Cleaning can be fun


I finally got some paid employment after nearly eight months of trying to make money go twice as far as it usually might be expected to go.

I am cleaning in a school.

I work late into the evening.

I never thought it could be so much fun.

I am enjoying it way more than any normal person would imagine possible.

  • The satisfaction gained by finally managing to flush away that stubborn lump of bodily waste…
  • The therapeutic rhythm of dancing around an empty classroom with a vacuum cleaner…
  • The gleaming beauty of a clean window or mirror…
  • The companionship of break-time spent with similar unusually-motivated people…
  • The aesthetic pleasure available as a floor is mopped – the patterns one sees as more of it becomes wet…
  • The fun of wet-play while spraying water from a hose at a urinal…

I could go on.

Suffice to say that I am happy in this new season of gainful employment.

Mop & Bucket

Tools of the Trade


Stuff your job


Dear Mr X

I recently applied for a job advertised by you on

Job advertPlease note the following key phrases:

  • Office Admin
  • Receiving phone calls
  • Training and support
  • Central location
  • Flexible hours
  • Top hourly rate
  • Full time work
  • Free onsite parking

You invited me for an interview where you told me a little about the job. You explained that I would be part of a team knocking on doors and letting people know about available Diploma courses, fully funded by the Government. The working day would be 2pm to 6pm from Mon-Fri, with optional Saturdays. It was not explained clearly what is supposed to happen if a person is interested in doing one of these courses. I was told I would need to provide a Business Number and would be effectively self-employed and working as a contractor. You asked if could I start immediately. I was somewhat confused but desperate for any work and off I went.

I enjoyed my Tuesday afternoon working with that team and felt that we got on well. I was encouraged and given very positive feedback by other team members. I arrived home with my feet in shreds due to walking all afternoon in ‘interview’ shoes that were not so comfortable. I was optimistic though.

The next day (Wednesday) the car broke down on the way to meet the team and I phoned to let them know. You spoke to me on the phone saying that you had received negative feedback about me from a team member. Apparently I was ‘over-complicating things’ – whatever that means. I suspect it means I was asking too many questions where answers didn’t yet exist. I felt hurt that not even suggestions for improvement had been offered previously; that the negative feedback had been accepted without question; and that I was only given the information because my car broke down and I phoned. You said that you wanted to put me on another team instead, where processes were more streamlined.

Nothing could be done that day (Wednesday), but you promised to speak to the leader of the new team and let me know if I could work Thursday and Friday of that week.

I sent a text message on Thursday morning asking if I would be able to work Thurs/Fri, as I had heard nothing. I received a text message saying that I would be starting with a new team on the Monday and would need to meet the team leader at 12.30pm at a particular railway Station. I replied asking if I could work with my original team for the rest of the week and received a further text saying simply, ‘Sorry – No’.

On the Friday I sent an email with a list of specific points needing a response and sent the same email again this morning (Monday), adding a further question about where exactly at the Station I should meet the team leader.

Today (Monday) I made my way to the station as instructed in your most recent communication. I waited until 12.45pm and was just about to give up hope when I finally received a call from you. You informed me that you no longer intend to move me to a new team. You told me that processes have been streamlined a little more for my original team and that I should wait patiently for another 25 minutes and they will retrieve me from a spot outside the station. You told me that despite the negative feedback you had received, you were prepared to offer me a ‘second chance’. What??? I object to this and point out that the ‘first chance’ had only been used up because of a two-faced team member who gave good feedback to my face and bitched about me afterwards. That in fact it is the backbiting team member who needs a ‘second chance’.

At some place in the conversation, I saw red and raised my voice in frustration. You were not happy about that and threatened me with loss of job. I apologise for shouting ‘Stuff your job’ and hanging up the phone. It was rude of me and I shouldn’t have done it.

I was told at the interview that I should have received an email containing ‘information’. Despite asking several times for this to be resent, I have never seen this email. It is not in my junk mail folder either. Come to think of it, all meaningful communication between us has either been via text message or verbal. A more cynical person than I might wonder if this is deliberately done in order to avoid having things in writing.

Along with other questions, I have asked repeatedly for confirmation of the amount of payment I should expect to receive for work last Tuesday. Neither this question nor any other of my emailed questions has received a response. To date it has cost me a considerable amount of money for the privilege of working with you. I suspect that I will receive nothing.

I have reported the misleading advertisement to the website concerned.

I respectfully request that you insert your job into the bodily orifice where the great bright orb fails to provide illumination.

Yours faithfully,



I know, I know…. I still need to deal with some resentment here, but I’m feeling heaps better just putting it all into words. I still need a job though….. 😦

Honour? Or buy a Card?


Yesterday was Mothers’ Day. I don’t think my kids really thought much about it – and to be honest I didn’t either apart from being forcibly reminded a few times.

Much of my mental energy was spent remembering sad stuff.

In 1997 I miscarried my first child, a little girl, at 21 weeks’ gestation. The first Sunday after that was Mothers’ Day. That was a tough day for me as I had expected to be a mother and yet that child was dead.

I also thought about my own mother who died a little over a year ago. She valued cards and kindness on Mothers’ Day. I still think of things I need to remember to tell her or ask her and it’s weird to remember that she will never be able to hear them. She will not see my children grow up and that makes me feel sad.

At church a small gift was handed to all of the women as they left. It’s funny that Mothers’ Day has become more of a celebration of womanhood.

A while ago, following Mothering Sunday in the UK (which is not really the same as the modern Mothers’ Day), I read an excellent post by Pam’s Perambulation called On How Churches Celebrate Mothering Sunday in which she discusses the ways in which this is done within a church context. She puts many own thoughts into words better than I can manage to while trying to see through my own mixed emotions. Both Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days elicit from me a mix of anger and cynicism, among a cocktail of other feelings. Maybe one day I will understand why I feel this way but I don’t yet.

God’s instruction is that we honour our Father and Mother. This means different things to different people and in different circumstances. The onus here is not on the parent who receives honour but on the offspring who gives honour.

The question of how to ‘honour’ parents when they are obviously ‘wrong’ was a common one when I was a teenager. The response that always made most sense to me and has stayed with me through all the years since, was this: To honour my father and mother means to do what I know they would want me to do if they knew the truth. I am aware of the potential to twist this simple statement but to me  it meant that I would endeavour to do what I believed was ‘right’ and ‘good’. In this way my parents would be brought honour whether they chose to accept it or not. Thankfully my parents, although not agreeing with me on many important-to-me things, appreciated my efforts and believed that I was a credit to them.

For me: Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day….. meh.

I honour my father and mother in the best ways I know how to.

I give to others in ways I can, when I can.

This is enough.