Things I’ve learned in my “retirement”/unemployment

A few weeks ago, my job was eliminated in a reorganization, and I’ve found myself with some extra time on my hands. Thanks to a generous severance package and always living below our financial means, I’ve decided to take a few months off while enjoying a very busy summer.

As I’ve decompressed, I’ve settled into a new routine of busy-ness. I’m still doing all of the household duties I’ve always handled–coordinating and arranging logistics for the family’s kids’ commitments, tackling the laundry, shopping for groceries and prepping meals–that kind of “busy” that has to be done each week.

But I’ve also been tackling some other projects around the house, and in doing so, I’ve learned a few things about myself. I had no trouble scribbling a list of these findings in just a few minutes, and I could add to the list each day, but here was my first big realization:

I hate to clean, but I do a better job at it than the cleaning service.

My splurge for the last ten years has been a cleaning service. Actually, we’ve had one for most of the last 18 years. For $70 each Friday, I guaranteed that I could enjoy my weekend without having to swab the toilets or scrub the floors. Of course, this luxury was the first thing to be scratched from the budget when my income disappeared. Why pay someone when I would be home to do it?

I can assure you that I’ve learned a lot by doing the work myself. The cleaning team does not seem to move items when they dust. Baseboards and small items on shelves seem to present the biggest challenges. The kids bathroom might need to be cleaned more than once a week? And yes, I scrub toilets better than the professionals.

Also, I didn’t realize just how expensive cleaning products are, and I need so many different types–products for cleaning the hardwood floors, tile cleaner, bathroom cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, swiffers, furniture polish, sponges, glass cleaner, stainless steel cleaner, etc. I had to make an upfront investment since because my cleaning team always provided their own.

The first week, armed with enthusiasm, I did a thorough cleaning of the whole house. It took me the entire day to do what two professionals did in 60 to 90 minutes each week. But I think a lot of that was doing a good baseline scrubbing. The wooden window blinds, found in five rooms in my house, had enough dust on them to plant seedlings.

My hubby came down from his upstairs office for lunch and asked how it was going. I announced that I’d found my inspiration for launching into my job search, because I wanted my cleaners back! However, I will be giving them feedback on their service.

What else have I learned?  Watch for future posts on these revelations:

  1. Our paperwork is in disarray.
  2. We might have some hoarding tendencies.
  3. Given all the time in the world, I still find excuses not to exercise or eat better.
  4. I could totally nap every. single. afternoon.
  5. I could wear yoga pants every day and be happy.
  6. There is still fat in our budget.
  7. I find it difficult to be a happy volunteer.
  8. I enjoy reading.
  9. Daytime TV still sucks.

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