Airing My Dirty Laundry: My First Cleaning Lady Experience

On the list of “things I don’t want to do ever”,  cleaning my apartment is right up there with giving up drinking, sharing an elevator with my coworkers in the mornings and watching an 8 hour marathon of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. (Yes, even I have my reality tv limits). 

For years I’ve been hoping that my mop and broom would spontaneously sprout arms and legs and start washing the floors on their own.. just like the ones in Fantasia…

But for some reason this hasn’t happened yet. I blame my lack of a proper sorcerer’s hat:

In the meantime I’ve tried turning a blind eye to the mess and imagining the dust bunnies building up in every corner as cute little furry woodland creatures.

That way it’s less gross.

This strategy has been pretty effective thus far, given that I hate people and never have anyone over… but when I started having to wear flip flops in my shower and preferring to use the toilet at the Subway sandwich shop next door rather than my own.. I knew it was time to make a change.

I called the number of a cleaning service I found on the message boards of my condo building, and after a whirlwind  30 second phone conversation, somehow agreed to let a woman I had never met come to my apartment while I was at work and clean my place.

Crazy? Maybe. But you haven’t seen my bathroom.

I arranged with my concierge for her to pick my spare key up at the front desk, and then proceeded to spend the next 24 hours freaking the eff out. What had I just signed on for? Could this lady be trusted? What if I was about to leave all of my worldly possessions with a conwoman?? And more importantly, what if she didn’t like me??

This was beginning to feel strangely like a blind date.

My mother (who is one level of paranoia below wearing a tinfoil helmet) recommended that I look this lady up on Angie’s list, a site where people post reviews about service companies and health professionals. This made sense to me, given that if it actually were a blind date I would undoubtedly spend the night before googling the sh*t out of the poor bastard and making sure no white utility vans were registered under his name at the DMV.

Safety first, ladies.

After scouring the website thoroughly, I decided that if this chick wasn’t legit, she had at least done a pretty elaborate job of covering her ass… and if that was the case, b*tch deserved my IKEA everything dishware and old US Weeklys.

My anxieties, however, were far from over. Further questions plagued me.. like what would she clean? Were certain things “off-limits”? What about laundry? And did I leave a tip? I assumed so. Given that I tip my cab drivers and manicurists, it only seemed fair to tip the lady scrubbing my toilets and dusting the stray dorito crumbs from between my couch cushions.

I canvassed some of my friends and discovered that a) you should definitely leave a tip, unless you want to burn in hell like the terrible human you are; and  b) you can leave a note with some reasonable demands.. but no one wants to wash your sweaty gym clothes on the first date appointment.

Before leaving for work on the day she was scheduled to arrive, I canvassed the situation in my apartment. Between the thin layer of cereal crumbs carpeting the floors and the random piles of sh*t everywhere, I decided that on a scale of 1 to “Hoarders, Buried Alive“, I was running about a 7. (And yes, that scale makes sense.) I’d heard of people cleaning their places before the cleaning lady arrived, but I was torn between my sense of pride and my sense of consumerism. Although I was moderately embarrassed of my living conditions, I also wanted my money’s worth.

I settled on sweeping the kitchen floor and putting my wet towels in the hamper. I then folded a pile of clothing on my living room chair… only to ruffle it all up again 5 minutes later. Can’t make it too easy for her.

So how did it all pan out?” asked no one. Well, I’ll tell ya.. when I got home from work and opened that door, it felt like Christmas morning. Except that Santa wasn’t a fat white guy from the North Pole, but a lovely (and rather slim) Portuguese lady named Liliana. And instead of giving me new stuff…she just gave me all of my old stuff back.. but CLEAN.

As I ran my finger over the glistening stainless steel of my appliances and felt my eyes well up with tears of joy (at least I think it was joy. It might’ve been the lemon pledge.), I knew without a doubt, that I’d be asking Liliana out again.

Question of the Day: Are you a clean freak, or a hot mess like me?