Re: A Perspective on Professional Cleaners
From: Catherine Harper (
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 15:41:03 -0700 (MST)
On Thu, 6 Jan 2000, Sharon Villines wrote:

> I sense that many of us are talking about different animals here. I
> though I would share some true examples of house-cleaners I hired in
> New York City:

We just hired a house cleaner for the first time.  This was a long and
painful decision for us -- Craig wasn't really keeping up on his share of
housecleaning, partly becuase of his disposition (the part I most objected
to) but partly because he wasn't all that efficient at the work he was
doing even when he tried really hard, and partly because of his schedule.
And of course, my schedule's pretty tight as well, things just weren't
getting done, I was still doing most of the work, and feeling pretty

The deal wasn't that he paid for a cleaner and got to do less work (this
comes out of his discretionary funds) -- it was more that he paid for a
cleaner and got to enjoy improved quality of life -- meaning mostly that I
wasn't mad at him most of the time, with the added benefit that I got to
spend more time on my favorite hobby, which is cooking and is certainly
his favorite of my hobbies (and we both spend less money going out to eat,
so we might even be breaking even). I don't do less work either -- the
house stays cleaner, and rather than striving mightily just to break even,
I've finally been able to get to some of the long term projects that just
hadn't been getting done.  (Though I still haven't gotten the wicked
complicated water filter installed.) 

Now that we've found some people that we like, we're both regularly
kicking ourselves for not doing this earlier.  Damn but life is a lot
nicer now.  Yeah, on the scale of things, you don't always have people
with money but not time, or with time but no money -- I've certainly spent
time with neither time or money, and I've heard there are people in the
world with both.  

As for our cleaners...

Actually, I only know one of them well, the only one who speaks english. 
She's from Brazil, runs her own business, and employs a couple of her
close friends.  They charge by the job and work quickly -- counting in a
guestimated commute time, they're making something like $18/hr from us
apiece.  The few times I've been home when she's been around, we've traded
recipes (we share a fondness for oxtail soup) and discussed religion.  One
of these days I'll probably be teaching her to make the kind of natural
fermentation hearth bread I'm so fond of.


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