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Published: Sunday, May 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Thanks to cleaners, the house has never looked so good

Thank you, broken wrist. While I recover from an ice skating fall, we have hired a housecleaning service.

I'm enjoying it while it lasts, even though it requires major effort to prep the night before.

“Why do we have to clean up for the cleaners?” my son asked.

“So they don't trip,” my husband answered.

It's not like we're hoarders or anything, but my kids have a lot of toys. For my own part, I'm the person who leaves kitchen cabinets wide open and drops my bathrobe on the floor.

By the time we've put away the clutter, there's already a big difference. So I was really curious to see what housecleaners would do next.

Would our house look “move-in ready”? Would the shower change color?

The first service we tried I'll call “Sparkling House.” They had an online coupon for $15 dollars an hour, not including cleaning supplies or a tip.

According to the website it would take seven and a half hours to clean my house. The nice part was I could book online without any consultation visit.

The Sparkling House cleaner who came was hard-working and friendly. But she spent six hours upstairs, which left little time to clean the main living areas of the house.

Yes, the kids' rooms looked great, but dusting Legos used up a lot of time. Then she took an hour and a half break, which seemed reasonable. But it meant she was still cleaning when my family ate dinner.

Our Sparkling House experience cost $145 and left me questioning their business model.

Do their workers earn a living wage? How are they trained? Those questions made me feel uncomfortable. Plus our house was only halfway cleaned, so I decided to try someplace else.

The next service I tried I'll call “Tidy Home.” For an initial visit, they quoted me $70 an hour for two workers including all of the cleaning supplies. Yikes! That was a lot more expensive, but thankfully I had a coupon.

The Tidy Home cleaners were dynamos. They scoured parts of my stovetop that I didn't know existed.

And guess what? Our shower really did change color — in a good way. It looks like it's brand new, instead of 30 years old.

But the $220 price tag was pretty steep and a follow up visit for $137 wasn't in our budget.

Then I went to the doctor and got my cast taken off. Yay for being waterproof. Boo for having to resume my normal vacuuming duties.

Or maybe not …

The surgeon said that for the next two weeks I'm supposed to focus on gaining mobility in my wrist, not strength.

I chose to interpret that as him saying, “Jenny, you are not supposed to scrub toilets.”

So clearly, $137 should be considered a medical expense, don't you think?

Jennifer Bardsley blogs at http://teaching mybabytoread.com.

Story tags » Parenting

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