Friday, February 13, 2009

The Help

"Wait," I interrupted my colleague's story while we sat with a former candidate for an industry position. "You have live-in help?"

"I have three kids!" he replied. "I need live-in help. My wife would kill me otherwise."

"But isn't she also home?" I asked, confused. He nodded and I blinked but didn't comment. I do sort of understand though. With the constant demands at work, tasks at home simply don't receive the required attention. And Friend could tell you I'd never been much of a housekeeper.

"Wow," I said when, just after 1AM, I said goodnight to my parents and stepped into my bedroom upstairs. Clutter cleared, bed made, surfaces dusted, it looked remarkably different than when I'd left it. After sleeping deeply - that kind of restorative time spent in bed that leaves me certain my brain is recovering from the stress and activity of past days - I plodded down the steps, still struggling to emerge from the heavy sleep. I waved a vague greeting at the pair of them as they were seated in my office, playing on the computers. I poured the coffee that was waiting and grabbed a banana for breakfast.

"We moved some furniture in the living room," Dad told me and I nodded. "I'll scrub the toilets next week while you're on the west coast."

"I finished all the laundry," Mom noted and told me where all the clothing and linens had been stored. "I cleaned the kitchen and cooked meals for later - they're in the freezer. I worked on the tile floors while Dad vacuumed." I thanked them and dealt with work email for a few hours before wandering back upstairs for a nap - traveling makes me tired.

"We washed your car," they told me when I came back downstairs. "And organized some of the boxes in the garage. Did you want us to mail the box in the back of your Jeep? Or run any other errands?"

I grinned and noticed that my water glass and coffee cup from the morning had been cleared from the end table. The dishwasher was running and counters were all wiped clean.

"How much would you charge if you moved in and took care of the house?" I asked, thinking this rather nice. Then I heard they'd invited the girls to come up for next week to stay and tried to memorize how the house looked, all sparkling and clean. The invasion of the toddlers should have it looking much as I originally had it when I return from the next trip. And I'll relish the quiet again when they all leave.

Still. This is very nice for now.


Citronella said...

I am envious that you are able to let your parents not only stay at your place but also do some chores for you. I'd be extremely ashamed (not to say it would be a right feeling to have nor that you should share it, on the contrary).

post-doc said...

I'm extremely spoiled and have no problem ordering people around. Since my parents do what I ask and it means I can do more work, this appears to fall into place quite nicely. But I probably should feel moderately badly about it - perhaps they didn't raise me to be a very good person. :)

Anonymous said...

Can I borrow your parents?

post-doc said...

If you take them now, they come with two little girls. But they are rather sweet parents.

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