can be properly cleaned in an hour a week, and I was paying her to be here 6 hours a week, the condition of the house had gotten much worse since she started (ahem) "doing the cleaning". It was his opinion that the only thing she was cleaning was my wallet.

We went through the house and made a list: cobwebs all over, dust everywhere, greasy gunky dirt in the kitchen, clean laundry piled all over the dining room instead of put away in the bedroom, etc.

Both being legally-trained, it made sense for us to put this in writing, so that she would have a checklist of what needed to be done, and I wouldn’t have to keep reminding her what still needed doing. And since she argues with me when she doesn’t want to do something, because she thinks that as women we’re equals, we wrote it as coming from Brian, because in her world the man is always the boss.

When she came this afternoon, I told her Brian had been here and was not happy with her. I gave her the memo to read, so she would know exactly what the problems were. She insisted that "Brian didn’t write this, he would never be that rude to me." She’s half-right, the concepts are Brian’s, but it’s not his comments verbatim because I had to take out a lot of really rude language before I would type it.

She decided she’d rather quit than do the cleaning properly, and flounced off, insisting "I wish Brian were here, because he’d protect me from you. He wouldn’t let you be so mean to me." If only she knew that Brian wanted her fired on the spot, and I was the one who wanted to give her one more chance. She made some more comments that made it apparent that she has fantasies about Brian the Knight in Shining Armor, in which I’m jealous of her, and that she’s sure that I fired her because he prefers her ("Brian would rather marry me than you"). She’s welcome to her delusions; I know he’s not marrying her no matter how badly she wants to believe he will if she can get me out of the picture.

Or maybe telling me that was supposed to break my heart? Might work better if I had fantasies that he was going to marry me. I have CFS; I’m no prize package in the marriage market, and I know it. But I also know that middle-class men, unlike the poor men she associates with, don’t base a woman’s marriageability solely on her ability to clean; you can hire a cleaning lady a lot cheaper than you can hire a "geisha" trained in the conversational arts.

So, now I’m back to Square One – I can’t get Disability because the judge won’t believe I’m disabled if I don’t have weekly help with the cleaning, but I can’t get affordable help with the cleaning because I’m not officially disabled and therefore don’t qualify for any government programs. (It should be noted that the law does not require household help as a condition of getting Disability benefits.)

Anyone know a good, reliable housecleaner who actually cleans?