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The thing you need to understand is that people in London have cleaners. It sounds like the height of decadence, but when you live in a flat with five other people, it actually just makes sense.

Though I do not live in a flat with five other people, I do share with CatLady and her cat who is fluffy, which causes there to be rather a lot of hair in the carpet. Even with weekly and thorough hoovering.

So, the other day, CatLady announced that she wanted to get a cleaner. Now, before your jaw drops to the floor, let me also say that hiring a wonderful person (who, let’s face it, is probably going to be a lady) is not actually that expensive. I had a choice: I could either pitch in and help pay for this woman’s services, or I could spend every other weekend cleaning.

Now, the other thing is that CatLady’s idea of clean and mine differ. She believes, and who am I to judge, that things like windows and ovens need cleaning on a semi-regular basis. She’s also a fan of dusting. I, however, being raised by The Mom, who takes a somewhat lax attitude toward house keeping, believe that ovens get cleaned maybe once or twice a year, that rain will probably clean the windows just fine and though I know The Mom dusts, I’d just as well rather not.

Our flat is not in any way unclean. It’s just not spotless. It’s driving CatLady to distraction. So I figured, since the way I’m going to clean the flat won’t be up to her standards, that it would just be easier to pitch in.

At some point we will now have a cleaner. My problem was in how to tell The Mom. Living an ocean apart, I suppose I could’ve just skipped over it and not mentioned it, but The Mom likes to be abreast of any and all situations, so I broke the news to her.

And she reacted pretty much as I’d expected.

“You what?!”

“It’s okay.”

“How lazy are you? You can’t clean your own bathroom?”

“We’re busy!”

“How long can it possibly take? Besides which, I know what you do in a bathroom! You cannot let anyone else clean up after you!”

“I’m contributing to the local economy…” I said rather feebly.

“The hell you are.”

“There really isn’t much choice in the matter. Besides, between my fulltime day job, my freelance work, and my fiction writing, and the token social life, and the constant exercising I have to do in order to stay mobile, there actually isn’t much time. I know I don’t sleep much, but still, a few hours’ kip is probably good.”

“I have a big house and I don’t have a cleaning lady. If I can do it…”

Eventually, The Mom realised all her ranting about my sheer and utter laziness wasn’t going to change anything and let it go. Maybe for her birthday this year I’ll get a cleaning service to come to her house.

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