Getting started

Don't expect words of wisdom or earth shattering revelations, just my thoughts and observations about living in Ottawa, being a public servant and trying to live life every day to its fullest

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My cleaning lady - that's right. I have one! And I love it! Exclamation points alone do not do the fact that I have a cleaning lady thing justice.

When I first started working, a friend recommended a book for me "Smart Women Finish Rich", the only financial advice book I have ever read. It was a good read and for someone who is terrible with her money an enlightening insight into how so many people are even worse with theirs. Many of the tricks on how to save I already did - I brought a lunch to work and limited the number of coffees I buy a day / week, I had a quasi budget for my regular expenses and while I was spending too much, I knew how and why I was spending it. But one tip really stuck out for me; if as a woman you make more that $60,000 (US / 2004) a year, you should have a cleaning lady.

The logic stuck me as sound, but the reality screamed decadence. As an able bodied individual, why can't I spend a few hours a week scrubbing and cleaning? Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and mopping? Washing windows, toilets and showers? How much is my time really worth? And what am I doing on weekends anyway ... besides, it is a great workout? Hauling the vacuum up and down the stairs, reaching around the toilet, it is a mini cardio and yoga workout rolled into the comfort of your own home.

At first I refused to hire a cleaning lady because I lived with other people who were messy and I wasn't sure why my good money should pay to clean up after them. I also lived in fear of the weekends designated for a "good cleaning". I did learn that a messy house leads to stress and over-all grumpiness. Now I live alone. For people who do not know me, I am a bit of a neat freak. Everything has a place and is put away, I hate clutter and love walking barefoot on clean floors. It seemed a waste to spend money on what I thought should be a quick job.

And then one day, I popped over to pay my neighbors cleaning lady for him and my life changed. It was a whim, I admit. My parents were in town and the first thing my mother did was clean. I thought I had done a OK job - but it wasn't up to her standards. She complained about how the blinds were dusty (who has time to dust blinds?) and that my stove could do with a really good wipe-down (OK, it was a little greasy, but how do you really scrub the grim off?). Tired of her comments about my inability to clean a floor so that a five course meal could be eaten right off it, I asked the cleaning lady if she would do my house as well - and she said yes!

There is something about ever second Friday knowing that when I get home, my place will be clean. What is even better is sleeping in on Saturday morning and not having to make anytime for cleaning my house. Yes, it is totally decadent - but I am worth it. So this evening while I am admiring my wonderfully clean house, I will raise a glass to my cleaning lady.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

When did gas-mileage become a pick-up line? When I started this blog, I thought I would share stories of dating in Ottawa. Needless to say I have yet to post a blog on this topic because - well - I don't think there is such a thing! I have been single for a few years and am so far removed from dating, I doubt I would know a date if it was at my door with flowers! I am not even sure what people do on dates these days or if there is anyone in Ottawa to date! When I was younger bars, clubs and class where were you met people, and the lines they would rattle off are stuff from bad jokes. Some pretense to inform me about a car, an income, or a life-style that was hardly possible at the tender age of 22.

A few years ago I tried my hand at internet dating, and the only good thing about it were the ridiculous stories that came from the experience. One was such a disaster that I didn't even get his name, or the guy who referred to himself in the third person. Not to be out done, there was the guy who believed that panty-hose was the best thing that ever came from publicly funded science (and no - he was being ironic!) Here the rhetoric was about "healthy life-styles", how often do you work out? And you play how many sports? Weekly? Wow ... and a full time job! It was intimidating enough to make even an olympic athlete think twice!

They say love finds you when you are not looking - but more important, you have to be open to it. And as much as I thought I was ready ... I was not. For the last few years something was holding me back and a text-message from a friend this week made me realise that I was finally ready. What was shocking about the text was that I felt nothing ... nothing. And that made me know, that after all this time I am can move on. And now I see them. There are some great guys in this city, and they have nice smiles, do fun things, smell nice, and some of them are even single!

When someone started boasting about gas-mileage, and someone else extolled the virtues of a car-less life-style last week, it made me stop and think. If you listen with an open heart you can often hear the hint of a pick-up line. Now I am not going to say that every friendly smile is someone trying to get with me, I am old and wise enough to know that is not the case. It has actually been happening all around me all the time, but instead of being open I scowled, avoided eye contact or turned the other. Next time someone tells me about their organic meat obsession, I will smile back! Perhaps that and my vermicompost will be enough to create opportunities that I would not have dreamed about, even from the kookiest on-line profile.