You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone….

About a month ago, when my husband and I sold our home and moved our family into an apartment….I call the Pit Stop….in order to bridge the gap between the sale of our old house and the closing of our new house, we agreed to put a hold on our cleaning service.

For the first year or so that we owned our last home, I took on most of the cleaning chores.  Truth be told, I enjoyed the busy work.  For years, cleaning had been a strange sort of hobby for me.  One that allowed me to disappear into myself a bit.  As I tackled projects I would listen to a book or mediation music….and while I threw my physical energy into cleaning, my brain would often work through some matter of complicated emotion I had been struggling with.

Eventually though, trying to keep four bathrooms sparkling became too much.  Instead of feeling like an escape, it began to feel more like a chore.  So, we hired a cleaning service to clean just our bathrooms every two weeks and I kept up with the rest.

Having someone come and clean my house was not something I ever thought I would do.  It had always seemed like a wasteful extravagance to me and something only lazy and/or snooty people did.  I had been cleaning my various living spaces for years….and it honestly never occurred to me that by outsourcing the task….I could lose myself in other hobbies I enjoyed more.  I simply saw it as the price you paid to be an adult….and I wasn’t the kind of adult who would rely on Mr. Belvedere to do the dirty work for me.

So initially, the idea that strangers would be coming into my home and witnessing my bathroom at its worst, made me very uncomfortable.  I got over it real quick though the first time I came home to bathrooms that had been so thoroughly cleaned by our housekeeper….I would have eaten my dinner off one of the toilet seats.

Later, when I was diagnosed with cancer during my 22nd week of pregnancy, the combination of chemo and general pregnancy weariness, left me with little energy to keep up with the balance of the housework and we decided to go all in….we never looked back.

When we were discussing our life in the apartment though, it seemed a bit excessive to incur the cost of having someone come and clean a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment.  We both agreed it was a task we could assume responsibility for during the duration of our stay.  That is, until the toilets and bathtubs began to look like a science experiment.

“Have I lost my ability to take care of myself and my surroundings?”  I thought, as I gazed at a rim of gunk circling one of the toilet bowls.

“Has suburban opulence made me soft?”

“There is no way in hell I’m putting my hand in there….we’re going to need the toilet wand.  Wait….do we even have a toilet wand anymore?”

I realized, as I was rifling through the cabinet under the sink, that our cleaning supplies amounted to little more than dishwashing soap and detergent, a package of unopened sponges and an all purpose cleaner.  We don’t even own a vacuum.  Our old house had a central vacuum system and it hadn’t yet occurred to me that we would need to buy one for our fully carpeted apartment.

I made a list of general cleaning supplies we would need to keep the apartment in shape and headed to Target.

When I returned home with my brand new toilet wand, I quickly assembled it and headed to the bathroom my husband and I share.  I scrubbed the inside of the bowl clean, not leaving a spec of sludge and then I lifted the seat.

“WTF!”  I shrieked.  “I did not sign up for this!  Who did I marry!?  One of the Garbage Pail Kids?  This has to be reasonable grounds for divorce.”

I took a deep breath and tried to remain calm.  After all, I sometimes pee all over the toilet too.  Oh….wait….no….I don’t….because I don’t have a penis.  In fact, I’ve never missed by mark.  My accuracy is 100% on target, so why the hell should I be the one dry heaving over the state of the rim.

“That’s it!”  I told myself.  “I’m not going to be the designated toilet scrubber around here.”  

Then, I posted a warning:


When my husband returned later that day and found my note pinned to the still dirty underbelly of the toilet ring, he came to discuss the situation.

Husband:  “I think we should call the cleaning service.”

 Me:  “Yeah, me too.  I don’t want to get divorced….at least not yet anyway.”


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