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The lure of housework

Vacuuming When I was a cube-farmer, whenever I felt swamped, needed to cogitate on a task or simply didn't feel like working, I would tidy up the office.

I'd head to the kitchen and do some cursory cleaning. I usually didn't spend a lot of time in there though, since it tended to look like it had been lifted right out of a frat house, especially as the day wore on. We didn't have a garbage disposal, but that didn't stop people from cleaning out their lunch plates in the sink ... and leaving it to clog up the drain. Try as I might to ignore the gunk while rearranging the cabinet of coffee blends and creamer options, I got too grossed out to stay in there long.

So I'd wander down to the copy room. There was always a lot of stray paper: incoming faxes to be sorted, outgoing ones to be stacked up on a counter corner, paper reams to move from the shipping boxes to the cabinet. A very satisfying and much more sanitary housekeeping task.

Eventually, I'd end up back at my desk and start doing the work I was getting paid to do. The tidying had done the trick.

My husband had heard me tell of this tendency for years, so you can imagine his delight when I started working from home. I could see him thinking, "Finally! A little help around here!"

He missed, however, the subtle nuance of what I do. I straighten; he's a cleaner.

He's not a Monk neat freak, but he does focus on the dirt. I, on the other hand, have always thought a little dust added a nice glow to things, sort of like gauze over the camera lens for those artsy shots in foreign films.

In the past, we've discussed hiring a maid, but I've held out so far. It's not that I'm one of those "I'll have to clean before the maid arrives" nuts. And it's not necessarily a money issue.

Mainly, I'm not comfortable with strangers in my house. Hell, I'm not that comfortable with friends and family in my house! Just kidding, dear relatives and close personal friends. Just kidding.

If I ever do give in and let the hubby hire some help, it'll probably be with one of those professional and/or franchised cleaning services. That way, the company will take care of all the payroll and tax complications so we won't risk running afoul of the "nanny tax."

And that's the topic of TODAY'S TAX TIP. Click here for details on the tax filing duties you could face when you hire someone to help around the house. Then review this checklist of things a household employer needs to consider. It could help you avoid possible hiring and tax pitfalls.

Officespace Silver screen offices: Ah, working for the man. What memories. When I need to remind myself of those day, I always pull out the DVD of Office Space, from Texas filmmaker Mike Judge. You hang in there Milton!

If you want a little office romance, Working Girl is a solid two-star effort, with a four-star turn by Joan Cusack.

For more mundane employment, though not a mundane movie, there's Clerks. And, of course, the ultimate in office girl power, 9 to 5. Who hasn't thought of doing what these women did to Dabney Coleman's despicable boss?

Mo' money: Want a roundup of money-related stories floating out there in the blogosphere? Check out the 32nd Carnival of Personal Finance, brought to you by Be Capitalism. My post  "We don't need no stinkin ..." is a ride in this week's carnival.

Maybe it's the title, or maybe this week's blog consolidators are Bogie fans, but that entry also was a pick in the Festival of Frugality #7, compiled courtesy of Canadian Capitalist. Take a look for some money-saving tips.


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