Cleaning My House

By Susan Brown


I’ve long since faced the​​ reality​​ that I am not the tidiest person in the world. ​​ There are artistically scattered coffee cups, teetering stacks of unopened mail, even whole new breeds of dust bunnies. ​​ But I recognize my affliction and bow to the​​ professionals.


I divert a chunk of my scant resources to hiring a housecleaner.


Recently,​​ I needed to find a new domestic expert and so I set out with confidence. ​​ I​​ am​​ an employer contracting to a small business​​ person​​ who will​​ no doubt be grateful for my custom​​ – and I​​ am​​ willing to pay a reasonable rate for services rendered. ​​ I​​ would be, in fact, in control.


We started with a businesslike inquiry as to rates and availability. ​​ She played hard to get with both, making a counter-offer of inspecting the premises​​ before establishing her rate. ​​ As I looked​​ around at the pile of​​ wet​​ towels on the bathroom floor​​ (I like long, hot showers)​​ and the Christmas ornaments still festively adorning my living room (I​​ know​​ it’s almost Valentine’s Day – I’ve been busy!),​​ I​​ felt my​​ keen​​ edge​​ begin to slip. ​​ 


No one should be forced to see​​ how bad it could get;​​ I​​ blustered​​ about competitive rates.​​ Nothing. ​​ So,​​ I lied like the cheap rug I wanted​​ her to vacuum.


Like a coyote circling for the kill, she​​ picked up​​ on my​​ lack of confidence​​ and​​ attacked​​ with a straight question.


“How dirty is your house?”


OMG – don’t panic. ​​ Don’t panic!!!


Taking a deep, shuddering​​ breath, I​​ went into my cool, confident and full con mode. ​​ “A little dusty in a few spots, and the​​ carpet​​ could use a vacuuming…but overall quite clean.” Psychological titter here. ​​ “And of course I want to keep it that way.”​​ 


I wanted to scream “And that’s why I want to hire you!” ​​​​ Instead, a courteous, “When can you drop by?​​ I can be available almost any time.” Oh, the groveling….


So, she’s coming​​ at 9:15 in​​ the morning. ​​ I have sixteen hours.​​ No fear.​​ No sleep. ​​ 


I’ve been zig-zagging​​ like a Tasmanian devil,​​ spraying disinfectant,​​ grabbing papers and mugs and ornaments and damp towels and dog bowls and…


There’s a​​ five thousand pound sofa pushed against the​​ closet’s​​ straining door – she’ll​​ never know how my shame has been hidden away. ​​ At least not until it’s too late.

About The Author

I love to write! And I love to write for teens. Since I was a kid, bored with school, I’ve been making up stories. Eventually I became a journalist, got married, had kids, adopted dogs and started writing books in earnest. Three followed, plus two more co-authored with Anne Stephenson.

I’ll be publishing a half dozen new books in the next year or two, some fantasy and some realistic which I hope will appeal to teen readers – I’ve had quite a few kids read them and gotten a thumbs up! Check out my website at