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All Pinzur, All The Time

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Housekeeper Etiquette

By and large, the Pinzur household runs pretty smoothly. I really love to cook and happily manage the finances. Lady Pinz cleans up my cooking messes - and does it with a smile - and does an impeccable job of keeping the social calendar and making sure we remember birthdays, anniversaries and other sundry occasions with cards and gifts.

But we both hate cleaning, and we hate it a lot. Up until now, this has been the solution:
1. Put off cleaning for as long as possible, until it starts to disgust Lady Pinz and almost reach the point where I notice.
2. Lady Pinz decides she will clean on a forthcoming Saturday or Sunday.
3. Lady Pinz gets in a bad mood anticipating the cleaning, gets in a worse mood during the cleaning, and stays in a bad mood for a good 36 hours. I generally volunteer to help, but am given limited duties because, frankly, I don't think she trusts me to clean up to her standards.

So I finally decided to retain the services of a professional cleaning-the-house-type person. I don't even know the correct terminology these days: maid? housekeeper? custodial engineer?

A young Peruvian woman who works for the local transit authority and cleans houses on the weekends was recommended by one of my coworkers and sounds perfectly lovely on the phone. Paying her $40 or $50 in exchange for a clean home and happy wife seems like an incredibly good investment.

Here, however, is my dilemma: I have no idea what kind of etiquette covers these situations. We had a lady who cleaned my parents' house once a week while we were growing up, but we rarely saw her because she left before we got home from school. Since I graduated high school more than a decade ago, I have never hired anyone to clean up after me, and I still have no idea how to behave when such a person is actually in the house.

Since we've never met this woman, obviously we want to be at home while she's cleaning. But it's not exactly a palace: two bedrooms and a living room. I can't imagine not feeling awkward if she's scrubbing the windows or mopping the floor while I'm on my ass watching TV. By the same token, though, I ain't about to pick up a broom and help.

Moreover, she charges $10 an hour, which is an absolute steal. Since she doesn't work for a service, she keeps 100 percent of that... but I imagine there's still an expectation of some kind of tip on top of that, right?

Post advice, suggestions and other supportive information in comments.


  • Dude - be gone when she cleans. It's the only answer. And just to be sure you get your money's worth, you should take a dump in your closet the morning before you leave and see if she finds it and cleans it up.

    By Blogger LiAps, at 2:27 PM  

  • See, LiAps, I might have taken that path in my pre-Lady-Pinz days... I certainly have no reason to believe this person would steal, but even if I did - the stuff that guys have that's worth stealing is way too big: TVs, stereos, etc. But now that there's jewelry and other easily-moved girly things in the house, I'm not sure I'm willing to just be gone while she's there.

    By Blogger Big Pinz, at 4:49 PM  

  • I couldn't stand to be there. I'd definitely leave. Do you have a safe you could throw the jewelry in? Or just put it in a shoebox in the garage. I think you should give her the benefit of the doubt and the space to do her thing.

    Not sure about the tipping, though. I mean, this is all under the table, yes? So I'm not sure a tip would be necessary. But tossing her an extra 5 bucks can't hurt in any case.

    By Blogger Sloth, at 1:12 PM  

  • Make sure you hide some change ($1.37 or so) like under the couch, under the bed, etc. You'll see if a) she's honest (did she return the money?) and b) is she a good housecleaner (yes, if she finds all of the change). This has never failed me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:26 PM  

  • Loser

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:09 PM  

  • Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
    Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:35 PM  

  • Hi all...

    The etiquette of housekeeper is the set of rules to conduct that make social interactions run more smoothly. Housekeeper etiquette in particular applies to co-worker interaction, excluding interactions with external contacts such as customers and suppliers. Thanks a lot.

    By Anonymous Housekeeper Los Angeles, at 1:37 AM  

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