father with child cleaning bathroom

I’m mostly back to my regular schedule and my clients couldn’t be happier. While I, on the other hand, continue to question my life choices (being an Astronaut is looking pretty good right now). I don’t think one of my clients actually cleaned a thing during our hiatus, and it seems that if I was out any longer, they would have resorted to eating straight off the counter for lack of dishes. Cleaning lady dependence is a real thing (I guess I’m like a bad habit). They should have a support group for it called Maid-aholic’s Anonymous. Maybe pass out pamphlets on how to use the vacuum and what that spray bottle of blue liquid does. Hint: It’s not food coloring.

That being said, they all seem more than eager to pitch in and lend a helping hand now. They have been so broken down by the fundamental laws of dirt and the biological processes of mold that they are willing to clean with me in solidarity and appreciation. Unfortunately this is the last thing I need. You hired The Cleaning Lady for a reason. Now move, get out the way!

The first day back at the Artist’s house was this way. She was so grateful to see me, she jumped up and down praising my name like I just rescued her kitten from a tree. If not for social distancing she would have bear-hugged me. One look at the house though, and I understood why.

Every countertop and table was covered with dirty dishes and you couldn’t see the floor through all the clothes and towels on it. The Artist herself looked disheveled, with food stains on her shirt and a rat’s nest for hair. Although she is not alone in this season’s hottest new look. Clothes by “Stay at Home” and “OMG, the salon’s aren’t open yet!” hair.

"When your hair salon is closed for business but your dog groomer has a cancellation" with picture of man with poodle cut hair
I can’t believe you got an opening!

“I know it looks bad, but I’m going to help,” she said.

“Oh, you don’t have too.” Please god no.

“No, I insist.”


I told her a big help would be to put all the dishes in the dishwasher and start it. “You got it!” she exclaimed and ran into the kitchen. I went to work in the bathroom. I overheard her say, “How do you open this thing.” Oh boy.

In the bathroom, the floor was covered in towels and little square pieces of fabric. Obviously she couldn’t find any toilet paper (link to some here) and was cutting up old t-shirts. Poor thing, I thought. What is wrong with our society that people are hoarding for hoarding’s sake? Is there some sense of security that you have enough paper products in your house to last three lifetimes. Do you think it will become the new currency? “That will be 4 rolls please.” Will you hand them down to your children and grandchildren? Do you realize your spare bedroom represents one-third of the rainforest?

I’ll give her the extra roll of paper towels I wrestled off of one such hoarder who had 20 in her basket at the grocery store. “I need these for work!” I proclaimed as we wrestled on the ground. “I need these to feel safe!” she retorted. “I only have ten left!”

Back in the kitchen I heard the clanging of plates and glasses. So far so good, I thought. About a half an hour later as I was finishing up the bathroom I heard “Cleaning Lady!” in a nervous, high pitched voice. I ran into the kitchen and couldn’t believe what I saw. The artist was standing in a foot of suds pouring from the dish washer and slowly oozing into the living room. She was staring at me blankly, like a deer in headlights, frozen in a slow motion disaster. I started into the kitchen but immediately almost slipped. I’m going to have to walk her through it!

"Put 1 gallon of bleach and I gallon of dish soap in the washing machine in the washing machine, I disinfected the house in 10 minutes" with picture of house engulfed in soap suds

“Ok hun, I need you to push the OFF button on the dishwasher.”

“I don’t know which one it is.” she said in a nasally whine with tears streaming down her face.

“It’s the one all the way to right.”

“This one?” she asked, fumbling at buttons with her eyes closed like it was a bomb.

“No, over more. Hun, you have to open your eyes. It’s not going to explode.” No more than it already has.

She finally hit the right button and the sud-valanche slowly came to a halt. I told her to walk slowly toward me and grabbed her hand when she was close enough. This time she did bear-hug me. I sat her down on the couch and let her cry tears of cleaning defeat. “Why did that happen?” she whimpered. I explained to her that dish detergent and dish-washer detergent are two different things. And when you use the wrong one, things go boom.

I tried to console her as I mopped up the suds. At least the floor is already clean. A win for me, I suppose. Yay me!