22 May 2016


I’ve lost my cleaner!

No, not the vacuum cleaner, I’m referring to the lovely half-Italian lady who helped around the house for two years. She was great, the sort you could have a laugh with or confide in. She was helpful when she needn’t have been and so was her husband. He was the sort of man who could do just about anything. When I bought new standard lamps he was the one who assembled them because my Joe was too poorly to do anything.

Paola and I became friends and I really looked forward to her once a week visits. Unfortunately her heart was on setting up her own business. Not cleaning, although that might have come into it... no, she was hell bent on dealing with fingernails. She went on a course and learned all there was to know about treating and decorating nails. Slowly she built up a clientele and managed to find some local accommodation. Like all new ventures it was slow to get off the ground but gradual word-of-mouth brought in more customers. I was pleased for her and knew that her time as a cleaner was on the cards to come to an end. That day came two weeks ago.

Paola tried hard to fit everyone into shorter hours which, of course, didn’t work. To maintain financial income she wanted to do both which, as we all know, can be difficult. She decided to cut down on clients, meaning those she ‘did’ for, i.e. me. To be fair, she tried very hard to keep her customers; it was the customers who finally ended it for me.

Paola’s proposal was to clean three houses in one day and still have part of that day to herself. She needed a day off. Her mind had started to wander and she started to get fretful. Not a good state of affairs when she’d made all the preparations to go it alone. However, Paola persisted with the idea of cleaning for three families and put forth the following proposition.

1. She would clean for Barbara, daughter-in-law of Bill, in the morning. She lives two roads away.

2. In the afternoon she would clean for Bill, a man of great age (101 in May) who lives opposite me.

3. Late afternoon was my turn. Only, I didn’t want that. 

4.  Paola went back to the drawing board and finally suggested cleaning for Bill late afternoon/evening. Only, Bill didn’t want that. 

5.  Back she came to me with the awful news. Since housework in the latter half of a day didn’t appeal to me either, I called it a day.

It was very sad but I had to think of my own comfort. And Charlie’s, of course; even cats like a rest during the day. And that’s how Paola and I saw the end of a pleasant two years.

What do do. Well, I couldn’t give up the idea of having a cleaner, not when I’m having trouble with the spine which doesn’t allow for a lot of bending or anything energetic. Vacuuming is a no-no and so is mopping floors. I can do things in an upright position provided it doesn’t take too long. Reaching great ages can be very off-putting!

The same day I said goodbye to Paola, on went the thinking cap and out came the computer. I needed to see what was on the market in the way of household help. It took about a half-an-hour. I saw a well-established company’s advert for household cleaners with reviews pointing to a reliable establishment. One phone call was all it took to convince me I was doing the right thing and one week was all it took to get my own cleaning lady. And what’s more it’s not costing me as much and I’m covered by insurance, something that didn’t happen before.

Her name is Hannah, a petite good looking young lady with a lovely manner and energy to die for. In addition she does a brilliant job; quite the little whirlwind, yet thorough. I left her to sort out her own routine and I swear she didn’t waste one little minute. Oh, to have such energy! I still feel guilty for being unable to tackle the major household tasks but I still try to do my bit for my own self-satisfaction. ‘Take it by degrees’ is my new motto, I’ll just have to see if I can do that ... er ... with Hannah's help. 

Praying now that the gardening and window-cleaning guys stay put!! I would be in a mess if they disappeared. 


  1. Sad you lost Paola but Hannah seems like a real good find. I do my housework in bits and dabs these days and wonder how long it will be before I have to get outside help. A lot of people around here do.

  2. Valerie, I know how sad it must have been for you to lose Paola because when you get comfortable having the same person in your home for years, and you trust and enjoy them, it's not easy to change. But WOW...Hannah seems like the perfect new house cleaner for you!

    " And what’s more it’s not costing me as much and I’m covered by insurance, something that didn’t happen before."

    That's AWESOME!!!!

    And you deserve to have someone help with major household tasks, so don't feel guilty.

    Have a grrrreat week, dear lady!

  3. Sounds like Hannah has already had several cups of coffee before she arrives. So no coffee talk with Hannah.

  4. Hope your new helper works out great Val; having a cleaning person sounds like a luxury to me. Lucky you. But when I do, do a major clean I chalk it up to one great workout.;-)

    I hope Paola's new biz is a big success too.

  5. I wish Paola much luck with her future plans. I hope Hannah works out for you. It is a lot of work to keep up with housework.

  6. Sounds like Paola is a beautiful and helpful soul and I can see why you will miss her so greatly. Sometimes people come into our lives and they stay with us forever because of their impact :)

  7. Denise, you will know when the time is right to have help in the home ... just don't rush it.

  8. Good morning, Ron. Yes, it was good to have someone reliable in the house. Someone who knew all my idiosyncrasies and made allowances! Life goes on, though!

  9. Geraldine, I guess you're a lot younger than me so housework isn't so much of a problem. I remember the days.... no, I won't go there!

  10. Optimistic Existentialist - hello and welcome. You do have a long name! You are right, I will always rememeber Paola for what she was and what she meant to my family.

  11. It's hard to let an old friend go. It sounds like you got a good replacement though and hope everything works out for all. I could use a Hannah myself :)

  12. Does she have a phone number? Where does she live? Is she available on Thursdays?.....

  13. kden, it's worth it to have someone like Hannah, takes the backache out of housework and it doesn't cost much in the scheme of things.

  14. Susan, I could ask but I think the travelling might be too much ... smiles.

  15. You are lucky to have found someone good. In London I have had very mixed luck with cleaners, not that I have one at the moment - I'm talking of the time when I was busier and did need one. I hope it is the start of a long and happy relationship, and a splendid nail business for your last cleaner!


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