Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hired Help: Who do You Hire?

Some folks wouldn't think twice about catering a party of eight.  Others spend days cooking for their own wedding (along with their Mum and all available aunts, and willing grooms). 

I am always curious to know what hired help people are willing to fork over their hard-earned cash to acquire.

Some people haven't cleaned a toilet in years, whilst others are fundamentally opposed to anyone else cleaning their house.  But not their gutters.  And don't get me started on the topic of nannies.  My best friend is a nanny and she's amazing, but some would rather die self-righteous than farm out their kids to hired help or a day care.  

So, I would like to confess who I hire and who I don't.  It isn't a very sexy list, but then again, I'm hoping you'll share your secrets with me too!

Some Hired Help Facts about Me:
  1. I clean my own house.  All of it, routinely.
  2. I don't do windows.  Twice a year I hire a crew to clean my windows inside and out.  Clean windows make our world beautiful.
  3. We do all our own cooking and eat out about once a month.  I miss fancy restaurants, but I have my own Take Home Chef, so I can't complain.  Most days I eat better at home! We buy some prepared foods, like sushi and deli salads, but not much else.  We both go for business lunches, so don't miss it too much.
  4. I do all my own baking and buy a bakery cake only once or twice a year if I really don't have time to bake.
    A cake I made for dinner guests last week, using this amazing recipe, which I've made again and again (recipe from New York "Baked" bakery owner Matt Lewis).  I know, I need a cake stand!

  5. We live in Canada and gets lots of snow. We shovel it all (or rather David does!).
  6. I haven't cleaned my car in a couple of years.  I now have it professionally cleaned twice a year.   I always did it myself but after moving to the house, it suffered neglect.  Now it looks good as new!
  7. I love my dry cleaner, but now I launder and iron my own shirts and blouses and cotton pants.  I still dry clean dress pants and fine sweaters and blouses.  I send all winter coats out once a year for dry cleaning.  Duvets and wool blankets go about once a year as well.
  8. I have never hired a caterer, but I would like to.  I have attended catered parties and loved the interesting food, the handsome waiters in white, and visiting the (relaxed) host and hostess.
  9. I like to buy expensive shoes and have them re-soled or re-heeled as needed.  I have a good shoe guy.
  10. I do my own painting, but did hire a company to paint my kitchen/living/dining rooms as the area was too large to do myself and David hates to paint.  Hey, I work full-time.
  11. I do my own investing.  We have a financial advisor who we pay for occasional advice. Otherwise, I do it myself.  It can be exhausting doing this analysis and tracking, and I'm thinking of outsourcing this to someone really good (hey, I have a blog to write!).  I don't trust these guys and I know quite a lot about investing, so I will be a demanding client.
  12. I can change a tire, if called upon, but I don't change my oil.
  13. We do all our own gardening and landscaping.  Because we can.  And we like it.  We do hire people to prune our large trees but do the small stuff ourselves.  And we've hired a guy to power rake the front lawn.  David is good at this stuff and does most of it.  As far as gardening is concerned, I choose the plants and where they go and do most of the weeding. David waters them.
  14. We don't have a GPS and don't want one.  I can read a map just fine.
  15. I don't have an iPhone, nor a Blackberry, and rarely use my cell phone.  I hate paying for this technology and I prefer to be unreachable.  And since I am either at home or at the office, who needs more? Parents and popular people, I suppose.
  16. But I have an expensive iMac and all the best computer gear.  I like computing to be low maintenance, so good gear helps.  But I will not hire Geek Squad if I can do it myself. Hence, I know more about computers than I ever wanted to. I hate them.
  17. I have had my carpets professionally cleaned but have also rented a steam cleaner and did it myself. 
  18. I have made jam and relish and pickles, but only made one pie crust in my life. It turned out pretty good, but why bother?  I can buy frozen crusts at a bakery nearby and you wouldn't know it wasn't homemade.
    What's your favorite Hired Help?

    Top photo:  Source unknown, Second photo by me, Bottom two photos:  Annabelle Breakey


  1. We hire out:
    gutters (2x/yr)
    window cleaners (2x/yr)
    house cleaners (but I don't let her change the sheets or do laundry, I don't want anybody touching my dirty clothes)
    landscapers (planting and cutting)
    pool cleaners and I am sure alot more

    We do ourselves:
    snow shoveling
    tech stuff (tv,computer,stereo)
    finances and also alot more but you get the idea. MB

  2. Great post. It's interesting when you write down all the things you actually do and don't do. I've never really thought about all the tasks involved in day to day life but I will now! Leigh

  3. Hi Terri!

    Yes the address that you have is just fine! Thankyou ever so much! I really want to reply to your list, just gonna take my son out to ride his bike first since he's almost climbing the walls as it is!

    What a lovely front porch! Oh wow!

    Will get back asap!

    Hugs, Susanne

  4. Fantastic post.... you made me think today!

    We do:
    Almost everything.
    Snow Shoveling

    Do't do:
    Car Oil changes...or anything under the hood! I do not understand engines of any kind.

    I have my car detailed once a year. I love a messy car - its filled with fly fishing gear ... I'm prepared to play hookie at the drop of a hat.

    I don't paint interiors - often.

    I got rid of the home computer 2 years ago ... loved how simple home life became again. Would trash my cell phone if I could. one day!

    Home repairs that need more than 3 nails are over my head and I hire out. Hey, I'm not a tool guy - I'm an antique dealer and ex-pro fly fisherman & writer.

    Will hire catering if the Mob is over 20 people.

  5. Now your comments realy cracked me up and how parallel the world can be. I did not have a TV until I moved in with my girlfriend and now I'm watching more TV than I can stand. They are like Hoovers....which is why I got rid of the computer at I'd read & write more! I'd love to vanquish that tube, but its sad to say, she has a love affair with the news channel. Yuk...I just google it at work! Hahahaha.

  6. OK - here it is -

    I rarely hire babysitters, mainly because my kids are a bit older now and we can take them out to decent restaurants on the weekend if we so desire

    I cook at least 5 days a week, but we do go out at least once and usually twice a week. Although, in the summer, we grill so much that we tend to eat in more during the summer. Also, my husband travels a lot, so he does not like to eat out more than once a week if at all possible (the other night we eat out is usually when it is just the kids and me, and we are doing piano lessons late).

    I have a housekeeper twice a week. I used to have a housekeeper once a week to clean and help me with the massive amounts of laundry generated by three children and two adults. When we got a dog who sheds tremendous amounts of fur, I now have a housekeeper twice a week - not necessary, but I absolutely love it.

    My housekeeper puts away all of the laundry (I wash everything), and irons what needs to be ironed, so we do not send much to the drycleaner.

    My husband does all of the finances and investing, including the taxes.

    Our neighborhood has a mandatory home owners association, and the fees pay for all landscaping - including the mowing and trimming of the trees and bushes. When I do flowers and such, sometimes I do them myself, sometimes I hire it out. We have been in a drought for years, so we have not been doing much in terms of flowers, but the drought has now ended.

    For the first time ever, I had my outside windows cleaned. I was not pleased with the results, so will do this myself, and when we put this house on the market in a few years I will hire someone to do it.

    We don't get snow in Atlanta, so no shoveling!

    Car - my kids wash the car! I occasionally vacuum it.

    I have AAA so I will never have to change a tire! I get my oil changed at the dealer, but my husband changes his own oil.

    Painting - I have very reasonable, wonderful, honest and kind painters - a family of cousins and brothers - they are excellent and very reasonable, and I love to give them the work!

    Gutters - we have few trees that are near the house, so only once every 5 years, and I hire it out.

    Anything technology/wiring/tv/computer oriented I do myself, or my husband does. We are fairly tech and mechanically savvy (my husband was a mech engineer major, so has an aptitude for it).

    I have never hired a caterer - I always do all of the cooking - but I am having a group of 20 for a work related function for my husband, and am hiring a caterer for the first time! I will give you a report!

  7. love this!! hahah but at this point the only people we can pay for right now are mechanics & doctors.

    my husband's going to attempt to paint the outside of our house soon.. (he's afraid of heights!!!) will take pics!! :)


    ps- although I havbe to admit, we've been getting some takeout lately!!!!

  8. Very interesting idea for a post. We pay for our lawn to be mowed and the large hedges clipped but do all other gardening and clipping of all bushes ourselves.

    Everything else we pretty much do ourselves.

  9. It has taken me 20 years but I have eliminated all grass from our lot and terraced with stone walls, flagtstone patios and gravel paths. We don't mow! I do most of the gardening and tree trimming myself. The larger trees get professional attention. We hire to have younger people clean out our gutters twice a year. I cook or we eat out as we please (empty nesters). I do the interior painting, (tall husband does ceilings) decorating including making drapes. My husband does all financial including taxes and investments. I do the laundry. My husband takes care of his dry cleaning. We do the cleaning together. The car goes to the shop for care and oil changes.

  10. Oh I like this!

    We do everything ourselves. On purpose. We downsized to help us accomplish this. But seriously we don't hire anything out anymore. We got rid of the big house, clothes that need dry-cleaning, cell phones, complicated anything, no cable tv (we watch about 1 movie a week w/netflix.) I used to be a professional caterer, so I can cook for a crowd if needed. Wow, I just realized we've accomplished a lot! Great post.

  11. My favorite hired help is a marvelous woman who cared for my twins for 5 years and she has come back to me, every so often. She is like Mary Poppins!
    We are very big on DIY, but it is nice to know that there are people to hire out. On a recent tour of "Kykuit" they had 3oo plus gardeners, but now with all the equipment, it is on a few people to care for the garden.
    We adore our Chimney Sweep -that is something so old fashioned, but still exists.