First of all, I trust all you gentle readers had a good Christmas, or, if you do not celebrate Christmas, that you had a good December 25 anyway.  Maybe it wasn’t so good if you wanted to go out to dinner or buy something at the grocery store and had to make do with whatever was available at the Rite Aid or the 7-Eleven, but hopefully that was not the case.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh, the niceties.  Yes, I hope your Christmas was as enjoyable as mine was.  Heck, I hope it was even more enjoyable, because it costs me nothing to wish you better fortune than I myself receive, though I myself received plenty.  Of good fortune.  So I can afford not to be bitter over how much better your life is than mine because I have nothing to complain about in the first place.* *Except what I might complain about over the course of this blog post, but even those complaints are relatively trivial and not to be taken seriously.

Now that manners and boilerplate are out of the way, let me tell you what’s rendering me perturbed at the moment.

1.  I’m beginning to think that it would be worth the $15,000-30,000 to have our windows replaced just to get the window salesmen to stop coming around here.  I’m not a fan of the door-to-door sales thing.  I’m especially not a fan of the door-to-door sales thing that poses as a non-sales thing.  “First of all, I’m not here to sell you anything.”  Well, if you’re not here to sell me something, why are you bothering me?  What’s in it for you?  Can’t we just be adults about this?  But that’s neither here nor there.  The main reason I don’t like the door-to-door sales thing is not because it’s irritating but because I hate saying “no.”  Not to kids.  No, I love saying “no” to my kids.  But to perfect strangers who never did me any harm and are only trying to make a living?  Gosh, that just breaks my freaking heart.  But I resent the heartbreak, gentle readers.  I resent feeling obligated to buy stuff I don’t need, and I resent feeling guilty about not buying it, so there’s no way I can win in this scenario.  I resent innocent people coming to my door and forcing me into a no-win situation.  And during the Christmas season, too.  Bastards.

And that is why I don’t like door-to-door sales.

It’s an embarrassing position to be in, incidentally–a Mormon who opposes door-to-door sales.  Don’t think I don’t grasp the irony.  But personally, I would much rather see Jehovah’s Witnesses on my porch than window salespersons.  I don’t feel guilty telling the Jehovah’s Witnesses that I’m not interested.  It’s not like their livelihood depends on me becoming a Jehovah’s Witness.  They’re not going to walk away sad about anything except that I’m going to hell.  I can handle that.  Not that I’ve ever had to tell a Jehovah’s Witness I wasn’t interested.  I’ve never had a Jehovah’s Witness be that direct with me.  Maybe it’s the region of the country I live in.  Maybe they’re just grateful when you don’t yell at them.  All I’m saying is I get the sense they’re not really in it to win it.  One of the important differences between Mormon missionaries and Jehovah’s Witnesses, incidentally.

The question is whether window salespersons are more like Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Mormons tend to travel by bike, whereas the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the window salespersons tend to travel by foot.  Mormons and window salespersons have little name tags.  Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have name tags.  Mormons travel in single-sex pairs.  Jehovah’s Witnesses and window salespersons can travel in mixed-gender groups.  But the most important things that they all have in common are that they show up on your doorstep unwanted and none of them are real Christians.* *According to the pamphlets I’ve read.

2.  It’s time for my annual angst over a holiday bonus/tip for the housekeepers.  I will have to tell it in novel form.

I hired a cleaning service in 2007.  When they started, it was always the same team that came.  If it wasn’t the exact same set of ladies each time, at least one of them was consistently there each visit.  They did a great job.  In September of that year the house caught on fire and since we weren’t living in the house anymore, we stopped the cleaning service.  We opted not to use it at our rental and just clean it our damn selves, since we were hemorrhaging cash at the time.

We did hire the same service to do a move-out clean of said rental in December–specifically December 31.  I’m pretty sure I blogged an angry blog about that experience at the time.  How may I put it succinctly?  We hired them to clean the rental.  Someone put in the wrong code and the housekeeping team (a different one, not the old one) showed up at our real house, which we were in the process of moving back into and which was therefore filled with boxes and all manner of other crap.  Finding the house in this condition, the housekeepers did not clean it (though they were nice enough to leave a note about getting the house ready for cleaning and re-scheduling for another time).  I will leave out the part where I was livid whilst spending several hours trying to get hold of a supervisor who would take my call and believe that they had sent the team to the wrong house.  At 4:30 p.m. I (miraculously, still don’t know how it happened, in retrospect) got a supervisor to understand that an error had been made.  Not that she admitted it was an error.  I’m leaving out the part where she was a bitch, pardon my francais. Anyway, she sent a team over to clean the (correct) house, which they did, albeit not very carefully, for which I can’t completely blame them, for they were being asked unexpectedly to do a move-out clean at the last minute on a major holiday eve.  Whatever.  None of what made me really angry was the fault of the housekeepers themselves, but that’s just the background you need for the following.

When we resumed the housekeeping service in January 2008, a new team started coming to the house.  They weren’t quite as good as the old housekeepers, and frankly, they were a bit surly–which was fine, actually, because it’s not like I’m a big box of giggles myself.  At any rate, they lasted three or four visits, and then a different team started coming, and that is pretty much how it’s been ever since.  I have never had the same people cleaning my house for more than a couple visits in a row.  Often it’s a different team from visit to visit; generally, they do a fine job, but some are better than others.  In any case, they’re all doing a job I don’t like to do myself, so I can’t bring myself to complain.

This is all very nouveau riche and gauche of me, but I’ve had conflicting advice about whether or not I should be tipping/bonusing the housekeepers at the holidays.  As of now, I have had the same team cleaning my house for the last five or six cleans.  That is a record for the post-fire era.  They do a very good job.  I would like to give them a holiday thank-you.  However, historically, there has been no guarantee that I will have the same housekeepers from one visit to the next, especially not around the holidays, so if I leave something extra for the cleaning crew, it may very well go to some strangers I’ve never seen before who may or may not do a great job.  Some people say if you have a service that doesn’t send the same people every time, such niceties as holiday bonuses and tips are unnecessary.  Other people (I suspect former housekeepers) say that you should especially tip people who work for a service and you should do it every time, not just at Christmas.

Well, half the time I don’t even see my housekeepers, so I don’t know if they’re going to be the usual people until after they’ve been here and leave the receipt that says, “Your house was professionally cleaned by Team #Whatever aka Lexi and America (or Whoever),” and I certainly don’t know in advance if the new team is going to do as good a job as the last team did.  However, I suppose that if I’m going to get all philosophical about it, everyone could use a bonus at the end of the year and why should I be so concerned about whether it’s Team #Last5or6Times or Team #WhoKnows?  Hence, the angst.

3.  There’s a lot of fudge lying around here that lends itself very well to being eaten by yours truly.  I felt so guilty about the amount of fudge I ate yesterday that I went out to the (freezing cold) garage last night and rode the exercise bike and worked off nearly three-quarters of a piece worth of fudge.  Whee.  That’s serious.  Fudge has a lot of calories.  I would probably have to ride the exercise bike continuously between now and next February to come out ahead, but that’s neither here nor there.  The point is that there’s a lot of fudge-eating going on by one particular human being in the house, and it bodes ill for the coming year.  That’s all.