Hiring a Housekeeper and Reader Mailbag

     I’m about to start treatment at an outpatient rehab program.  If I could afford to do it I’d happily check myself into an inpatient facility for 30 or even 60 days, but that’s not in the cards.  I spent all my savings on the outpatient.  I’m not complaining–it is, after all, an investment in my life–but if I get slammed with a health crisis or major expense, I am going to be up the proverbial shit creek without a paddle.  I had to put Parrot’s necropsy hospital bills on my credit card. 

     When I got back to NYC, I hired a housekeeper for the first time.  I have a deeply ambivalent view of housekeeping, which I’ve blogged about here.  My home is never clean enough to suit me, but since I’m measuring my efforts against my mother’s, I’m just setting myself up to fail.  My mother’s house is the cleanest house I’ve ever seen.  

      Having someone clean your house for you is also admitting that you are a failure as a woman.  It is just plain disgraceful not to maintain your own household (my brother feels the same way about shoveling snow, washing his car, or doing oil changes.  Oh boy, does he have contempt for men who don’t tend their own lawns or wash their own cars!). 

      I did a two-hour shame cleaning before she arrived.  I do not want another human being to clean my hair out of the drain in the sink.  That is not a relationship I want to have with another human being (although, presumably, I’ll be doing it for a dude if I ever get married, which tells you a lot about the role of women in that patriarchal institution).  

       I assumed that the housekeeper would be Latina or Eastern European.  Where I come from, American-born whites still do most of the manual labor.   That’s almost never the case here.  

       Well, I got a nice American lady my mother’s age.  She was friendly and wanted to chat about my aquarium.  She had an aquarium, too.  

      I felt so guilty that I tipped her $100 up front and ran out to buy her bottled water and an energy drink.  Then I hid in the gym for two hours, because the thought of a grown woman cleaning my bathtub was humiliating to me. 

       I told the women at the Studio about my experience. 

      “You tipped your cleaning lady $100?  When you’re broke?   Are you crazy?” asked one.

     “I cleaned houses when I first came to New York,” said another.  “The worst were the obnoxious men who would try to hit on you and talk to you while you’re working.  Like, I’d be doing their dishes, and they’d ask me out on dates.

       Sometimes, they’d try to test me to see if I was doing a good-enough job.  It was always women who would do this, never men: They’d put some dirt or a scrap of paper underneath the middle of a big floor rug or carpet…and then check to see if it was still there when they came home.”

      I have nothing else to say.

      So, let’s answer a question from the Reader Mailbag: 

       “Here’s a question: What is your favorite place/spot/location in New York City?”
                                                                                          –Mike in Minneapolis 

               The Metropolitan Museum of Art, followed by the New York Botanical Garden and the Frick Collection. I like museums very much.

            Del Posto is probably my favorite restaurant in NYC.  I cannot afford to eat there by myself–a client takes me once or twice a year.

           If you were in the mood to talk politics with diplomats, there are several places in Turtle Bay i’d steer you toward. 

        So many others.  There are some great little fish stores in Chinatown where you can buy excellent aquarium stock, like Golden Tetras…but the stores don’t have websites.  You have to reach them through word of mouth.

        Grand Central Station. Hoboken/Lackawanna Terminal. 

       I’ve spent plenty of time in the libraries and the opera houses.

             NYC is adult Disneyland.  Everything is here, and it is the best of everything…if you can afford it. 

        Thanks for reading.  My tone should pick up soon.  

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