Would you work at a job to earn the money to pay someone to do the very same job for you? People do, you know. Sometimes plumbers work all day fixing toilets and call someone else while they are away at work to fix their own. Maybe that would be understandable if it was a horrifically dirty toilet— a despicable, disgusting thing to do to another plumber, but it probably happens. There may also be mechanics who are afraid that they might mess up their own car’s expensive motor, who have worked on yours or mine. Sometimes when you take your car in for the third time in a row for the same problem, you just might figure out who they are.
Today one of my nieces is here cleaning my house for me. She often worked with me whenever she was available in “The Home Team”, a business I once co-owned with my daughter Carrie Ann. Among other services, such as meal preparation, laundry, and gardening we also cleaned houses for a large number of clients. So today I have a real house cleaning professional— somebody who was taught by the best, polishing up the windows and dust-mopping under the king size bed in the redundantly named master bedroom. (We just have the one.) I know, I know, you’re thinking “Wow! How spoiled? How privileged? How totally self-indulgent is she?”
After all, many of you know that when I say I’m having my house cleaned, I now mean my apartment, which is only the lower part of the raised ranch style home which my husband Rolly and I built about 35 years ago.
With the goal of simplifying our lives in mind, we renovated our house into two totally separate, sound- proofed- to- the- max units, and then we sold it to my daughter and son-in-law and became their tenants. They wanted to buy the property, which after more than 30 years of Rolly’s landscaping, and a three-year burst of innovative garden design upgrades by Carrie; is the most beautiful in the county. (Not bragging, just the honest truth.) Rolly is the property’s gardener. There are long beds of perennial collections, a picket fence enclosed garden, and raised beds for vegetables and berry patches. He is also the animal husbandry person who looks after our coop of laying hens, a hutch of rabbits, and most recently,a flock of ducks. I am the person responsible for other things— cooking, laundry, bill paying, and cleaning.
But really, just how much can I need my own personal house cleaner for a home that is less than 50 percent smaller than it used to be?
(Less,because since purchasing it the kids have also re-bricked and renovated the double garage into a beautiful sun room and built another garage.) Why do I need to have someone else dust my bookshelves when I only have three of them, rather than having four walls of them in a library, that was once loaded down, floor to ceiling and corner to corner with them? Why do I need someone to dust or polish or wash or shine our belongings when we have so few? In the words that are so often used as an explanation for any kind of off the wall behaviour these days— “Because I can!” So you likely are wondering how I can? I can afford to pay someone to do this because I have so many less commitments than I used to have.
When we began this deliberate process of purging ourselves of excessive material belongings it was not because of the constraints of a difficult financial situation. In fact it was accomplished before the 2008 financial melt down, which has since then affected us too,
much like everyone else. This was rather, a philosophically based personal choice. We had thought it through, and talked it through, and planned it through to the Nth degree. It kind of went like this: If you have a grandfather clock in your foyer and it stops ticking you will feel the need to have it repaired and therefore the need to hire a person to repair it. If you don’t have a foyer, then you can’t have a clock and you don’t need a repairman… EVER! Suppose you have three bathrooms, that have three toilets, (only one in each we hope!) and you have a party. If you have a house cleaner she is now going to need to clean all three bathrooms. She should clean all three irregardless, but that’s beside the point. If you only have one bathroom then you will only have one toilet. But, what if you want to have thirty people to a party and you only have one toilet? Well then, just have three parties with ten people at each one instead. You’ll have a lot more time to party if you have a lot less belongings to look after, and maybe a lot more money too.
The Rollason Rule is: The more haves you have the more needs you have until maintaining the income necessary to meet the needs you have outsteps the income that you have.
Yes, there definitely are simpler ways to say what I’ve just said, but sometimes I just choose not to. Just as there are simpler ways to live your life, but many of you have chosen not to. So what are you willing to trade for your haves? Time,love, family, fun? You will give up a lot of that when you are busy maintaining the appearance that all is hunky-dory. Working too much to get a big promotion to buy a bigger house to show off how successful you are to people you don’t really care about? People you only want to impress, to get under their skin about how you are better than they are? Ask your kids how impressed they are when you are never there to read a story to them before they go to sleep.
There are those of you who may say at this point “Hmmph! Who is she to judge what I choose to do with my life. I work hard while she sits around on her behind all day long. She doesn’t work, and she has a house cleaner because she’s lazy, and because she is lazy, that’s why she has an apartment and not a house! Surprise! Surprise! I actually do have a job. It is part-time work and I find it very rewarding. The shocker for many of you will be when I tell you that I do in fact have to clean somebody else’s house as part of that job and that from those earnings I pay to have my own home cleaned. Why bother? Well, by working for my next-door neighbour as her Nanny⁄ Housekeeper I get to enjoy my weekly quota of the totally spontaneous humour and fun that comes from interacting with her three children. I find this immensely rewarding. As E.E. Cummings so wisely said “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” Make sure you get your share too, while you still can.