International Travel, Goats, and Maids Named Mami

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As I sit here watching Goatie eat my husband’s suspenders from the other side of the table and coming perilously close to knocking over the Connect Four, sending game pieces flying in all directions, it occurs to me that I should probably tell you the big family news.

My husband is moving out of the country for work.

I am not sure if I am supposed to say that some other way? I get three reactions to this news: a guarded expression, a concerned expression, and a gleeful expression (from those who think this means I’m getting divorced, which I am not).  In the future if I can’t tell if someone is a good egg or rotten, this could be the test question (feel free to borrow it, women).

The Universe Listens

I did say to the universe, if there’s stuff that is going to go wrong right after my husband leaves please let it go wrong before he goes so HE can fix it.  He does it with ease.  Me, not so much.

Last week my car broke down and I didn’t know it.  I went in for a long overdue oil change and found out I needed $2,000 of repairs, on top of the $1600 in repairs I did just under a year ago when the car broke down the week before I started my new job.

So similarly to going back to work, my husband leaving the country is an even bigger transition and apparently my car knows when these things are happening.

Without much warning it kindly did not stop on me but instead allowed me to roll right in to the dealership.  The dealership’s answer to everything is,”Sixteen hundred dollars.”  Mike has had my car hostage for 4 days checking it over and naturally he found some more things.  Meanwhile my coworkers are telling me that I am insane to take my car to the dealer, but I’m telling you I have no time to take it from place to place and find out if that $600 hose really does have an after-market version.

Then it started raining in the living room (roof repair).  My husband needed his first pair of glasses ($900 and a argument over LensCrafters versus Costco where I got three pair for $425 last year).  A whole slew of other things that were coming up anyway like summer camp for two boys had to go on the credit card.  We had just paid the credit cards off from the dog’s getting hit by a car debacle (he’s fine, by the way) and the $6,000 in taxes from 2012.  I just didn’t want to have to buy a car right now.

Why Does It Have To Be About The Money?

I recently had an opportunity to get a job where I’d be making what I used to make.  The difference is about half of my current annual salary, which is to say I’m making 40% less now than I did at my last job.  As you can see, we could use the money.

There was something about the job that really turned me off.  The logical part of me said,”Hey, your husband is leaving the country so now you are going to be like a single mother and have to be responsible for anything and everything that goes wrong in the house plus take the two kids to two different schools every day and pick them up and work a full-time job and…(collapse).  So maybe taking a new job with presumably much more responsibility is just not a good idea right now.”

I’m the kind of person who consistently ignores that kind of logic and goes on the interview anyway and takes the job “because we need the money” but this time, I didn’t.  They wanted to hire me and even chased me a bit but I felt like it was the wrong thing to do, so for once, I didn’t.

Why Are You Letting Him Go After Nineteen Years?

Most people have asked me if my husband is going to be making a ton of money, if he’s closing his business and leaving the country?  No.  Well, they want to know, is he at least making enough so that I don’t have to work?  Absolutely not.  So why, they want to know, am I letting him go?

I think that whole “letting him go” concept is wrong.  Marriage is not indentured servitude.  I think.  Nonetheless, we never got that far into the conversation.  He said he’d been asked to go and I said yes without thinking it over or hesitating.

I knew it was coming,  and while it did surprise me that he wasn’t going to work locally (the company headquarters is a far but not impossible drive from here), somehow, illogical as it may be, it instantly felt right so I said yes, move out of the country for a year or two and we’ll see what happens.

He’ll come back and forth and the kids and I went to the courthouse to apply for passports (over $500) and we’ll see him in two months or so.

I feel like I’ve been running a race and everything is about to change.  I have been with this man for nearly 19 years.  Nineteen!  Other than the trips he’s taken for work here and there, every other day and night of my life he’s been there.  Now he won’t be.

He’s leaving me armed.  I’ll have the dogs to keep me posted.  The owls are here who-whoing every time a car or truck pulls up.  I have a repairman checking on me every week or two.  We started a maid service yesterday to come and help me corral the enormous mess.

Nothing More Annoying Than Women Who Will Not Listen

Before I go, I have to tell you about the maid service.

This is a mother/daughter team.  They came in and I found out (surprise, surprise) that I don’t have anything they needed.

I don’t know what “a duster” is but apparently it’s NOT a feather duster nor is it those towels you put on the end of a stick.

I tried to explain not to move anything.  Don’t touch the pool table (which is covered with my husband’s business receipts).  Don’t touch the desk (which is covered with bins of school papers and personal receipts).  They asked me for a bin to corral the toys and “make them look nice” and I said not to move anything out of the room it is currently in, or on top of everything else I will have three people asking me to find all of their stuff, probably at the moment I finally sat down or while we are trying to get out the door to school and work in the morning.

I said,”Just do the floors.  Vacuum and mop.”  The daughter warned me that her Mami was OCD “but in a good way.”

I thought,”She is never going to make it here.”

I tried to talk to Mami.  I said, listen, I have the kids and all of these pets and all I really want you to do is get the dust and pet hair off the floor.  Really.

She said,”Mami, you have seven children.”


She pointed to the three dogs around her legs, the two kids, and the two cats, and said,”You have seven.”

“I come back,” she said.

“I’ll see you next Saturday.”

“No, I come back and I finish this job.  It take a while to get it right, but once it’s right, it’s easy after that.”

I don’t know how to explain to you guys what a monumental task this is, but I’ll remind you of that argument I had with my mother-in-law where she would always tell me not to do anything before she came for a visit because she “had to have something to do” and “couldn’t sit down” and “loves to fold laundry” but then one day she just exploded and said that I was a disgusting pig?  That’s how big the house is.  That’s how much the pets shed.  This is the family that has about 13 loads of laundry on a good week.  And I could see it coming that eventually Mami and I were going to have the same conversation that I did with my mother-in-law.

Please Do Not Make My Life Worse Than When You Arrived!

We left them and went to continue our quest in getting my husband ready for his move.  We went to the mall to pick up the $900 of eyeglasses and go to Macy’s for Dockers shorts and when we came back, Mami and her daughter had made it through one room.

I was trying to figure out how it took two women two hours to clean one room, especially since I could see that the couch and some other things were still dirty.

It wasn’t until 6am the next morning that I realized what they had done.

They prioritized putting away all of the Xbox games my husband and the kids had left out.  They cleaned under the television where the Directv box and the other stuff sits.


The television wouldn’t work, and so I had to crawl under there before I even had coffee and hurt my neck to check all of the wires and find out that the Directv box was shoved all the way to the back and it had a Wii game box in front of it, with the wires and attachments carefully wrapped around the box. It used to work.  It used to be connected.  I used to have television.

Since my husband is still here, all I had to do was ask him to check for loose wires.  It turns out, the Xbox wasn’t working either, which around here constitutes a crisis.  My husband asked me,”Did you move the Xbox??”

Did I move the Xbox?

He did notice the maid team here yesterday and that the entire gaming area was spotless for the first time ever, right? He does know that I am under (his) orders not to move anything?

Once he’s gone, it will be me and the kids trying to figure out what these women did.

This is my house.  OK, technically it isn’t my house anymore since I lost it in the unemployment crisis and now I rent.  But still, if I’m hiring you and I say,”Do this,” and you are so OCD that you CANNOT just follow instructions because you cannot stand to see something out-of-place, I think you’re working in the wrong house.

Why does God send me people who are so stubborn and close-minded that they cannot see the forest for the trees?  Dirt takes priority over organization.  Simple.  Clothing needs to be sorted and put away in the right drawers, or tomorrow we will be late, so please do not touch the laundry.

It is way too much for one person to handle, even if that is literally what they devoted their life to, which is why my husband, knowing I have a full-time job and “seven children,” hired me help, but the help is going to have to bend to my will or I will chase them out of the house with a shotgun.

Or at least an air rifle.

I won’t even tell you about the look on Mami’s daughter’s face when I pointed to the requested broom on the porch, the porch being covered with goat poop, and advised her to use the Central Vac instead.

But I will tell you that my husband has promised to bring Goatie back to where he got him before he leaves.

No complaints!

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  1. Mary Stephenson says:

    Hi Julie

    Holy moly! I think you need a new maid service. You are hiring them, they need to follow instructions to the “T” or you need to find someone else that will. Sounds better to just leave things as they are than have someone that could throw everything out of whack for you.

    That is nice that you won’t have to deal with the bad child aka “the goat”. That should help tremendously with your sanity.

    I completely understand with car repair. We just had our back window go down without anyone touching it, and it is rarely ever used. Almost $700 later it is back up. But you can’t just leave it down or taped up. It was such a waste of hard earned money.

    I wish you good luck with holding everything together while your husband is away. That I am sure, will be tough.


    • Hi Mary, Oh you should have seen the place when I got home today after they came back – I may never find anything again! But it is clean, so there’s that 🙂 A clean house is worth its weight in gold to me.

      Sorry about the window repair bill!!

      We got the big bag of Noble Goat food at the feed store today so maybe I shouldn’t count my goats before they are gone?

  2. I think you should be on reality tv Julie. You have such a wonderful way of experiencing life, regardless of what’s going on in it. I do wish you well in corralling your house, your ‘helpers’ and all those kids. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll miss your hubby and I’m just imagining the most wonderful things show up for you both because of the choices you’ve made. 🙂
    Elle recently posted..4 Ways To Gain Control Of Your LifeMy Profile

    • Elle, I would be the most boring tv show ever unless they could somehow film inside my head. Now THAT might be a show worth watching! 🙂

      Oh you are just the kindest soul ever to wish us “the most wonderful things.” I hope they will unfold exactly like that, although my money is more on interesting, entertaining, and story-worthy, but I will start thinking more joyously, as you do 🙂

  3. Your post left me panting, Julie. One of the reasons I don’t have a maid and don’t intend having one – I would miss my dust bunnies, no? – is because they “occupy the house”. Worse still, suddenly life changes and our schedule revolves around theirs. We forget who hired whom. And at the end of it, they’ll never turn up when there’s a real workload and we’ll find ourselves actually cleaning up after them….and pay through all our apertures for it.

    Must be crazy to think of your husband being away like that. Hugs. Wish I lived close by. And oh yes, we have instructions not to move anything around here, too 😀
    Vidya Sury recently posted..A Walk to RememberMy Profile

    • Vidya, Yes, exactly, they occupy the house. You feel the energy too, then! When I got home yesterday I found things in the strangest places, like the boys’ backpacks and lunchboxes clear across the house on the floor behind a rocking chair in their room (I keep them hanging from the back of a kitchen chair). When I stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee this morning I could not find the coffee filters anywhere! But here she was right – there is a drawer underneath the coffee pot and yes it makes more sense to keep them there.

      I wish you lived close by, too! Think of the adventures we could have just wandering around town, seeing what’s available to be seen.

  4. Seeee, this is why I do not come to your house even though you say to. I would not break your TV, though, probably.

    My my my. I have to say though, my house got a LOT cleaner after my man left for distant parts. 🙂

    • Jen, I have a feeling that I won’t need the maid after my husband and the goat go. I also have a feeling she will never come back again so probably I actually do need you 🙂

  5. Goat stew can be awesome – if done right.
    Stan Faryna recently posted..Why blogging is so 2010My Profile


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