One week.

Have you ever noticed how when you lose someone that time slows down?

You know that your heart will recover with the passing of the hours and days, but the hand on the clock seems mired and each minute is an eternity where you have nothing but the missing, and the longing.

You try to distract yourself. Keep busy. Hoping that an occupied mind  will keep you from feeling the empty place where there was once someone special. Someone with whom you hoped for a long-lasting, mutually rewarding relationship.

Someone like my housecleaner.

Martha.*

It’s been a week, and the ache for her is a palpable thing.

My life is a wreck without her in it. I can’t find the motivation to do anything, and the signs of my malaise are evident.

Crumbs on the counter.

Grime in the kitchen sink.

I’ll go a few precious moments without the memories of her presence in my life ripping at the center of my being, but then I’ll notice the gleam still catching light on the appliances…and I’m right back in hell again.

I swore to myself that I wouldn’t let this get to me. That I would be strong. Capable. And I think that I’m doing a fair job of keeping my grief hidden. I’ve made it to work every day this week. Did the shopping. Pretty much kept to my regular routine. Sometimes it helps to have people counting on you to help keep yourself together.

I have to think of the children.

I know there are those of you out there thinking to yourself, “Lori, it was just one time. You can’t have fallen this hard for someone after just one day.”

But you’re wrong.

You don’t understand.

Sometimes…sometimes you just know.

I think a few of you have been where I am.

You know that sometimes these things simply have a life of their own. There’s chemistry. Specifically, calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate and anionic surfactants.

And I even know what a surfactant is. Do you doubt now that this was meant to be?

It’s just the wrong time. We can’t make it work right now. It doesn’t matter how much I want her to be here or how much she wants to be paid employed.

I can’t work miracles.

If only wanting something made it so.

I can tell it’s going to be a waterproof mascara sort of day.

* Honest to Pete, her name is Martha. Not making that up.


59 comments

  1. As soon as I get a raise, I’m hiring someone to clean my house. For real. Not every week, but every other week.

    I just can’t do it all. Work, kids, extra curricular activities, hubby working FT and in grad school…it’s just all too much.

    And when I have time to sit, dammit, I want to sit. Not clean. So I totally get the grief you’re feeling!

    1. Just once.

      A one-day stand, if you will.

      We were just exhausted because life’s been so busy, so…we broke down and hired someone to clean.

      Maybe we’ll have her back for the holidays.

      Fingers crossed.

  2. My sister and brother-in-law are moving into our basement until they figure out what they’re going to do with their lives.

    I’m seriously considering hiring a maid to keep the peace. I just don’t know how often I can afford for her to come.

    Daily seems excessive.

    And I don’t have anywhere left for her to live.

    1. Daily.

      Yes. Definitely daily.

      Empty out a closet.

      Maybe the bathtub.

      Tough economic times. I’m sure some former investor analyst would be happy for the opportunity.

  3. i went through this mourning process when I lost my housekeeper/nanny (live-in) a few years ago. My then husband had decided he didn’t want to work anymore and had been home for over a year and my income just wasn’t enough to pay my housekeeper/nanny/life saver. I know Ya’ll are thinking i shouldn’t have needed her since my husband was home all day but I did – someone needed to clean, do dishes, laundry, get the kids to school and back home, homework, whatever ’cause he wasn’t doing any of that “woman” work… Yep it was a very very very sad day. I saw her the other day and I still miss her, I still need her, I still can’t afford her on one income so I still mourn…
    Hope things turn around soon!

    1. I can’t imagine that…just seeing her on the street like that.

      Living her life.

      Clearly not struggling like you are.

      I’m so sorry.

      Do you need a hug?

      1. i tried therapy but sadly the work sponsored program doesn’t consider “mourning the loss of domestic help” as an emotional emergency… so I considered paying for it on my own but if i could afford the therapy I would have domestic help :)

        i thought it was difficult back then, I had NO FREAKING idea what “real” life was… OMG, getting four kids up, dressed, fed, to school on time, myself to work, home again, homework done, laundry, dishes, shopping, afterschool activities – all by my very lonesome self…somedays I just cry myself to sleep wishing I could hear her dusting as I lay in bed, longing for the mornings of getting up, getting dressed, walking into a dining room where my children are dressed, hair neatly combed, backpacks ready and calmly sweetly eating their breakfast as I kiss them on their little heads…
        Oh, now I have to eat some chocolate or drink some alchohol or something…

      2. I hate the limits that insurance companies put on essential treatments.

        How would THEY know! They’re all run by men!

        And I feel your pain. Deep in my soul.

        Sending you virtual flowers.

  4. I’ve been there and I’m still in mourning! I’m also mourning my lovely, lovely service that picked up my hubby’s shirts and delivered them the next day, gloriously washed and pressed. It was magical.

  5. My condolences for your terrible loss.

    Us? We never hire a housecleaner, that way, we never know how clean our house really can be. As long as I can keep bugs and larva from growing in the house, I think I’m doing ok. Right? Right?

    1. Yes. +8 Points on the keeping the larva out of the house you are probably staying on the positive side of the scale.

      Note that I said PROBABLY.

      I mean, you could be bug free but have laundry walking around the house on its own.

      And that is JUST NOT OK.

      But I love you anyway.

  6. Oh Lori I’m so sorry! I just agreed to a housecleaner last week (she’ll come every other week) and I am counting down the days til the next magical day!
    Is there nothing to be done? What if you quit cable or eating out?

  7. There, there now. Life goes on. House cleaners are like the ripple in the water after you drop a stone into the smooth pond. You see and feel it for a while, but soon the pond is smooth again and the ripple is gone.

    Or something like that. LOL

    1. You, dear one, are not so good at the philosophical big picture thing.

      You should have thrown in footprints in the sand, or sand in the hourglass, or the days of our lives, or something.

      But A for effort!

  8. Oh. I’m not ready for this kind of relationship yet. I would have to clean for a week before I felt comfortable having a housekeeper come in & clean my house… O.O

    I can imagine the pain you must be going thru. Be strong. You can make it thru!

    …or you could kidnap her & keep her chained in your basement when she’s not housekeeping for you….

      1. Hmm. That might work. But would probably require soundproofing. You don’t want the neighbors finding out you have her stashed in there.

        They might try to take her for their own housecleaning purposes. We don’t want that.

  9. Dear Ms. Lori
    Try not to be jealous, but Father Rooster is an excellent house-husband, and Mother Hen’s Martha comes every other week.
    Sorry! Can Mother still be your friend? Pretty please?
    Mother Hen

    1. Because I am a fundamentally tolerant and loving person…yes, of course you can still be my number 1 chicken.

      And Himself is actually an excellent house-husband to, and probably cleans better than I do (don’t tell him that), but I’m faster and better at the “tidying” job.

      We think we’re going to book our Martha right before Thanksgiving, since the dinner will be in our coop this year.

      1. Oh, you have a coop too? All the best chicks do, so Mother H shouldn’t be surprised.
        She is willing to bet that Martha has a coop somewhere. Nothing but fresh eggs for Ms. Stewart!

  10. Catching up on some reading here so I’m doing one efficient comment that applies to your last several posts. 1.Walking a fine line because of Karma: I don’t even get close to the line. I was always the one who got caught when everyone else got away with it. 2. At least your husband’s band got the world’s largest accordian added to their available instruments. 3.I’ve never had a Martha, even for one day, so I have no idea what you’re going through. Maybe she can be a cheap date a couple of times a year before special occasions at your house.

    1. I am all for streamlining, so no worries!

      The accordion has since been replaced, and the garage door is again a door and not a wall in need of botox.

      And we’re booking the babe for week of Thanksgiving.

      Cause, I don’t need work, business, fundraiser, cooking AND cleaning.

      Nope. Just don’t.

  11. See, it’s just so tempting for me. And then, and then. .. would I be embarrassed if someone else came in and saw what my family is capable of doing to a home?? Hmm.

  12. Oh Lori, your pain seeps through my laptop screen like anionic surfactants squirted on a dirty countertop.

    I wish you peace, comfort, and clean floors during this difficult time.

    We are all here for you. But while I am here for you, I have to say that I don’t do windows. Just come take a look at mine someday.

  13. Hysterical. I can relate except the part where I actually had someone come clean. I’m too afraid I would be immediately addicted, and once would be like getting a taste of frosting then having the cake taken away.

  14. A housecleaner is the most glorious of luxuries. We were finally able to get one because my husband is a fairly finicky person and apparently my cleaning abilities are substandard – but god! The woman is a miracle worker! Who knew faucets were able to gleam like that? And the floor? So THAT’S its true color.

    Bring her back for the special times, Lori, like Thanksgiving or Christmas or when you host big events. I mean, you two do have a special bond and all.

    1. We are totally booking her for the week of Thanksgiving.

      Cause, there’s really only so much crazy my family can handle.

      And I don’t want to spend the holidays with the men in the pretty white coats.

  15. I may be run out of town with pitchforks and torches, but I prefer to clean my own house.

    I said it.

    It makes me love my house and take care of it.

    I do it the best.

    So, there you have it.

    I’m 50 years old, and I don’t censor a thing anymore.

    Cuz I’m 50 years old.

    But, I can still be sympathetic and all and read through your post to hear your pain. Sorry for your loss. I wish you peace, and it’s hard not to say, “A taste of honey is worse than none at all” so I won’t say it…

    1. I often don’t mind, but lately there has been no time, and I go a little crazy when the grime starts threatening you with your own sponge.

      And don’t you dare censor, woman!

  16. Oh how I feel you. I miss my housecleaner and my nanny. I miss my dry cleaner and my pool boy. Oh wait I never had the pool boy. But if I had had him I’m sure I’d miss him.

    How are we supposed to go on?

  17. Okay, I KNOW I commented on this one. #$@$%#

    Anyway, I’ll try to recreate:

    The only downside to having someone else clean your house is the necessity of having to clean it before they come to clean it so they don’t witness how much of a slob you actually are and how much you don’t clean.

    You with me?

    Other than that? I would be heartbroken if I had to give mine up. I love that woman from the depths of my soul.

    1. Yes, in just one date I moved WAY beyond girlish crush.

      BUT SHE’S COMING BACK FOR THANKSGIVING!

      I am SO happy! Dinner’s at our house this year.

      I may buy an extra turkey just for her.

  18. We used to have a housecleaner. She was AMAZING. She loved cleaning- she would spend hours and hours making sure everything was spotless and I don’t know what she used exactly but it smelled HEAVENLY. Then one day we came home and found her passed out naked in our bathroom. Methadone on the floor. Vodka and orange juice on the kitchen counter. We called an ambulance, she came to, and was very embarrassed. Left with the EMTs and we heard from her again even though I left a message to see how she was doing.

    Point is, we’ve tried many other housecleaners. Even tried cleaning the damn place ourselves. But it will never know the cleanliness that it knew when it was cleaned by our longlost heroin addict.

    1. I kinda think after how my house looked that I’d be ready to forgive this woman for just about anything.

      Might be a little awkward though if the kids came home and found naked unconscious housekeeper.

      Naked, unconscious GARDENER, though…everyone expects that so that’s one worry off my plate.

      But…was she cleaning naked? Did she do that all the time? Is that part of the magic they have? Is my problem that I’m not cleaning naked?

      I SO don’t understand some of these things…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s