My...friend....has several friends who employ people to come in and clean their homes: these people are called "cleaners." People who clean the house but also answer the telephone and the front door are "maids." People who live in residence and supervise the cleaning are "housekeepers." In this economy, the job my....friend... inadvertently fell into, much like Alice fell down that rabbit hole, was a job as a maid.
The house she currently works in, she already answered the phone and the front door bell, as well as letting the dogs in and out all day long. She also does almost all the laundry, cooks all the food, and loads and unloads the dishwasher about a hundred times a day, it seems. All in all, it keeps
me her pretty busy, considering that she also has several part-time jobs, a husband and two teenage daughters.
This is how she came to be a maid, and how you may also find yourself with a calling to do as she has done.
This friend....she couldn't help but notice however much she ordered, begged, wheedled, cajoled, demanded, implored or nagged, those two teenage daughters - and lovely young ladies they are - were still inclined to leave their dirty unmentionables strung across the bathroom floor, abandon cruddy plates adorned with a half-eaten turkey sandwich and a banana peel on any available kitchen counter when the sink, and moreover, THE DISHWASHER, were sitting right there in plain view, not to mention various high-heeled shoes, schoolbooks, hoodies, volleyballs, earrings, iPods and other miscellaneous STUFF lying around everywhere until my friend was nearly distracted with the yuck of it all.
One time, she says that she left a coupon for 40-percent-off-your-purchase-of-50-dollars-or-more from Ulta Beauty on her dining room floor for three days, just to see when one of the girls would pick it up. Even though they daintily stepped over it day after day on their way from the living room to the kitchen and back again, neither girl so much as stooped over to lift the rectangular piece of paper from the floor, even though this coupon was much coveted by both daughters, who had planned to each spend $25 at Ulta and garner that whopping forty percent discount. Finally, on that third day, my friend cracked. She leaned over, picked up that coupon with trembling fingers, and took it to the kitchen wastebasket, where she defiantly tore it into tiny shreds and then flipped the switch to MASH IT MASH IT MASH IT with the rest of the trash.
She swears that not five minutes later, both girls were on her like weasels in a hen coop, demanding to know where their precious Ulta Beauty coupon was. She pressed her fingertips to her forehead, prayed a silent Hail Mary to the Blessed Mother with the plea that heaven's angels would hold her back from killing these two gifts from God standing before her with their accusatory stares and screechy voices and said, "Ladies, the coupon is gone. Yes, that's right. GONE. And do you know why? Because it laid there on the dining room floor, right where the two of you walk a hundred times every day, a bright pink and green coupon on our pale taupe carpet, and IF IT WAS THAT FRIGGING PRECIOUS, ONE OF YOU SHOULD HAVE BENT DOWN AND PICKED IT UP!"
Both girls sniffed disdainfully. "I always have to pick EVERYTHING up, " said the older girl, whose propensity for leaving a clump of soggy hair in the shower drain after each shampoo was driving her poor mother to the chardonnay as early as 5:05 p.m.
"You do not!" the younger one countered furiously. "I always have to pick everything up, EVERYTHING!" In spite of the fact that one of those "magic" bottles for feeding orange juice to baby dolls had been lying on the floor of her closet since she was seven.
My friend, that poor woman, shouldered past the two of them and went upstairs to her bedroom, where she sank into the comfy chair, that chair in which she used to nurse her sweet babies before they were ambulatory and able to scatter bright plastic pieces of Fisher-Price throughout the entire house. "Back then, it was easy," she muttered. "And then when they learned to walk, we made cleanup a game. They'd bring me the little toys and put them in the pretty willow laundry basket and we'd clap after they threw each thing in....But now, here they are, old enough to DRIVE, one of them old enough to VOTE, both of them nearly out of high school, and it's like they think their hands can no longer be used to pinch and grasp and their spines no longer curve to pick up coupons or dirty laundry or HAIR from the DRAIN.
"I feel like the maid around here, because both those stinkers know I can't stand a mess and if they leave something long enough, I'll just do it for them. But I am NOT the maid, I am the MOTHER, goshdarnit! I'd be getting PAID if I were a MAID, but I'm NOT, so...."
And then a little light bulb went on over my friend's rumpled head.
She could get paid for the little cleaning services she provided, doing it just the way a maid would: quietly, efficiently and steadily. No more shouting, no more nagging, just diligently getting the job done and then presenting her employers with a bill for services rendered. In this case, she thought, a dollar per service would be plenty. Both girls had the ability to hold onto their money more tightly than Lady Gaga holds onto a microphone, so even a meager little dollar would give them both a kick in the pants that would hopefully wake them up to the fact that piggish and slatternly behavior is rude and selfish in the family home, but even worse in adult life, when living, say, in a dorm. Or in a bachelor girl apartment with a roommate. Or with a brand new husband, who might be dismayed to find that his beautiful bride, with her sparkling eyes and sunshiny smile actually had the home management skills of a crack whore.
So that's how
I've she's made a nice little sum of money over the past few weeks, and frankly, it looks like she's found a cash cow, because both girls just keep on leaving empty milk cartons in the fridge and pencil sharpener shavings spilled on the desk and coats draped over the newel post on the staircase. Both of them are naturally indignant at being charged for their familial misdemeanors, but my friend is adamant: either pick it up yourselves, darlings, or pay to have it picked up for you.
The house is tidy and my friend has been able to cut back on the chardonnay, and if her girls keep it up for a few more weeks, she may have enough money saved up to buy those really cute boots she saw at Macy's.