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THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT


I have noticed that when a new cleaning person has been hired to straighten up the mess you have made of your home, at least 99 percent of the people spend a couple of days cleaning house before the new cleaning lady arrives. It’s human nature to want to be seen in the best possible light.

I don’t mean pushing the vacuum cleaner around the middle of the room, or fluffing the feather duster over the books, I’m talking about really scrubbing. Move furniture and toss out all the old magazines. Heaven forbid that anyone would see that hidden corner in the kitchen you’ve been meaning to clean for several months.

Cleaning people know what they need to do the job, and they want to know if you have all the stuff available for them. My Grandma used the expression to “give it a lick and a promise”, which meant wipe it up quick and promise to do better next time. I have respected this mantra for 71 years with very little complaint. The beauty of it is that you can always do it tomorrow.

Eyesight fades as one ages which adds another perk for the old guys. The less you see, the less there is to clean. But cleaning ladies see it all with the first perfunctory glance. “Oh yes,” they say”, “this will take time.”

It behooves the homeowner to decide just why they hired someone in the first place. For instance, those of us who share our homes with four-legged ‘children’, want someone equipped with a vacuum cleaner better than that which lives in the hall closet. It’s a fact of life: dogs shed, and gravity does the rest. I have never heard anyone complain about the dust collecting on the book shelves, but I have developed a number of friendships with other frustrated owners of dogs complaining of their hairy homes. For some unknown reason Jack Russell Terriers leave a path of white hair in their wake. At some point in time, I look forward to once more enjoying the carpets in this house.

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15 comments on “THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT

  1. I’m one of those people who tidies a bit before the hotel maid comes in. I can’t help it. I feel for them because it’s such a thankless job. So I try to make it a little easier for them. 😁

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  2. Yes, Jack Russells have a lot to answer for.
    Are you reading this Milo?
    The grief he causes, is beyond belief. I even bought a second vacuum cleaner to reinforce picking up his hairs after using the first ‘normal’ cleaner.
    Both Helvi’s and my eye-sight are waning which makes the house look so much cleaner.

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    • It’s wonderful isn’t it, to be able not to “sweat the small stuff” as they used to say; because it really is all small stuff. But in the meantime, I brush and brush, sweep up the residue, and brush some more. It is truly never ending. And the worst of it is, Charlie still runs the house.

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  3. Recently, there was an article in the newspaper that said money spent on hiring help with chores brought more happiness than money spent on anything else, yet most people are reluctant to do so. We seem to feel some shame about not cleaning up after ourselves, not tending our own gardens, not mending our own fences. All I know is the house was cleaned yesterday and I didn’t have to do it.

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  4. I still remember with amusement and horror the vision of my home which came to me after I’d had my cataract surgery. Suddenly, there it was in all its gruesome glory: the dust-covered (read: filthy) fan blades; the dust-covered slats in the window blinds; the slighty grungy tile grout; the cat hair at the very edges of the carpet, next to the walls; the windows that needed washing — on and on it went.

    It was a real revelation, believe me. I asked a friend if she’d noticed things going downhill. She said she hadn’t, but then reminded me that she is awaiting cataract surgery too. The lesson? If you can, invite only sight-impaired people to your house. It eliminates the need for quite a bit of work!

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    • I shudder to remember coming home from a trip or the hospital to see the devastation wrought by Dr. A while I was gone. Unbelievable. Age didn’t improve the ministrations of a man toward housekeeping. I admit to being lax on many counts such as window blinds etc. Basically I am a tidier. As long as everything is where it’s supposed to be and the dishes are done, I feel OK. But to have someone else see what you don’t and clean it is very nice.

      Each of the women in my life had a different method of cleaning up, and I probably learned from each of them.

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  5. Our little robot vacuum cleaner that we call Roberta does an excellent job of running around and keeping our floors relatively clean, well within the tolerance level. 🙂 –Curt

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  6. The robot machine kept getting stuck on electrical cords and it became very tiresome to watch the robot staying clear of them. I gave it to my daughter who now sold it on E-bay.(She kept the money!)

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  7. Once my wife asked me if I had noticed that she had cleaned the house through. Naturally enough I told her I would have noticed if she hadn’t. I like to keep her on her mettle!

    These days though, come to think of it, she has subtle ways of making me roll my sleeves up and muck in. Hence I do not have a cleaning lady to impress, only the mistress of the house.

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