Here's what's new around here: I finally came to my senses and hired a cleaning person. This is big. Very big.
It's one of those things I've been weighing for years, like I did with finally getting hearing aids (which my friend Patsy promises I'll get used to wearing), because it'll mean giving up something else. Clean house? Or yummy shoes? Clean house? Or antique pine cupboard that would look mighty fine in the kitchen?
It pays to break a foot and have it heal not quite right. Yummy (translation: expensive and cute) shoes have been replaced by ones that are sensible and with good tread. Making room in the budget, I reasoned, for help with the house.
Of course, I had to vacuum and take a run at the toilets, this morning, because this is Cleaning Person's first day on the job. I know, I know, but one does have SOME pride, after all. I intend to get over that, but I didn't want to scare her on her first visit.
I also hid the cat box.
As we speak, she's on her hands and knees, cleaning Fearless Leader's bathroom with a vengeance. CBTFG (Cinderella Before the Fairy Godmother). I've never known anyone to attack a project like this, so I'm very excited. She's been at it for two hours and it's a small space. I'm thinking maybe we'll have dinner in there, tonight. Eat right off the floor.
Walter Matsui is terrified. He's hiding behind the water heater in the closet under the stairs, his go-to fort in times of stress, which would be about 10 times a day. I'm thinking eventually he'll get over having a stranger in the house and take it in stride, after she's been here a couple of times.
OK, that's a lie. He's a ninny; he'll never come around.
Tough patooties. Cleaning Person stays.
Mostly, I tell myself I'm my mother's daughter - except when it comes to housework. I'm not afraid to say it: I hate housework. My mother, making an interesting fashion statement in an old pair of my father's swim trunks and one of his shirts, cleaned our house like crazy when I was growing up. She even ironed the sheets and Pop's boxer shorts.
That's just wrong. Pillow cases, maybe, but whole sheets? Underwear? That can't be sensible use of one's time - although my father did have the bad habit of sitting around in his boxer shorts in front of the TV. Maybe she thought some sharp creases would class up his act.
Possibly, all that cleaning and ironing is what put me off housework forevermore.
It's going to take a while for new Cleaning Person to work her way through the entire house, but that's the goal: to thoroughly clean one room - every inch of it - before moving on to the next. Just the prospect of such thrills me.
Be still, my heart, she's wiping down the walls.
I'm feeling more civilized, already. I won't have to preface an invitation through our door with, "Please excuse the mess." I will have flowers in vases all over the place; I will have little dinner parties and use the good dishes. I will buy an apron. I will be like June Cleaver.
I can't wait.
What this all means, of course, is that I'm going to have to get up off the couch and keep up with things. I probably should have thought this through; it's not like Cleaning Person will be here every day.
It's raining buckets and Harley Davison is out in it. I'll have to try and coax him in and chase him around the house with a towel. Nothing's more pitiful than a sopping wet cat; you'd think he'd be happy to get dried off, but he never is.
Mrs. Z called. She wanted to know how I liked Cleaning Person, who we are sharing.
"Put it this way," I said, "we're having dinner in a bathroom, tonight."
OK, we're not. But we could.
* Lynne Horner is a former Maui News features editor and writer who now lives in Springfield, Ore. Her "Second Thoughts" column appears every Tuesday. Send email to her at email@example.com.