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by Patricia Beurteaux

Staff. I want a team of cleaners and interior designers to completely clean this house and then come up with all those things designers do to make my life less messy. But not too cute.

Not the whole life. Just my domestic environment.

I'm not good at things like choosing colours. I generally go with black, white and wood and I can throw in coloured pillows and what not to liven things up as I go along. It means I can defer decisions almost indefinitely and that suits me fine. Decorating is not one of those Big Life Decisions.

I have just moved — again. (Why I don't just face reality and buy a yurt I don't know.) Anyway, this house is already virtually all wood — pine. Very chalet. I love it. Unfortunately, my black and white part of the 'colour scheme' doesn't fit in this particular house. It looks too commercial despite the chaos that is the result of my 'lifestyle'. In fact, it looks like a failed business before the liquidators come in. As well, there are skylights and windows, with views, everywhere, and some are odd shapes. Wonderful light. Shows up everything.

Now, I'm not complaining because I love this place. I love the cathedral pine-clad ceilings and the pointy walls and the retro fireplace and the open staircases, but, after having the floors throughout the house refinished, the resultant dust is everywhere and winning.

The house was only ever given a cursory swipe with mop and cloth throughout its history, I expect. And I'm no expert. Cleaning and I have only a spotty (sorry) history, but when the only way to clean the kitchen is with a paint scraper, even a person, such as myself, who suffers from dirt-blindness, clues into there having been some disinclination in the past to practice basic hygiene.

That's why I need a team of cleaners. If dirt could talk, I expect we could have a good discussion about modern history — the past 30 years, anyway.

Now, I can run the vacuum around the place and do the general easy stuff but this is a time for the type of super-cleaner you see on TV. I am thinking of that rather brash — oh heck, totally vulgar — person who goes into absolute pig-sties and upbraids the inhabitants before going to work and magically, it appears to me, converts said sty into a sparkling and unbelievable place of, if not beauty, at least, livability.

I don't want the person but I do want the sparkle. It will not last but it will give me a clean slate, so to speak.

There's a reason I am writing about this and not actually interviewing cleaning and decorating companies. Dosh*. If any of you reading this — there's an totally unfounded assumption — are one of the doshless, you'll understand. Wanting and needing that team of cleaners and decorators but having no wherewithal means I have to DIM (Do It Myself). I have never been up to it before but perhaps I can look at this as a new hobby. In truth, it will be attacked in fits and starts, just like my other hobbies, and I have a lot to learn.

*Type of money, for the lower 48 states benefit.

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