So my daughter has gone off to kindergarten and I am sitting here waiting for my housekeepers to show up. They’ve been coming at 8:30 a.m. for the last month, so it’s about time for them to change things up a bit and start coming at 3 p.m. again. That will not be convenient, as I have not arranged for my children to be someplace else during the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. I should have done that. I should have been doing that for the last five years, just arranging to have my children go someplace else after school every other Wednesday on the off chance that that will be when the housekeepers show up. That’s what a smart person does, but I’m not smart. At least the weather’s nice today, so in theory I can threaten them with bodily harm if they do not go to the park instead of hanging around the house getting in the way of it being cleaned. When it’s raining, I don’t feel as comfortable with that option.

It’s reminding me that in one month’s time I will have the kids home with me all day every day, and I don’t know what I’m going to do then. It is very difficult to plan activities for four people ages 6-14 that last all day long. Correction: it is very difficult for me to plan activities for four people ages 6-14 that last all day long. It doesn’t seem like it should be, and yet it is. Probably because there isn’t anywhere I want to go all day. What’s a good all-day trip that will appeal to children of all ages that won’t make me want to freaking kill myself 30 minutes into it? The beach is an all-day trip. All the kids would enjoy going to the beach. I don’t like the beach, and moreover, I don’t feel confident in my ability to provide adequate supervision for four children in the ocean simultaneously. In theory, the older two shouldn’t need that much supervision. But the younger two might need enough supervision for four. But now we’re getting away from the fact that I just don’t like the beach, and moreover, coming home with a bunch of sandy people sort of defeats the purpose of having the house cleaned while you’re gone. So forget it. No beach. Not that I was ever in a million years going to take the children to the beach because I don’t like it there.

Why don’t I like the beach? Because it’s sandy and windy and in Oregon usually cold. But mostly it’s the sand thing. And then there’s the water factor. Water always complicates everything. And I’m no fun, but that goes without saying by now, or at least it should.

So what else is there? The zoo. The zoo can be an all-day thing. I don’t like the zoo either, and it’s expensive, but in theory I could take them all there and at least they wouldn’t be sandy when they came home. But gah, the freaking zoo.

I’m sorry, but at a certain point in my life I became okay with the fact that I’m not any fun. After a couple decades or so of trying to be fun because I felt guilty about not being fun, I realized that it just wasn’t working. So now I go through the motions of doing fun things but I no longer try to pretend that I’m enjoying it. I don’t sit around and whine about it once I’m committed to the activity. I just don’t pretend that I’m going to like it because I won’t. Fifty-seven trips to the zoo later, I know I’m not having fun. Call it a moral failing or a psychological defect, pity me or despise me, but this is what I am. I’m too old to make like something else.

I just remembered that my mother-in-law will be back up here next month, so in theory I could ask her to come with us wherever we end up going. Or I could just send the kids over to her house to make her crazy. As if I won’t be doing that every single day anyway. Ha ha.

Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last couple hours. A lot of soul-searching, in addition to the usual pre-housekeeper tasks like wondering how hard it is to put your toothbrush in the toothbrush holder or flush the toilet when appropriate or keep your STUPID crap off the STUPID floor for more than five STUPID FRACKING SECONDS at a time. My kids will all be in school full-time in September. In theory, I will then have enough time alone in my house when I could clean it my damn self. I think, actually, that that is what my husband is counting on. Part of me feels like that would be very liberating. The rational part of me thinks, “What, are you kidding? That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. Who willingly gives up a lifestyle where other people mop your floors?” Well, I might. I think I probably should, in fact.

Especially if they’re not going to show up until all the kids are home from school anyway.

Here are the relevant facts:

1. Currently the housekeepers keep me on a schedule of making sure that the house is in a state of relative order every two weeks. I can’t emphasize the value of this service enough. If the housekeepers don’t provide it, who will? No one, that’s who. I will have to make myself do it. I can’t even make myself take a trip to the beach. What do you think is going to happen when I’m in charge of my own schedule?

2. The only housekeeping tasks I really mind doing myself are cleaning the bathtub and shower and mopping the floors. I absolutely despise mopping floors. And cleaning the tub and shower are way up there on the despise-o-meter. Perhaps the thing I despise more than anything else, though, is picking up everybody’s stupid crap off the floor–which I’m already doing anyway, so whatever.

3. Everyone else should be picking their own stupid crap off the floor. Don’t you think I know that?

4. Everyone else should be doing their share of the dishes and the laundry and the toilet bowl cleaning, too, now that I think about it. I mean, this is hardly the first time I’ve thought about this. I think about it almost every day, how much housework my children don’t do and how much they complain about the little they’re asked to do. As much as they complain about how little they’re asked to do, I may as well ask them to do more. Don’t you think I know that?

5. I am a complete failure as a parent and possibly as a human being. Oh, wait, this isn’t a fact, it’s just my opinion after marinating in the juices of my own inadequacies for the last couple hours. But it’s still relevant.

Inadequacy juice doesn’t seem like something you want to be anywhere around, does it? It’s really kind of a gross metaphor, when I reflect on it.

I could save about $2600 a year, give or take, by giving up my housekeeping service. But what would it cost me in sanity dollars? That’s the question. With all the existential angst that surrounds the housekeeping-service issue, could I actually save sanity dollars by giving it up? What would the debit and credit columns look like in the sanity ledger? There’s really only one way to find out.

But if I wanted to experiment, I would have been a scientist.