I hate to announce this publicly, but I am afraid I am going to have to fire my housekeeper, E-n-a-i-D. She and I have been together forever, or so it seems.
There was a time when she took such pride in the critical components of home maintenance.
Enaid always insisted on regular rotations of all our mattresses. Cleaning air ducts and changing filters always gave her such pleasure. No one cleaned baseboards like Enaid. Dust did not escape her critical eyes. Now, even though she needs them, she refuses to wear her glasses to clean the house, which means that dust bunnies are our pets, du jour.
How well I remember her excitement over little things, like dryer lint, which she collected and eventually wove into little nests for the birds. She had such high standards. Regular birdseed was not good enough for them, she insisted upon cracked sunflower seed. Who knew if their beaks could handle that cheap stuff? Or so she said.
Enaid used to love a good challenge. If a neighbor washed her windows, Enaid would delight in not only doing our windows, she one-upped them by cleaning the gutters and re-painting the trim. Now she tells me that after watching all the home improvement shows on HGTV all day, what she would really like would be to take a sledge hammer and knock down some walls. You can see why I am a bit concerned about her mental health.
Her meals were always gourmet and in her spare time she studied her vast collection of cookbooks for new recipes for our family. These days she says there is no excitement in the kitchen anymore, unless you count the time she found a field mouse in the pantry.
Enaid estimates that she has conservatively cooked at least 30,000 meals in her lifetime, which in her mind is sufficient for anyone. “Been there, done that,” she said.
I have encouraged her to find new challenging projects like cleaning and re-arranging my closet. She said if she wanted to jump into a black hole she would look for one with more room.
For Christmas I gave Enaid a copy of the new bestseller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, by Marie Kondo. Basically, Kondo’s philosophy is that we all have too much stuff and lightening the load will make us happier, more productive individuals. Enaid seemed genuinely excited to read the book and I thought, we’ve had a breakthrough – my house really will be my lovely, clean castle.
After completing the book, Enaid informed me the only way we could reach Kondo’s state of serenity where she encourages readers to “thank their clothes for their service” and “greet your house,” is to consume vast quantities of pharmaceuticals.
I tried to bribe Enaid last week with the promise of a new, fancy vacuum cleaner. Mine is at least 20 years old and it is about as easy to maneuver around the house as a baby grand. I saw her eyes light up for the first time in months. Then she said, “Just be sure when you buy it you get the one with the built-in cappuccino maker and the riding attachment.” Sure thing.