Thursday, July 3, 2008

Clean Up in the Uncool Aisle

I know I have built my reputation as Funny Blogging At-Home Dad No. 877 by putting this image in your head of me as a domestic god in boxer briefs, a featherduster in hand, but I must confess. Once a week, a team of international experts in suburban waste and hazardous material disposal scour our home, destroying all pathogens and pointy-toothed dust bunnies.

I'm not sure of the finer points of law, but I'm pretty sure my writing them checks to "cash" every week disqualifies me from elected office or the Supreme Court. The nation breathes a collective sigh of relief.

These international minesweepers o' mine are three very conscientious, Windex-loving women from Poland. Every week they spare me the wrath of My Love over make-or-break marital issues such as my inadequacy at folding clothes (I refuse to master this until she passes Remedial Dishwasher Loading -- damn her gender's inferior visual spatial relation skills) and her general dislike of manual labor.

This latter point, though, comes in direct conflict with her dislike of paying people to do manual labor for her. I usually resolve this by having her help me with a few hours of yard work. For example, this scene last month after we planted some shurbs: My Love in full Scarlet O'Hara mode, encrusted in dirt and sweat, obligatory straw gardening hat with plastic flowers withering upon her head, saying: "I shall never spend my weekend digging holes … again!"

Anyhow, this wonderful, rotating cast (work visas come, work visas go) of heavily accented Fairies With Fantastic ("weeth bleeeech" as they like to specify) has been getting a bad rap of late with the Things. Seems every time my children can't find a certain toy, library book or "dangerous" power tool, the whining refrain of "the cleaning ladies must have moved it" is heard throughout my humble domain.

Never mind that the "missing" item is right where it should be, in sight so plain even U.N. weapon inspectors following Bush administration intelligence reports could find it. Their lack of critical deductive reasoning skills and inability to pull their glassy eyes from another episode of "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" is why a single round of hide 'n' seek at our house lasts as long as a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. But without the slow dissolves, milkshake declarations and deluge of frogs.

With the Things home for the summer, I saw the opportunity to finally get my little piece of the Polish Underground Railroad off their lists.

Their mission, if they chose to take it: Spy on the cleaning ladies for one morning. Just follow them around, note their carefully crafted plans to "misplace" every artifact the Things hold dear, and report back to me so I could pretend to take this very seriously while trying not to wet myself.

Thing 1 flat out refused to take part without compensation. "I want $20," she said. "And a Webkinz."

"You have 632 Webkinz and you still owe me $5.75 for the Pokemon Shakedown of June Ought-Eight. Get back to your Crayolas, midget."

Thing 2, however, needed little coaxing. "Keeeewl! I get to spy. I get to spy!" When his little buddy came over to help him and My Love at strawberry picking (yep, my international HR executive goddess also employs child labor in her off hours), he apparently spent a good 15-minutes on his pending James Bond Jr. epic.

He better get some good dirt tomorrow. My dwindling subscriber list is depending on it.


  1. F'n brilliant. LOVE the way you view the world and parenthood.

    ~Spa Junkie

  2. Ah, Thing 1 is right on target, no pay-me no work-e! Smart of you to include Thing 2! Try not to wet yourself too much.

    Happy Fourth to you and the family!

  3. Ahh my dream of paying someone else to do everything for me. But it sounds like Thing 2 will have a blast on his spying mission.

  4. Gotta say that I love your blog! Great views on life.

    I have given you an award on my blog!!!!!!

  5. Hi - new to your blog -enjoying your views on life/parenthood! I also have a couple of cleaning ladies. Would it be possible to borrow your Things to spy on them since my Things are still too young?

    P.S. my husband thinks my dishwasher stacking skills suck too.

  6. Ha! More proof that we are leading parallel lives. Same thing in my house...if something is moved from the location that it's been resting at on the floor for the past week, Martha has either "stolen" or "lost" it.

    Or, more evilly, I *might* have been know to throw a few of their things away while tidying up for her arrival. Especially if it's the randomly accumulated artifacts that they find at school or camp: rubber balls, logo'd pencils, unsolicited candy variety.

    And poor Martha, lovely lady that she is, has no idea that I blame her. "Oh, you can't find your inflatable lobster? Must have been the cleaning lady..."

  7. Sounds like it's time to take Thing 2 to the the Counter Spy Shop

    Who needs #$%$^%& Webkinz! Boys Toys Rule!

  8. We have the same issue with our cleaning lady. She moves stuff and the kids can't seem to find it- you know, because it's not laying on the floor anymore.

  9. Spa, Tent, Leslie: You guys. I'm blushing. Thanks for the kindness, awards and just showing up. I appreciate it. Can I interest you in the house wine?

    MM - I think we just need to merge families and start our own "Big Love" thing.

    Sara - You are the only left-wing Boy Toy I need.

    Kelly/Renee: Thing 1 is now making me pay her to eat fruit. She will be the head of Tom Sawyer Industries some day.

  10. Once again, I'm smiling. I recognize this. Except, I'm the housecleaner and uh, I don't misplace things. I throw them away.

  11. She's making you pay her for eating fruit? You are getting off easy, my friend. Mine will earn a new Lil'Kinz(TM)[cq] once she finds a new-to-her food that she likes and eats. Consistently. The rule so far is it must be within the protein or vegetable category.

    And the secret to finding things is to hide it beforehand from the cleaning ladies...but blame your parents after.

  12. LOL...thanks for the giggles from the other side of things...glad to know it's not just a MOM thing.

  13. I'm so not looking forward to finding out what exactly a Webkinz is, based on how many times (and in what contexts) I've heard about them from parents with kids older than mine.

    In lighter news, I've presented you with an award over at my place. Come check it out!

  14. Looks like TentCamper beat me to it. Curse you, you wind-peeing bastard! Oh well, now you have two.


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