My cleaning guy

When I worked, the hours were long and my energy was short. Perhaps it was that I just hate cleaning but I used the former to justify a cleaning person and it worked for me. Asking around, someone recommended a guy who was independent. He did some doctor’s offices but he cleaned mostly residential homes. That is how I found Dennis.

As it turns out, I went to school with Dennis. He was three or four years ahead of me, but he was flamboyant so I knew who he was. He has a way of talking and walking (beloved husband called it prancing) that made you wonder about his ummm…..orientation. Not that it mattered. I worked in the design field for ten years and grew to be especially fond of gay men. If you want to know how you look, ask a gay man. They don’t care about getting into your underwear so you will get the truth.

Dennis was chatty and theatrical. He was fun. If he came when either one of us was home, he would talk our ear off for an easy 45 minutes with his arms wildly gesturing. That time was deducted from the cleaning time so something went undone. We are quick learners and made sure no one was around when he came.

That worked fine until the beloved husband retired. Now he had to plan “field trips” for Dennis days. He always said that when budgeting the cleaning cost, we need to include all the gas it took for him to drive around while Dennis was here.

I rarely saw Dennis but when I did it was always interesting. He always had ailments or was on the verge of death or there were some dire issues going on. Here is a sample:

  • One day he casually told me that he had cancer surgery the day before. Stunned, I asked why he was working.  He said he needed the money. He didn’t look sore or tired. Nor did he move any differently than usual. We concluded that he must have had a mole removed. He never talked about cancer again.
  • For about six months, he wore a patch over one eye. He told us he had a serious muscular disease that was causing double vision so he patched his right eye. I started to notice that the right side of things weren’t as clean as the left – faucets, mirrors, sinks, etc.
  • He had several children. There were always issues and stories.  One of them was always living with him because they were down on their luck or running from the law (or a former ex). I had a sense that he was still supporting some of them even though they were in their 40s.
  • He had a delightful wife who helped him for a short time. She was an excellent cleaner. I was really sad when she could no longer help him. I believe she had both hips and maybe even both knees replaced.
  • He would talk about some of his other clients (this always makes me queasy). He cleaned for several doctors and had some interesting stories. I was hoping that we were not interesting although I heard he complained that we kept the house too hot.
  • He knew all the gossip about former classmates (another queasy topic – some things from high school are best forgotten). Whenever a classmate died, I knew I could get all the details from him.

 When I stopped working, we terminated his services. It was the end of a very strange but interesting era.

13 thoughts on “My cleaning guy

  1. Unfortunately, the abilities to organize a house and keep it that way were not among the talents God gave me. I would probably put things in their place if I knew where that place was, (or if I could find them again after I put them in their place).If I hired a cleaner, I would have him start in two weeks, then I would spend those weeks frantically trying to make the house look good before he got there.


  2. shortly after the birth of my daughter my husband shipped out on a 9 month deployment. I needed help. I started asking around and quickly found out there was only one house cleaner available. I secretly coveted my neighbor’s maid and wanted her to share. No dice. I called the only one left. She came by gave me an estimate and a list, A LIST, of things I had to do before she would agree to come to work for me. One of the things on the list was clean the kitchen! What the heck? I quickly locked the door behind her.


  3. Throughout my working days I’ve had several cleaners. In 2008 I hired a lady and her daughter and I too “cleaned” before they came. She constantly complained about how hot my house was, how she didn’t charge me enough because of all the mirrors in my home (we don’t have a lot of mirrors and she visited my house and walked through it before giving me a price) and then she complained about how much there was to do. Finally I said to her one day, “If my house was clean, I wouldn’t need you to come clean it.” A week later I fired her. I might have kept Dennis for the entertainment value! I love his list of “issues”.


  4. When I worked outside the house we had cleaning people come in. I cleaned before they got there so they wouldn’t know we are slobs. I can’t image knowing the person who cleans for you or any of the other people they know. Brings to mind the time my gynocologist came to my works place. I hid in the back and made another co-worker help him. Some things should never be public.


    • The night before he came I would scramble to “straighten” everything up. After he left, I cleaned the right sides of things. My issue with doctors is that most of them are a lot younger than me. I guess that’s a good thing. Steady hands.


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