Tuesday. Every other one is circled on my calendar in hot pink Sharpie.
Tuesday means Lucinea, the woman who cleans my apartment. When we open the door, the first thing I do is take a deep breath, allowing the smell of vinegar and citrus to fill my lungs. The blinds are drawn up to their highest point, and I’m able to take in the neatly stacked blocks, the sparkling sink, the order she has made of a place that seems to unravel under the day-to-day of living until she arrives biweekly to make amends.
The quiet stillness of clean.
Since E–that marker of time that measures what seems like an eternity before this boy–I have come to terms. I now admit that the most valuable asset I have is my time, and I don’t want to spend it doing particular tasks. I enjoy washing dishes, but not dusting, or vacuuming, or cleaning cracks and crevices. I felt much guilt about making the decision to hire a cleaning lady, worried about what this might mean as a marker of class, of being “uppity,” but I have resolved those feelings.
Time. She is saving me time that I can use as I want, and I love more opportunities to do something I want (not a plea there for pity, but just a statement of reality).
I decided on Lucinea because she is a woman that is part of a cooperative of women that own their own businesses and make their own all-natural cleaning products. When she came to my apartment for her initial consult, I liked her immediately: she was kind, shrewd as she looked around and estimated the amount of time she’d need to clean the place, and her estimate was fair. Plus, she came highly regarded from others in my neighborhood.
On Tuesdays, when Lucinea comes, I get a momentary reset button. Everything is in the correct place, neat, clean (bordering on immaculate). And I know this feeling is as fleeting as E deciding to topple over those blocks the moment he pushes past me into the house, but still, it is a moment that brings me peace.