My LA story, Posts, Soapbox

To get a housekeeper … or not?

I’m living in Beverly Hills surrounded by people with full-time housekeepers.  When we left Australia I had a cleaner come each week.  I was under the impression it was cheaper in the US so perhaps I’d get myself someone to come twice a week and perhaps (if she was Mexican) she could cook for us once a week and I’d learn a few new recipes.

I sent out some messages saying I’m looking for a cleaner (housekeeper as they’re known here).

The first call I got from a prospective “housekeeper”  didn’t show up.  I gather we were too far away.  The second couple of mates showed up unannounced one day and I thought it was a sign that this would be it.

They said they needed four hours for the two of them to clean my house from top to bottom (and of course they’d do a fabulous job).  Longer if I wanted them to iron.  My house isn’t that big.  It’s about the same size as (actually a bit smaller if anything) than my house in Australia and my cleaner did my whole house by herself in four hours.  And let me tell you she wasn’t the fastest mover.

I think the 90210 postcode automatically jacks up the price.  I explained that it was cheaper in Australia and they discounted their services by $10.  They would not iron saving me more money.  Could it really take these two ladies four hours a week to do what my one cleaner did in the same time?  I don’t think so.

So I got to thinking I may as well pocket that money and get my hair done once a week or lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel sitting by the pool rather than give them my money they were trying to fleece from me.  Memories of my time in Shanghai came flooding back when you were constantly wondering if that was the going rate or the expat rate.  It was decided, no housekeeper for me.

At around the same time I decided I’d start this blog.  It’s now my full-time job (albeit generating zero income–blatant plug sponsors wanted) so the housework is a bloody hassle to fit in.

Enter my family.  I know he was winding me up (which is not that hard most of the time) but my husband has this little bee in his bonnet that just because he’s Mr Hollywood and I don’t have a job that my job should be to perform the housecleaning duties.  You can imagine how elated he was when I decided against hiring the cleaners.  I’m sure he’d even prefer it if I donned a uniform so I knew my place was to clean the house daily and wash, cook and iron.  Ahhh moving to BH and relegated as the housekeeper, how all my dreams have finally come true.

I mentioned we lived in Shanghai.  That was a few years ago.  Ironically before we even moved there he had secured a live-in ayi (maid) to work six days a week.  It was the done thing and he saw no issue with that at the time.

Still on the family (not surprisingly) our house had never been cleaner or tidier.  Everyone would make their beds (because they didn’t want ayi to do it); clothes would be put away (same reason) and if toilets were “soiled” they’d quickly be cleaned.  OK, except my daughter.  She left a trail of destruction everywhere she went and still does.

Fast forward to 2014 in 90210 and I’m living with three sloths who absolutely don’t do any of the above.  How ironic they’re cleaner with a full-time live-in helper than with me as the full-time “help”.

Take this recent exchange between Mr H & me:

Mr H: “I see my dinner suit pants are still on the chair.  I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take you to put those away.”

Me: “Oh, really.  How funny.  I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take YOU to put them away.  Last time I looked I wasn’t an ayi.”

Mr H: “But it’s your job.”

Me: “Oh is it really?  I’ve moved to Beverly Hills to become a cleaner.  Lucky me.  I am moving up in the world.”

… and so the conversation went.

Maybe I need to rethink my logic and hire a full-time housekeeper if nothing but to teach everyone how to clean up after themselves again.

xx It Started in LA xx

Psst … if you would like to sponsor my full-time housekeeper I’m open to a deal.  Anything to avoid me donning the chamber-maid outfit.

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  • Reply Kerrie February 19, 2014 at 3:30 am

    Lovely Gwen
    I am loving your gusto to which you have taken on this 90210 lifestyle… Btw when I see 90210 I immediately think of Brenda Walsh and the gang, but I digress.

    My thoughts are your family need to “keep it real.” You are not raising your kids to be waited on hand and foot as you know this will lead to disaster when they are older. With regard to your hubby? Well, and I say this with love, is he really “Mr Hollywood” ? If so then you should be “Mrs Hollywood” and you deserve all the perks that come with it. It’s not the 1950’s anymore.! Being a full time Mum is a full time job and in this day and age we all need help and if one can afford the help then more power to you! Being a full time single mum and full time small business owner I crave for the financial stability to be able to afford the luxuries but in the meantime life is what you make of it with no regrets, jealousy or wanting. I hope that makes sense.
    Keep up your awesomeness and Mr Gwen pick up your own pants..again I say this with love.

    Xx K

    Pps My Barbie Hat has your name on it for Halloween., you will be the best dressed at your Hollywood party.

    • Reply ItStartedInLA February 19, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Kerrie…! I know how busy you are to think you spent the time to read my blog and share your thoughts means the world girlfriend!
      Let me assure you that he picked his own pants –and will continue to do so as long as we live in the same house! Alas my aspirations to have a housekeeper are on hold until one of us becomes a Hollywood powerbroker (or get a bigger house). In the meantime I’ll keep the house clean (with a little help from my friends) and continue to go out and enjoy life. After all, I have a blog to write and I owe it to me & everyone else to keep on writing & keep on sharing!!
      PS I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear about the hat!

  • Reply Brangelina, Dance moms & the Princess | It Started In LA June 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    […] of my first Blog posts was asking the question whether or not I do the very LA thing of getting a housekeeper.  My final decision was not to because it seemed like my postcode jacked the prices up and because […]

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