In exchange for Charlie's on-again-off-again afternoon nap battle of misery, Wesley takes epic naps on the days Charlie is in school. This leaves me with a large block of time Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning when I am not caring for a child, but cannot leave my house. It was during one such block of time on Friday, that I decided to test something out that had been bothering me.
You see, in my mom group at church, these two ladies had a lengthy discussion about housekeepers. What do you pay them? How many (!!) come to your house and how often? How long to they clean?
I have nothing against hiring a housekeeper. I think it would be AWESOME. However, it's not something I want to pay for at this point in time. Because I think (thought) my problem is mostly clutter, which is not something the housekeeper is there to handle.
One of the ladies, who intimated that her house is nearly twice the size of mine, said that it takes one housekeeper FIVE HOURS to clean her house, every two weeks. FIVE HOURS! No wonder my socks turn black when I spend a day working in my kitchen! I've never spent more than an hour at a stretch maintaining my house. And in spite of the evidence to the contrary (funky smells of mystery from the kitchen/bathroom/playroom, a shower door you could etch your name into), I've always felt that it's fine. If people come over unexpectedly, I can always invite them in and feel confident that no one is going to contract staff from my kitchen counters. Thankfully, most non-family guests have the good sense to not go poking around upstairs where the double black diamond Laundry Pile of Doom is.
So Friday while Wes was sleeping I thought I would clean everything I could possibly think of and see how long it took. And, I thought smugly, there is NO WAY it takes five hours to clean a house.
I started in the kitchen/bathroom/laundry room area, which takes the most abuse and shares the same gross brown linoleum floor. I emptied the trash cans, shook the rugs out in the back yard, swept everything carefully (since I was trying to do this in a professional manner, I actually moved all the chairs into the other room to facilitate thorough sweeping, but I usually skip that step, which is why we only have to feed our dog once a day), wiped down all the really gross sticky spots (behind the dog bowls, high chair, and trash can) with a wet rag, and then mopped the heck out of that sucker. I also dried it with a bath towel because Rossby and I were leaving dirty footprints all over the place and I didn't want to wait for it to dry.
I stood back and admired my work and noticed that nearly an hour had passed. Hmm. Next was the toilet and bathroom sink and mirror, which took about fifteen minutes (most of which was spent on the toilet thanks for nothing potty training). And then the kitchen, which required unloading and loading the dishwasher and clearing out the drainer before I could get started with the actual cleaning (see "clutter" above). The drainer side of the sink was completely stopped up with who knows what in the drain. I think it was food at one point. I lost five minutes trying to scrape it out with a spoon and another two minutes doing deep breathing exercises in another room in an attempt to compose myself. Once I wiped down the counters and the appliances, I think the kitchen alone took almost an hour and a half. And Wes was still sleeping.
So I started washing the windows. I've always found window washing to be a particularly satisfying chore because our windows get really, really disgusting what with the six sticky little hands/paws and three wet noses that leave slimy marks all over them. Plus I like the way Windex smells. When the windows were done I picked up all the toys and vacuumed. And--got out the hose attachment and did the baseboards--professionalism, remember?
Two hours in I was only done with the first floor and I was exhausted.
Wes was still sleeping so I had to keep moving along with the experiment. Upstairs I went to put away the laundry. There was clean laundry folded neatly (or at least it started that way before Charlie performed his one-act play "Naked Tornado" before bathtime one night) in baskets in the hall and our bedroom and at least three other random piles that I had to smell to figure out where they belonged. Would you judge me if I told you that putting away the laundry took almost forty-five minutes? By the time I did that and made Charlie's and my beds Wesley was awake. THANK GOODNESS.
All told I spent almost three hours non-stop cleaning and STILL wasn't finished! I estimate another hour of work remains including vacuuming upstairs and cleaning the upstairs bathrooms, neither of which can be done while a child is sleeping, which is why those jobs get done approximately once a fiscal quarter.
In conclusion, when all my little birdies fly the nest, Ryan and I will be moving to an efficiency with a shared bath in the hall.