Keep it Clean, Please

My son was recently seeking a “cleaning savant” on Craig’s List. He decided that he had had enough of Saturday housekeeping chores in his apartment. Interestingly, he received a response from a young lady, Donna, who explained that she would be more than happy to provide housekeeping duties. Here is her price list: Fully clothed – $100; Lingerie (costume/bikini, etc.) – $125; Topless – $150; and nude – $175.

Times are tough. I recall, when the recession first bloomed toward the end of 2008, a lot of people began dropping their discretionary expenses faster than Donna can drop her drawers. This included, among other things, rounds of golf, Saturday nights on the town, chocolate ice cream, mistresses and housekeepers.

Those providing services of the latter, being instinctively aware of the machinations of capitalism, and a tad more bashful than Donna, followed with a reduction in their fees in order to retain business. Coincidentally, I had recently moved into a new home at the time and had previously gone without assistance with these chores for a spell. However, with those lower prices, I felt that I could afford to splurge and signed on with Rosie and her mother, Sonia, to help me keep my abode habitable.

We all know that many have suffered terribly from this recession. And since its onset in late 2008, I think it is safe to say that we have all become far more attuned to the day-to-day costs of living in America. And there are those of us who, although fortunate enough to have managed to keep our jobs and our homes during the downturn, have become pointedly more frugal if for no other reason than not knowing for sure whether we would be the next to stumble, even though our incomes may not have changed at all. Fear tends to focus one’s attention.

But lately I have witnessed a glimmer of hope in the eyes many Americans as they browse the display racks at their local Targets and Best Buys. People are edging back into the pool a little at a time, testing the water to make sure it’s not too cold. The nightly economic news remains unpredictable and scary (seems some of our Greek friends are trying to remember where in their back yards they buried those coffee cans full of Drachmas). But at least there are some positive indictors showing up on the radar. Restaurant business is picking up and unemployment queues are shortening. And, fortunately, even rising gasoline prices seem to be barely dampening spirits.  Everyone has their fingers crossed—we are all desperate to get things back to normal. Even though we are no longer sure exactly what normal is.

I have been thinking about sharing Donna’s price list with Rosie and Sonia, just to see what they might be willing to counter for similar services. But I would expect a discount since I am not normally present when they clean my house.

Red Bud City

Here’s a little musical ode to my idyllic hometown of Buchanan, Michigan, also known as Red Bud City. Hope you like it.

Clyde’s dale

I’ve always loved horses. Probably because, as I’ve noted in earlier essays, I was raised on a seemingly unending series of TV westerns during my childhood back in the 50’s (remember this? Cowboys and Cowgirls)…

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