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Monday, March 9, 2009

The Professional

Shhhhh......she's here...the professional....the cleaner.

She is upstairs right now, like some mythical creature having her way with my vacuum. The vacuum that I adore. The incredibly overpriced prone to breaking German engineered darling that I love. It was the indulgence that I allowed myself after the kitchen renovation. I convinced myself when my old canister gave out that I needed this vacuum to properly clean my freshly patched and painted house. I refused to allow my pretty new surroundings to become like it's predecessor; the mustard tile kitchen floor that when swept collected all dirt in it's deep brown plasticized grout grooves.

It's strange, my vacuum being handled, by another woman. Not only my vacuum. Another woman is also scrubbing, wiping, caressing, my home in the private spaces reserved for my dearest loved ones. Clearly I have not been enough of a woman for my vacuum. I have failed to meet my home's needs, in so many ways. I made a vow, when the dust settled from our renovation that I would be the woman to love, dust, and vacuum the new space that I had waited so long for. Despite all my good intentions I have failed. I have driven my beautiful German engineered vacuum into the hands of a....professional.

I distractedly eavesdrop on their interchange. I quickly jump to my feet, moving away from my computer and make myself look busy whenever she descends the stairs to grab some forgotten cleaning supply. I need this other woman to believe that I am a good, devoted, and industrious person. That I love my home and family. I don't think her catching me at my computer blogging would send the right message.

It is perplexing.

I was the one who called her. I invited her in. I handed her my coveted vacuum. It will be me who writes her a check and thanks her for the services rendered to my home. So why does this feel so strange? It is clear that my house does not care who cleans it. In fact I don't think it cares if it is clean at all. I am doing this to myself.

It is me who needs to maintain some level of control over a life that has been shaken by loved ones who are chronically wellness challenged . I needed help. I asked for it and I received it, that was a healthy thing to do. Funny how even after four years of gluten free living and managing my families health challenges, I still have trouble cutting myself a break.

I need to remember that I am the one who bakes bread for my family and cookies, waffles, pancakes, and every meal. I am the one reads every label, fields every question, calls and emails manufacturers. I pack every morsel of food that is consumed by my children outside our house, and if I have forgotten to stock the school with GF treats, and some perky Mom surprises the class with donuts or cupcakes, I run whatever baked goods I can throw together, over to the school at a moments notice. There is a lot to manage on a regular basis, with only Finance Guy to provide respite when he is able.

However this experience has shown me that even though cleaning can be a burden, it provides me with some normalcy. Cleaning has not changed. Unlike cooking, cleaning is the same as it was when I was a child. The sponges, the scrubbing, the satisfying results. I can clean the same way my mother taught me, and that connects me to parts of myself that I can't find in the kitchen anymore.

And so...the professional is upstairs, continuing to clean...with my vacuum. I am comforted when I remember that this is a one shot cleaning. I resolve to turn over a new leaf. To take my sexy German out for a spin more often, spend more time caring for and cleaning the private spaces of my home, and when it gets away from me, (and it will get away from me again), call for help without shame....and write my blog. I think those things are the least I can do for myself.

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