Turns out my mom was wrong.
Sure, there are moments when my condo resembles a dishelved hobo riding the rails, but mostly it’s close to tidy. Note I said “tidy” and not “clean.” I never dust and rarely sweep. If I’m having someone over I run the Swiffer. It’s not really supposed to double as a vacuum, but, hey, close enough.
My mom has thoroughly shamed me over the years since the divorce by saying, “If you bring a woman back to this mess she will run screaming.” And, to be fair, she’s got a point. Nobody wants to date a slob. Well, I guess other slobs are cool with it. Let’s put it this way – I don’t want to date a slob.
I’ve become masterful as keeping the place tidy. At first glance it will appear as if I steer a pretty tight ship (I don’t think that’s the correct expression, matey). Upon further examination you will discover that the baseboards in the kitchen are splattered with marinara sauce, there is tiny chihuahua hair all over the pillows, and the underside of the top toilet seat in the master bath has a small pee stain.
I should write a whole essay on how a physicist would have a hard time explaining this phenomena. Pee should not be there. I can’t explain it. But it is.
My mom however sees through this charade and simply walks in and goes, “I can smell the cat box! Gross!”
I finally broke down and ordered a housekeeping package. I vowed this time to only use a reputable service as the last person I hired via Craigslist stole a bunch of my shit. I found a Groupon for half-off and placed the order. They called me a day later to schedule and upsold me on the deep clean package. It was like $100 more but, hey, I’m pretty sure mold is not supposed to be growing on the ice cubes in the freezer. I needed the full monty.
The woman who came to the apartment lumbered up the stairs with her supplies. She was in her early forties and overweight. I always feel bad when delivery people come visit and have to hike up four flights. It’s hard enough when I do it every day. She had to take a few rests and now that I think about it, I probably should have offered to carry up the mop. It didn’t occur to me.
She was very sweet and got to work. Since I had the bad experience with the thief I decided to stick around. Now, I only have 1250 square feet. It’s not like I was just going to hang out in the west study while she dusted up the portiere. So I took a nap, read, and watched some television.
Cut to five hours later – she was STILL cleaning. I hadn’t had a woman stick around that long in my condo since my sister who came to spend the night on a business trip last April.
After each room the cleaning lady would come up to me and say, “Mr. Paris, can you come check my work?” Now, I never check even my own work, much less somebody else’s. But she insisted. And each time I would give it a two-second glance and say, “Looks perfect.”
Then, without exception she would get excited and say the exact same thing.
“That’s cool beans!”
I haven’t heard that expression since I was a lame white kid in central Illinois saying that during my junior year of high school. Bowling on a Friday night since I didn’t have a date? That’s cool beans!
Each time she said those words I would LIL – laugh in loud. I should have recorded it. She did such a good job I’m going to have her back in a month or so and we’ll get that voice on tape. She didn’t just say it, she exuded those beans. First, it was funny that she was so excited to get my approval. I always feel a little shame that I should be cleaning the place myself. Then, those words. Cool beans. It’s just a perfect expression of joy that nobody says anymore.
The weird thing about that phrase is that if you actually ate cool beans, you’d be disappointed. Hot beans trump cold beans.
Oh, to get back to the beginning on why my mom was wrong. Since I’ve started dating a number of women have made their way into the condo. For dessert or a drink or to meet the dog. So, I’ve had to keep it tidy. It’s not clean. Well, now it is. But it never really was before. And nobody has run screaming.