By Rosie Preston
Many times, I have shared stories about the many homes I cleaned for different families to make extra money. I can loudly voice, even scream it from the rooftops (of those houses) that there should be a Cleaning 101l class.
The first lesson should be to have a friend to help. The reason being that it’s easier to clean when you have someone to talk, joke, laugh and maybe even cry with as you work!
There is another reason to share this advice with anyone who would dare to consider taking the job of cleaning for different ladies, because each one has the different ways she wants her home cleaned. In fact, we used a notebook to record the different ways the lady of the homes preferred the ways she wants her home cleaned. The dishes, the cabinets, the bathrooms, the laundry and the way the beds were made are just a few of the notes I took to remember them.
This week I will share about the lady who was OCD concerning those little tiny sticky notes. I wasn’t surprised when the notes would be stuck all over her house, pointing out fingerprints we had missed, reminding us that it was the week to clean the refrigerator or asking if we could perhaps wash the curtains in a certain room that day.
I didn’t take the notes very seriously until one day something changed. I guess there comes a time when everyone has that one last straw that breaks the camels’ back (I was the camel, the little note was the straw). So, the tiny sticky notes we had taken with a grain of salt. We knew we did a good job, and if it made the lady of the house feel like she was somehow involved, then so be it.
On this particular day, I had hurt my back, and I was physically and mentally tired. I saw a little sticky note on a can of furniture polish on the piano bench that read, “You left this out last week.”
When I read it, I saw red! Had she left the can there all week, or had she brought it out that morning instead of just putting it in her cleaning cabinet? I’ll never know. I do know, however, that I would never have treated a person this way who worked so hard cleaning my home.
As my cleaning friend and I left that day, we went to the kitchen as usual and wrote in the lady’s cleaning book a list of what we had accomplished that day. The last sentence went something like this: “This will be our last day to clean your house. I have hurt my back and can no longer hold up to the hard work involved.”
My friend looked at me with her eyes wide open and said, “What, For real?”
Answering her, I said, “Yes, it’s true. I’m tired of working so hard and that last sticky note brought it to light. I’m through. We are not appreciated!”
I felt a sense of freedom as we walked out that house that day. It’s a very personal event to clean someone’s home. It’s almost as if you feel part of their family. I learned that every lady is the heart of their home, and it was very interesting to get to know them. They shared many tips that we saved to improve our job performance.
That Sticky Note Lady must have taught me something. When buying school supplies this past fall, I found myself standing in front of a box of sticky notes. I bought them and planned where I would leave use them around my house. In the bathrooms, I had a list for my granddaughter about what I wanted cleaned whenever she finished her shower. I also left one on what needed to be done on a weekly basis.
The notes seemed to work, and when they started falling off the mirror, I didn’t replace them. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. Maybe because my granddaughter accepted the message I added saying that I loved her so much, and now that she was older, I needed her to please take more responsibility and help me with housework.
Because she’s only 13, of course, my granddaughter did complain about the extra work. That’s when I told her that it’s not a matter of her doing more work but rather to consider it a lesson in life (similar to her school homework) that is being done to prepare her to grow up to be a lady who knows what it takes to keep her own future home clean. With that being said, I also told her that even if she is not the one doing the cleaning, she will appreciate it when others are helping her.
Growing up, I was one of those young girls who loved cleaning. I still love a clean and uncluttered home. Yet, I still have the physical back problems along with more grandchildren (ages 2 and 3) who had the flu. It was me, this grandmother who doesn’t have to question whether I am appreciated or not. It only takes a few simple signs of affection that shows me how much they love me. When they take my hand and tell me, “Nana, I love you so much.” Or when they climb onto my lap and put their head on my shoulders. The comfort we share is worth more than any amount of money I could be paid to be able to serve them and their mother with this unconditional love!
The other day, I left a sticky note on their overnight bag that said, NANA LOVES YOU! GET WELL SOON!
Keeps smiling, Rosie
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