domesticity,  illos

the amazing

I won a contest the other day. A contest on Blogher put on by the wonderful people at Nutrabella who invented the Belly Bar—which are pretty tasty I might add. Tastier than Luna Bars. All I did was type in a little blurb about why I’m a “super mom” (ha ha) and they picked my entry and gave me $100 free cleaning service! Hot Dog! I’ve never had cleaning service before.

I had no idea what to expect. I was meaning to blog about it so I could ask you guys what it would be like because I had all kinds of questions. Like, is it kosher to ask them to clean your microwave and under the sink where your trash can goes… with all the fly-away coffee grounds and that encrusted junk that leaked from a bottle of something toxic about a million years ago? Or do they charge extra for that? Are they going to look at me like I’m some kind of scummy pig? Am I supposed to make a list of things I want cleaned or do they have a standard routine like the cleaning ladies at hotels? But I never got around to blogging about it so I had to go it alone this morning.

Boy, was I in for a surprise. Wowie Zowie. I got the royal treatment. Six cleaning ladies showed up at my door. SIX of them!!! They took my house by storm. All of a sudden my large living room felt very small as they hauled in their trays of mysterious cleaning sprays and rags and three vacuum cleaners. Only one spoke English and she directed the rest of them like an army general. When I asked her if she could clean my microwave and my scary trash can cupboard she shrugged as if it was nothing. Of course she could! Silly woman, we are here to clean.

Just like that two girls started scrubbing my stove, all my cupboards and the sink and the floor. Two others attacked my vertical blinds and dusted every horizontal surface in my living room. The other two headed straight for my bathroom and all I heard from them for the next two hours was my water turning on and off and long paragraphs of staccato sentences in Spanish. I’m sure they were discussing how dirty Americans are.

Toby was sleeping when the cleaning crew arrived but he quickly woke up from all the commotion. Good thing I had warned him they were coming the night before but I didn’t say anything about an army of six showing up. I was expecting two, maybe four. It’s quite another thing when your whole house gets taken over. Thankfully, Toby was quickly wowed by their whirlwind efficiency and he scooted out to our front porch to have a cup of coffee with Baby Bug and I. (No coffee for Baby Bug of course, she had Cheerios.) We all just sat there kind of dazed. Our house is usually pretty quiet and sleepy on a Saturday morning. Nothing like this ever happens.

After about two hours of shooting the breeze on the patio, I was instructed to come inside and inspect their work. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never ever EVER seen my house SO clean before. I bet even when it was first built, way back in the fifties, it wasn’t this clean. I’ve probably told you that Sugar Ray used to live here before us (when they were just a bunch of punks smokin’ weed) and they royally trashed the place before we moved in. I thought the dinginess was permanent. Sure, I’ve scrubbed it up a lot but not anything like what it went through today. I think the whole place is a different color. Scary. I’m starting to really have an inferiority complex as a housewife. My sink alone is a work of art in white porcelain. The shower! The tile is smooth and squeaky! There is no residue at all! The tub that has no finish left on it and is usually smudged with permanent black stains, is white. White as bleach. And it smells like it too. We had to leave the windows open for a few hours because they used some pretty strong stuff in there.

Whatever it is they did, I could get used to this. The Director/Captain cleaning woman told me that next time they come they will get things much cleaner. It was almost as if she was apologizing that things weren’t clean enough. She has no idea how blown away I am. I had really given up hope on my bathroom. Too bad I didn’t have this done before the Pinkkkkkity First Birthday party.

Even so, it’s really nice. I can now say that the entire house, except for Toby’s office, is completely baby proof. With our fancy new cat box, Baby Bug can now crawl/toddle from room to room without me having to worry about anything. There are no longer any scary corners (ie: behind the toilet) with grunge and scum that I have to chase her away from.

Sigh. It is a beautiful thing.

But it gets better! Toby was soooo impressed that he said I could hire the cleaning brigade to come four times a year. Can you believe it? This from the guy who thinks I’m already spoiled rotten and living the life of luxury because I get to stay home and play with my kid all day long? I might as well go play at Tiffany’s with his charge card and get my nails done every day. I’m this close to becoming one of those Orange County housewives everybody makes fun of. But not really. Not yet.

I can see why people do this weekly. I’m afraid to cook or use my sink because I might mar the beauty. Already, I cooked scrambled eggs and flopped a lumpy piece of half cooked egg onto my perfectly white stove. It was horrible. I almost burned my fingers trying to keep the vile piece of egg from contaminating the cleanliness. What am I going to do? I can’t cook anything with tomato sauce or oil. It will ruin the magic.

I’d take pictures but they wouldn’t do it justice. You’ll just have to use your imagination.


  • Kate

    That’s awesome!!! I have one lady who comes for two hours and charges $60. But she forgets to clean under the bed. And the oven. And I’m too big a baby to say anything. And under my sink? Not since I moved in! You’re a lucky dog SAJ!!!

  • Kuky

    Wow that is super awesome! I would love a cleaning crew. I just mopped every hard floored room in the house yesterday. And there I was standing in the nice freshly dried bathroom admiring how clean the floor looked (for a change). I went to empty out the bucket and missed and poured it all over the clean floor! :( D’oh!

  • margalit

    Twice a month is much better than every 3 months, but it’s a start! I just had a sub cleaning lady today and she was FABULOUS. My normal person…well, lets just say she’s not great but she does come weekly. This sub, I would kill to have her regularly but she doesn’t have a car. Sigh.

    There is nothing better than a spotlessly clean house. Enjoy every second of it, and now that Toby has seen the light, once it gets messy you can start ‘remembering’ how it was right after the cleaners came. That might budge him!

  • Bethany

    I have always wanted to try having someone else come clean my house for me. I’ve always felt kinda like you, though, uncertain of what I could ask to have done for me. And, like, do I have to clean up my stacks of paper and dirty socks strewn all over the bedroom first?

    I’m glad it was such an awesome experience for you! Congrats on winning the contest. :-)

  • Angella

    We had our house cleaned after the fire, and it was amazing. My hubby offered to get them back once we finish renovating, and I think I may have to do it! Sounds wonderful :)

    And congrats on the contest! I was going to enter, but thought that us Canadians couldn’t win for some reason, but Amanda won, so I’ll be sure to enter if they do it again :)

  • Jenifer

    Wow…I’m glad that you’re going to get to have someone in four times a year. I’m about to hire a cleaning person myself since I’m going to be traveling four days a week and my boyfriend is willing to foot the bill. He doesn’t clean.

    Also, the cat box looks awesome. I think that is the solution we’ll be using once we buy our house.

    Enjoy the clean house! :)

  • DeeJay

    Oh, I am so jealous! Happy for you and your sweet little family though! Makes me think that maybe I should hire somebody to come do that to my house when Honey is away. That way he’ll think I did it and be super duper impressed with his industrious wife. Bah!

  • BeachMama

    Wow, how awesome! And for only $100? I could see having someone come four times a year, just enough to do an overhaul for you. Kind of like Spring cleaning but one for ever season. Makes me tempted :).

  • Gramma

    Way back in Pennsylvania, during one of my pregnancies I had a bubbly happy lady come to help me get things under control. She shooshed me outside to sit in the sun while she took over. She changed the sheets, first picking up the mattress, flipped it over her shoulder and plopped it back down, head to foot. My mouth dropped with wonderment. After only four hours my little 24’x36′ house sparkled, even the windows.

  • Kedge

    I’m glad you waited to write about it! My experience has not been so peachy and I would have had you wringing your hands. We were supposed to get help with a home-health-aide from gramma’s insurance (red flag there) and of the nine we went through in a year went from bad to worse. I matters if you get a professional.
    One would leave a film of soap on the parquet floor, another wouldn’t touch anything that was remotely associated with me, one would hold G’s hand and pray with her, one would show up late, leave early and want to be paid to stay and do her homework on the couch when she was ‘done’.

  • OMSH

    I don’t think I could have gone out on the porch. I’d need to grab the bonbons (or maybe the chocolate turtles and sour skittles) and sit on the couch to watch.

    Yep, that’s what I’d do.

  • Jennifer

    Congrats! What a cool prize. I’ve had our place housecleaned twice so far and you explained the excitement of someone else cleaning your home perfectly! haha. It’s so fun. I think 4 visits a year is a great idea.

  • Sarah

    Please please tell who did the cleaning…I live in Redondo Beach which I think is close to where you are and I would love to have this done every once in a while! (I’ve been reading your blog for forever because I love seeing your illustrations, but apparently the idea of not having to clean is a big motivator to comment!)

  • Kristine

    Wow… talk about awesome. Not much can make me jealous, but a thorough house cleaning by someone else is IT. Awesome. I have been dying to have someone come in just to get things clean so I can hopefully keep it. up. Lucky lady!

  • Elisa Camahort

    Wow, sounds awesome, I’m so glad.

    I have someone come every other week (i was doing only 1x per month, but when the S.O. moved in he offered to pay for 2x a month.) It is heavenly, but you’re right, i feel so badly the first sign pof messing it up.

    I also actually tidy up before the cleaning lady gets here (which completely stuns my S.O.) I asked her if I was the only one who did that and basically she said most people do. I do that so I can be sure that a) she’s doing all the crap I don’t want to do and has access to as much surface area as possible for the excellent cleaning, scrubbing, vacuuming and mopping she does (and that I am too lazy and sucky to do well.) i also do that to reduce the chance that she moves something important to somewhere I can’t find it.

    The thing I can’t believe she does that i LOVE is that she changes our sheets. I leave the clean ones there, and she does it. I hate changing sheets, don’t ask me why.

    Anyway…you could probably not gross out a professional cleaning service…they have seen it all! Congrats again.

  • thevelveteentoad

    Okay, keep in mind that this is coming from an OCD girl…just think back to our college roommate days when I had to clean the filthy disgusting mini blinds at 2:30 in the morning, much to your chagrin…anyway…if it is kept relatively clean it will not take much time at all to clean it the next time around. I know I am exceptionally obsessive, but it only takes me about ten minutes to clean and I do it every single day, from dusting to vacuuming to everything in between. True, I do not have a toddler; I have pet snakes. If I lived closer to you I woulc clean and organize your house for you. Of course, you would have to pay me more than just 100 bucks because when I am anally thorough, I am anally thorough. By the way, Brooke and I are compiling our OCD stories (though mine make up about 98 percent) and thinking about writing a book about them. Some are pretty funny…some are not, as you well know. Yeah, that sure was a fun night scrubbing nasty grim off little tiny mini blinds. Woo-hoo!

  • josephine


    Yes, you should totally write a book. I’ll write a glowing review for it!! or a forward or something!

    Have you read my friend Whoorl’s blog? When I need a toad fix, I hang out with her… she kinda reminds me of you… except with more furniture.

  • thevelveteentoad

    Furniture??? Who needs furniture? I am a minimalist. Sort of. I DO actually have some furniture. But I do not need much. The less you have, the less there is to clean. But I digress…no I have not read The Blog of Whoorl, but I shall check it out in the near future. Email me anytime if you need a ‘toad fix’. Maybe I will send you some of the stuff Brooke and I are working on…some of it is really funny…and you appear in one or two or three of our Remember When Stories.