Family, family, family, family, family — but at least it’s a clean one

Sorry for the unusual blog silence.  Yesterday fell apart when I got called to my daughter’s school for an emergency that was a false alarm.  I got back in time to head off to a business/social meeting with a delightful colleague.  Traffic caught me on the way home, so I spent an hour in the car listening to Dr. Laura lecture people.  Her ideas often work for me, but I don’t like her style.  Afternoon saw me taking care of the kids, my mother, my husband and my dog.  Today is all family all the time, as is tomorrow — although tomorrow promises the pleasure of a ship tour.  Hurrah!

I’ve got tons of ideas percolating, and will able to start blogging on some of them tomorrow night.  Until then, I leave you with a question:  Is it weird to tidy the house before the cleaning ladies’ twice monthly visit?  Mr. Bookworm can never get over the fact that I put everything away before they come.  I think their job is cleaning.  If I leave the house in a chaotic mess, they try to put things away — and I can never find them — and they never get around to the cleaning bit (vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing, windows, etc).  Do any of you have a take on this?

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  • jau

    I’m of both minds, actually. My wonderful cleaning powerhouse woman does both. She loves reorganizing things so I always leave some for her and anyway I also partly feel that the point is partly to have it done really well and regularly, and partly to gain time. Lots of tidying means losing the time again. But I suspect this is one of those comfort-zone things so do what you feel good about. (Hey we could always take on the discussion about feeling guilty about having a cleaning woman in the first place. You know: my dirt, my responsibility….)

  • erp

    I have the house ready for the cleaning woman if at all possible. My husband also thinks it’s nuts to do so.

  • JJ

    My mother always cleaned the house after the cleaning woman finished cleaning the house.

    My wife does before they arrive, alongside them, and also post-departure. (In fact I do the vaccuming – so you could well wonder what the hell we pay them for. I do actually wonder why I’m paying them, sometimes.)

  • Earl

    Your reasoning for putting away clutter makes perfect sense to me — if they’re paid for cleaning, but clutter has to be taken care of beforehand, then you get more cleaning if you take care of the clutter yourself.

    Can’t find Dr. Laura out here in the wilds of TN — I think her style doesn’t go over real big in this part of the south, anyhow. I miss it — direct and to the point. I admit that every now and then she misses something in a call (or the screener didn’t get a crucial point up on the computer) and jumps on someone without cause. Nevertheless, most of us are far more in need of being told directly that we’re acting like an a– than we are the touchy-feely, “you’re OK, darling” kind of thing that is handed out from nearly everyone in our culture. I really think this is part of the fault with public schools — they want everyone to feel good about themselves, even the anti-social b——ds and b—hes who learn it from watching four or five hours of TV every day.

    Sorry about the rant!

  • Bookworm

    I’m with you, Earl, about Dr. Laura’s habit of not listening. I realize she probably has more info than I do because of the screener, and I know that some of the callers are maddeningly discursive, but she often seems to go into the calls with an agenda that has nothing to do with the problem that’s driving the call. So I don’t mind her approach — direct, uncompromising, moral — but I don’tlike her style.

  • judyrose

    Most of the time, I think Dr. Laura zeroes in on the issue even when the caller doesn’t know what it is. But she can be pretty abrasive, and even downright nasty. There are times when she jumps on something early in the call, and even if the caller tries to argue that that’s not what she meant, or tries to add more details, Dr. Laura just won’t let go. She bullies the caller into agreeing. People are so awed and intimidated by her, that they admit to feelings and issues that they never brought to the party. When I hear those calls, I have doubts that she helped the person at all.

    But callers should know what they’re getting into. If you’re living with your boyfriend, and you have two kids together, and have no intention of getting married, you can pretty much predict how that call is gonna go, no matter what your question is.

    That said, I think she’s really smart, and most of the time gives good advice. There’s nothing wrong with expecting people to live up to high standards.

    I do have a pet peeve, though, about women calling up and saying, “I am my kids’ Mom,” to get on Dr. Laura’s good side before they launch into the problem. But sometimes I think it works.

    On the topic of cleaning up for the cleaning lady: if you have lots of clutter, and you know where everything is supposed to go, I think it helps to put it away before she comes so that she doesn’t (1) spend time putting your stuff away when she could be doing the crappy work you don’t want to do, and (2) put everything away in the wrong place. So I vote for straightening up a little before she comes. On the other hand, if there’s so much dirt that you’re embarrassed to let even the cleaning lady see how you’ve been living in between her visits, then that’s another thing entirely. You just have to accept that the cleaning lady sees all and knows all.

  • Marguerite

    Dr Laura’s on-air style isn’t to have a warm and cozy personal chat. I figure that she has a couple of minutes to grab by the ear and reach thousands of people who are about to make the same poor (drop dead dumb) choices that the caller has just outlined and to educate them – as well as the caller – to wise up and just go and do the right thing!

  • Mike Austin

    There is no way on this earth that men and women will agree on the proper way to handle the cleaning lady—or handling cleaning the home. Cleaning before she arrives is just…well, I am a man. Would I wash my truck before taking it to the car wash?

    I love Dr. Laura. Yes, she is abrasive at times, but some people need a good scrubbing to remove layer after layer of self-deceit.

  • Earl

    Right, Mike – on both counts.

    Getting clutter out of the way before the cleaning ladies come is like taking the stuff you actually WANT out of the truck before heading for the carwash – a smart move, as it clears the deck before the real action.

    I also love Dr. Laura – and I think that a lot of what is heard as “not paying attention to the problem the caller came with” is her cutting through the c–p and touching the REAL problem the caller just plain doesn’t want to deal with. My point above is that I’ve heard calls where it seemed to me that she made a mistake with a particular caller – but isn’t that inevitable for anyone?

  • Ymarsakar

    I don’t listen to Laura, not because of any personal dislikes, but just because I don’t listen to radio.

    I don’t even watch the tv unless the History Channel has something up or Fox News has an erudite guest on (like VDH).

    Cleaning before she arrives is just…well, I am a man. Would I wash my truck before taking it to the car wash?

    It’s an image I think. Women have their standards after all. If Bookworm moved some of her husband’s stuff around, and her husband could no longer find it, then well, maybe Mr. Bookworm sees no need for his wife to move the stuff for the cleaning lady as well ; ) He may think it is just a big hassle. Bookworm might just be concerned with image, the idea that just because someone has money to pay for cleaning services, doesn’t mean that everything should be all left out hanging to use a phrase often descriptive of the Baby Boomer generation. Sometimes figuratively… sometimes literally.

    But in this case, it might infringe upon Bookworm’s sense of decorum and orderliness, to have someone have to rearrange things in a manner not to her likes as well as having a person see the house in a less than pristine condition.

    Right, Mike – on both counts.

    Getting clutter out of the way before the cleaning ladies come is like taking the stuff you actually WANT out of the truck before heading for the carwash – a smart move, as it clears the deck before the real action.

    I don’t think that was Mike’s first point, Earl. That doesn’t like like an agreeable position from my perspective when one says it is a smart move and the other says it is an unnecessary move.

  • Earl

    Mike said that men and women would never agree on cleaning methods – I agree with him that they probably never will.

    Nevertheless, I think that despite the lack of agreement, many men do things that approximate putting away the clutter before the cleaning ladies arrive — and clearing out textbooks, tools, briefcases, sweatshirts, ballcaps, etc. from the truck BEFORE going down to the carwash is one of those things.

    I’m sure that some men don’t do that – they then waste a lot of time and effort at the carwash (is the vacuum running at $1.00/10 minutes?) getting things straightened out down there. And some women pay their cleaning ladies to put the clutter away in the wrong places and then curse as they try to discover where the stuff all went!

    Human beings – endlessly fascinating.