cleaningRight now, I’m huddled in the basement bedroom as a flurry of activity takes place upstairs. The vacuum is whirring across the living room floor. The clean lemon scent of Lysol is wafting down the stairs. And cupboards are getting wiped that have needed to get wiped for a long time.

The best thing is all I have to do is sit here and let it happen. I can’t say it’s the beach, but it’s pretty close to paradise.

A few weeks ago, my friend Candice casually asked me what I wanted for my 35th while we were working out at the gym. As I checked my phone, and discovered I’d been assigned several stories, I sighed and complained the living room just wasn’t going to get dusted as planned. I was immediately irritated, not because I had any desire to dust the living room, but because I knew I needed to and now didn’t have the time, which is exactly how it had gotten so dusty in the first place.

Upon arriving home and diving into the stories, I received a cheerful text from Candice informing me a day of cleaning was my birthday gift.

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about what I would have her housekeeper do. Thinking about what I can pawn off and not do myself is in itself an exercise in luxury.

I think of all the bad housework there is — and, really, there’s quite a lot of it — the worst has got to be cleaning toilets. Of course, there is the obvious gross factor but there’s also the fact that they need to be done pretty regularly.

When it comes to our toilets in particular, I’ve gotten myself into quite a bind because I invested in the Scrubbing Bubbles kit, which comes with a cleaning wand that you insert with a sponge-like cleaner that you can flush after you’re finished.

When I saw it in the grocery, I thought it looked like a nifty little set-up and bought five of them. That was before I realized the smell of the cleaner is like a bad combination of bubble gum and vinegar, an aroma so bad it gives me a stomachache. So now I find myself not only wanting to avoid cleaning toilets for obvious reasons, but also for that sickly bubblegum scent.

Making beds is also a pretty crappy job, especially if done alone. This one at least gives you the satisfaction of knowing you’ll smell clean sheets when you crawl into them that night, but wrestling a cover sheet over the corners and getting it nice and smooth — especially if the bed is against a wall — can make you feel like you’re playing a painfully sober game of Twister.

Cleaning the fridge, another bad, gunky, sticky job. Cleaning out the trashcan, or behind the trashcan, equally gross. Shower scum? Yeesh.

As I was making my mental list of what I wanted done, I quickly realized it’s probably rude to give the housekeeper the worst jobs. How, after all, do you ask someone to clean your own toilets? Same, too, for the making of the beds. Seems almost too intimate, doesn’t it? Like you’re asking someone to wash your underwear or something. As for the fridge, in my view, it can only be cleaned properly by the person who does the cooking.

In addition to not knowing what jobs to assign, as Cleaning Day approached, I was becoming increasingly uneasy that the housekeeper would think I was a bad housekeeper. So at 7 this morning, I was scouring the kitchen getting the house ready to be cleaned. The night before I feverishly vacuumed the basement.

But once she arrived, armed with her cleaning supplies and vacuum, I realized I was being ridiculous.

“Clean it top to bottom?” she asked unabashedly, assessing the floors with the toe of her shoe.

“Whatever you feel like,” I said.

“I’m on it,” she said.

And so I sit in the basement bedroom, getting a little high off cleaning supplies and enjoying every last minute of it. It’s one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever gotten.

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