I haven’t spent more than twenty dollars on an item of clothing since 2008. Or even before that. Or pretty much ever. I think my prom dress was $300, and I still feel guilty about it (Sorry, Mom). I’m not thrifty because I’m writing a clever book on saving money. I don’t have a secret blog about my money diet. I just have problems spending money.
I wouldn’t say I’m cheap. I’ll donate to your cause if you ask me. I’ll buy you dinner if we go out (if we’re at Sizzler or Portillo’s). I love splurging on Christmas gifts. But when it comes to myself, I do not spend money. I save on underwear by not wearing any. I never get my hair cut. I eat Subway a lot for dinner. I know how to sacrifice. I must have spent a previous life as a Holocaust victim (Surely forgoing brand name denim is just like what the Jews went through).
One of my courses in psychology school is about self-nurturing. We’re supposed learn how to love ourselves and shit. So, we HAVE to do nice things. Just for ourselves! It’s a requirement. I haven’t yet bought any good clothes (because gross. I hate shopping), but I did splurge on something.
I hired a maid.
I felt guilty about it at first. I mean, who can’t take a few minutes every week to wipe up the bathroom? ME! I can’t take a few minutes every week to wipe up the bathroom. Or fold my clothes after I do laundry. It’s ME! I come home late from my freelance job where I do important things like coin soon-to-be famous phrases on infomercials. Then I go to my flamenco class. Then I write jokes for Taboo Tales. Then I bla bla bla. And all of a sudden, my entire apartment looks like it’s my high school room minus the Kirk Cameron poster. In 2012 alone, I’ve uttered the phrases “I can’t live like this.” and “How do they do it?” over two zillion times.
And so I broke through my guilt and mentioned to a friend that I was shamefully thinking of hiring someone to clean my place, a one-bedroom apartment that can probably fit in your apartment.
That opened the floodgates. That day, I learned that everyone in LA has a maid. THAT is how they do it. I will probably be shot for this because the rule here is: DO NOT TALK ABOUT YOUR MAID unless you are sure you’re talking to someone else who has a maid.
Everyone has a maid (except people who don’t yet know that everyone has a maid). Everyone is really good at not talking about their maids. As soon as I expressed interest, I was invited into the secret maid society. I got tips from maid pros:
“Before you take someone’s maid recommendation,” one friend said, “go to their house and slide your finger along the base of the toilet. Ya know. Just to see.”
“Your maid will go through a peacock phase and then start to get lazy,” another friend said. “After a year, she won’t clean any better than you do.”
“Don’t pay more than fifty. You can get a maid for thirty bucks on Craigslist.”
Thirty bucks! To wipe up the base of my toilet? Isn’t that illegal?
It turns out, YES, it is illegal. Still, everyone has a maid.
I never went to my friend’s house to check his toilet, but I used his recommendation. And in a jiffy, Pati was at my house. I thought she’d be impressed because I’d already cleaned. I made my bed to show her who was boss. I shoved a rag around my bathtub to convince her I’d cleaned it more than that one time. I had an inkling she might just show up and tell me not to waste my money on her.
Nope. She showed up and let out a squeal when she saw the tub. It turns out, the bathtub is not supposed to be lined with black mold. What I thought might be an hour-long session lasted SIX HOURS. She made love to my apartment. She caressed it with foams and bleaches. She vacuumed my toaster. She soaked the shelves of my refrigerator. SHE VACUUMED MY TOASTER.
She charged me eighty dollars to clean for six hours. I wanted to pay her my soul.
My apartment is once again reminiscent of my adolescent hovel, but for those few days that followed, I felt wonderful. I felt free to frolic in the germless wonder of my one-bedroom. I spread out on the floor. I rolled around in my sparkly tub. I toasted several clean breads. And I realized that it does feel good to do things for myself. It feels really good. I’m pretty sure it’s all downhill from here. Be warned. I’m going to be a person who has a maid and talks about that maid. Because I fucking deserve it. But, please, if I start bragging about my new Prada bag, do something.