Or, The Top Ten (or more) Things I've Learned From Commercial Cleaning
As many of you know, my husband and I own a commercial cleaning business. When A Prophecy Forgotten first came out, I helped out with the actual cleaning. (I've blogged about it, too. See "Memoirs of a Cleaning Lady" and "Don't Blush While Wearing Concealer.") For a while, I was able to quit the cleaning part and concentrate on writing and promotion. With this economy the way it is, however, I have again taken up the mop and toilet brush--only this time, the labor has intensified.
We have taken on outside cleaning of property associations--mainly cleaning condo railings, corners, pools, pool baths, and exercise rooms. This means a lot of outside work, which involves 70 SPF sunscreen (I hate tanning.), a silly bucket cap (which I make look cute with pig tails), and a whole lot of elbow grease. I work about 15 hours a week--11 of it on Fridays. I probably clean over 20 toilets, and I wipe down and remove cobwebs from railings, which involves stairs. On a typical Friday, I will clean about 40 flights of stairs. It's actually fun. I take two damp rags--one in each hand--and clean the railings as I run up the stairs. (Running gives me quite a leg workout.) Of course, I live down in South Florida, so the wildlife outside can be insane--especially since we rarely have a good bug-killing freeze.
As much as I dislike Fridays (and Wednesday nights when I clean office buildings), I can say that I have learned a lot from cleaning. (Lessons in life are always around. You just have to look for them.) So here's a list of things that I've learned so far...
- Where there is a cobweb, there is usually a cob... Down here, our spiders include black widows and brown recluses (whose poison will eat through your skin and muscle if not stopped), so I'm not a big fan of spiders.
- Don't try to kill a spider by punching at it through two railings. If you're off by half-an-inch, you could slam your thumb into one the railings instead of the spider and pop a blood vessel. (On that note, you should never try to kill a spider that is crawling on a windshield--especially if you are in karate. I aimed the heel of my hand at a spider that was crawling on a windshield once, forgetting that I have broken boards with the same move. The windshield shattered, but stayed together until we could get to a repair shop. A total accident, but I now know I can get out of a car if I'm trapped and it's sinking in 20 ft of water...)
- All frogs are trained in the froggy airborne division.
- If you accidentally spray a frog that is hiding behind a bathroom stall door with disinfectant, the frog will quickly become airborne. (Ask me about the frog that left an outside women's bathroom after I sprayed it only to be accidentally sprayed again after it took cover in the men's bathroom. No, I'm not making it up. The frog attacked me twice in two different bathrooms.)
- The frog's angle of flight will usually be aimed at you.
- Frogs feel cold and slimy on the back of your neck.
- I hate frogs.
- Lizards do not have airborne divisions. I therefore like lizards better than frogs.
- If you want to make your legs feel like lead for a few days, run up 40 flights of stairs.
And things I've learned cleaning office buildings:
- Regarding garbage cans under the desk: Most women should not play basketball. (Hey, I call it as I see it. That or most women are lazy if it's not their house. Take your pick. Either way, ladies, half your trash doesn't end up in your garbage cans, and I have to clean it up.)
- Regarding overall bathroom cleanliness: Sorry ladies. Guys bathrooms are cleaner. Women leave paper towels all over the place (see "women and basketball" above) and have little trinkets like scented candles and lace that I have to clean around. I rarely have to clean up any paper towel messes in a guys' bathroom. I suspect it's because guys don't hang out in bathrooms; they do their business and leave. Women use bathrooms as conference rooms, costume changing rooms, make up rooms... That, and I really do believe women tend to be lazy if it's not their house.
- Actually, let's just cut to the chase. Women are messier than men, and their cubicles are much messier than men's. Hey, I just call it as I see it--and clean it.
- Regarding urinals and aim: A few of you guys out there simply should never take up sharp shooting.
- The higher paying the job, the cleaner the office. I don't know why that is, but there is a definite correlation. It probably has to do with pride in one's work translating to overall office cleanliness.
- The higher paying the job, the better the aim at the garbage can. Don't know why that is either.