Friday, April 24, 2009

Full steam ahead

How to make this long story short...
Well, starting at the sort-of beginning, I'll just give the background and say that we moved into this house the night before Christmas Eve, and it was four months after my mom had died unexpectedly. Cooper was, therefore, seven months old, and I was a virtual zombie. Depressed, totally overwhelmed, and having trouble getting out of bed let alone keeping up with cleaning the house. Alright, so you get the picture.
This went on for several more months, and then we got a pretty little flier in the mail that was nicely typed and laid out, bordered with colorful leaves, and advertising the help of a lady I'll call Julie, who offered cleaning and organizing solutions for people like me.
"Everybody Needs a Julie," it said.
Troy suggested that we give her a call, and I agreed. Reading the flier also revealed that Julie was religious and had done a little missionary work. Being a non-religious type, when I met her for the first time, I asked if "that" would be a problem for her. The fact that we had very different beliefs. I told her I was overwhelmed and that I just couldn't get my shit together since my mom died, and Julie looked at me blankly, like she didn't understand, and this was, of course, because she believed that my mom was in heaven & okay -- though her death had been the work of The Devil, because nobody should die at that age (63).
I won't get into the ensuing conversation, because that's a lot, but we ended up agreeing to give each other a try, and I actually liked the fact that Julie was so black and white about things. At least she and I knew where we were both coming from.
That was two years ago, and over time, I guess if you're reading this you have a general idea of what I've been doing. Julie and her partner (and I use that word ambiguously but again, that's another story for another time), Jennifer, helped me keep the house clean, they helped me go through my mom's house when it sold, and they helped me keep my head above water.
In the beginning, I was too numb to care when Julie talked to me about her beliefs and how I could maybe benefit from her knowledge of the Bible. I asked her sincere questions and thought about her answers. And then I started making sure I was out of the house when she and Jennifer came to clean, because they were getting on my nerves.
They objected to some of the stuff I had around the house, like this picture of a bunch of witches having tea. But they would never come right out and say that they objected to certain things, rather, they would hint around about how I might be letting in The Devil, and insinuate that the bastard might make things a little rough for me if I didn't shape up.

As much as I grew to dislike Julie and Jennifer, I still was reluctant to fire them because I really wanted someone to clean my floors. I know that's so lazy and shallow, but it's true. I'm not proud.
But like a bad relationship that is spiraling downward, the crack grew larger until the day when Julie called and told me she and Jennifer were dumping us in order to focus more on their ministering.
I knew she was lying.
It was really because I had gotten better and was not so seemingly pliable and agreeable. I wasn't giving her as much stuff, and I had cut her hours. It had been just a matter of time, really, and that was fine. I was actually relieved. I wished her well in her future endeavors ministering to the poor people of the International Shopping Plaza in Tampa, where she liked to ambush people and tell them they didn't need their Vicodin. When I hung up the phone and announced to Troy and the boys that we'd been dumped, they cheered, because they'd all grown to dislike Julie and Jennifer, too, for trying to pray over them if they had fevers and interrupting their xbox time with the vacuum.
My mixed emotions were all a-jumble because, as glad as I was that we had broken up, I was also a bit sad that it was time to move on, and go it alone. As annoying and manipulative as Julie could be, she had helped me through a very dark and hard time, and I really couldn't have done it without her --especially boxing up my mom's things.
When I let everything sink in, it wasn't long before I started to mentally freak about about how I was going to clean the house by myself, and I was also just slightly annoyed that Julie had broken up with me before I'd gotten to her first.

So that was three weeks ago, and we're doin' alright.
Yesterday I got a steam mop and this morning I used it for the first time with great success. Fueled by Cafe Bustelo, the little Cuban coffee that could launch a shuttle to the moon, I cranked up the soundtrack to "Mamma Mia!" and some Dandy Warhols, and I steamed. And it was good.


Anna said...

Ah Lisa, I just want to give you a big, big hug, you paint such a picture.

Anonymous said...

what with the music and the steam, nobody does it better than you anyway!Sometimes cleaning your own house is like heaving a big sigh of relief.

julie said...

That Julie is sort of an anti-Julie it seems!

Love that pic of the witches :)

megan said...

Get a nice firm to clean - they prefer you out of the house, and don't have time to chit-chat. My personal preference is for large Eastern European cleaners who don't mind shifting furniture.

Karen said...

Fascinating tale, Lisa. I could never have handled a Julie or Jennifer. Give me the shivers just thinking about it. Did you know there's a big feature about Cafe Bustelo in The New York Times today? Apparently it's the preferred coffee of hipsters everywhere. Naturally, if you're drinking it.

Anonymous said...

I"m with Megan - hire professionals. It's good of you to acknowledge that they really helped you when you needed it. I think it's a luxury you should give yourself to have a cleaner - and allow yourself time to do as you please.
AND - I flippin' LOVE that witch picture!

Rachel said...

Well I think it's "quite" a blessing they're otta there!

They did their time...

Just think what you'll save in diamonds ;-)

Lisa said...

Don't get me started.
Karen, I just read that article. Everything old is new again, but it never feels authentic when it hits "the scene" -- like Coachella. I'll have to try one of those cold Bustelos, though, b/c I bet it's a lot better than a Starbucks Frap, which are too milky.