A clean house

After much debating and then looking for a housecleaning service, and one failed attempt (lady didn’t show up), I followed the recommendation of a piano parent and had the owner of the service do a walk-through and give us an estimate. Yesterday she and two other cleaning ladies descended on the house and spent three hours thoroughly cleaning the upstairs (where we live. The downstairs studio is separate.).

The experience was unexpectedly stressful and strangely unpleasant. Knowing that complete strangers were in my bathroom, my closet, my bedroom, touching my stuff, made me very uncomfortable. It wasn’t a matter of trust, or the feeling that my privacy was being violated. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate in the way the ladies were – they were professional, doing their job. – Or maybe it *is* a matter of privacy: Mark and I (and occasionally my children when they visit from out of town) are the only ones who go into that private part of our house. We have showed the house, including bed and bathroom, to friends, but that was different because Mark and/or I were right there with them.

We knew to expect that things wouldn’t be where they were before. Our kitchen counter tops tend to get messy, the dining table houses more than dining things …  Some of the rearrangements were actually welcome; it gives me ideas for how to arrange things differently / better.  Other “cleaning up” arrangements were easily restored to how we had them before: we keep a butter dish on the counter (butter at room temperature) and somehow that dish ended up on the stovetop, etc.

By nature and nurture, I am very picky. Yesterday, when I asked a 3rd grade student whether he thought he was finished with a particular piece or whether he thought he needed a bit more time (at home, to practice), he hemmed and hawed, reluctant to answer. His mother laughed and told him not to be silly, she thought he knew that he was finished with the piece. I explained to the mother that I thought he was reluctant because he knew that I have very high standards, he knew that 99% – while pretty good – is not “finished”. He agreed that that’s what he meant.

The cleaning service was very reasonably priced, but the fact that there were three strangers in my house for three hours was a different kind of price I paid yesterday, so it is disappointing that I keep finding things that didn’t get cleaned, or not as thoroughly as I expected, considering that this particular service takes particular pride in their thoroughness.

Maybe it’s this year, this time. So much is so extreme this year: unusually high hopes, fears, roller-coaster emotions, all of which make it more important than ever that my home be my castle, a physical place where Mark and I invite good energy, good people to be with us, where we *know* that we have control over things.

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