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When I was young, about high school age, I cleaned my room about twice year. I had to. It would get so bad that even I couldn't stand it, and it had to be cleaned before the Board of Health showed up in Hazmat suits to throw me out of my own room.

Once I got in cleaning mode, I was amazing. I only knew how to do it one way. I pulled everything (yes, everything) out of the room and painted the walls and floors. I then carefully washed and cleaned everything before putting it back. My room would look magnificent … for about a week.

It's not that I don't like a clean room or house. I do. It's more that I don't see the dirt until it starts to accumulate, growing itself like a cancer.

After my divorce, when I lived alone, I thought I had it under control. I would even do laundry. When my clothes were washed, I would put them into the dryer and turn it on. I didn't empty the dryer; that just seemed like extra work. Every morning, if I needed underwear, socks, or something else, I would head to the dryer and turn it on for a couple of minutes to fluff things up. Then, I would pull out what I needed to wear and leave the rest in the dryer. Do you have any idea how much time I saved by not having to put my clothes away?

Eventually, the creeping crud got ahead of me and I called in a couple of cleaning ladies to help me out. They would come in every two weeks and clean the whole place. Convinced that I finally had the problem licked, I invited the Lovely Louise to spend the night in my spanking-clean abode.

Looking around the living room, she asked me how often I cleaned. “I don't clean,” I said proudly. “I have two cleaning ladies who come in every other week.” Shaking her head sadly, she said that since they knew it was a single man living there, they only did a “man clean.” Puzzled, I asked what she meant, and she explained it to me. A man clean is when you only clean the areas you can easily see, and ignore the rest. She then pointed out all the unclean areas I had not noticed.

When we moved into our new house, Louise took over the cleaning chores—and she's amazing. I often see her cleaning things I had no idea were even dirty. I don't like seeing her clean. She's got much better things to do than clean the house. I've insisted that she hire some cleaning help, but she hasn't been able to find anyone who will clean to her exacting standards. As I write this, there are two women in the house cleaning away, and my fondest wish is that when Louise comes home, the house passes her inspection. She doesn't use white gloves, but man, can she spot an area that wasn't cleaned “properly.”

There have been times when I've volunteered to clean, but my efforts are so subpar that she just ends up cleaning everything all over again. I've given up. The only thing I care about is the kitchen. I do the cooking, and I just can't cook in a kitchen that's not really, really clean. I've gotten pretty good at it, so if you need your kitchen cleaned, I'm your man!

But if the whole house is a problem, you’d belter call Louise.


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