My cleaning lady turned 85 this week.

Yes, you read that right. The woman who comes in to vacuum my carpets and clean my toilets is now eighty-freakin’-five! And even though she can’t quite reach the back of the oven any more, and she stopped moving the coffee table or dining chairs when she vacuums a while back, I can’t bring myself to part with her.

To get a clear perspective on this, she only comes in two hours once a month. Been doing that for years. She just wants the “gas money,” as she calls it, and I think she likes to keep an eye on me. It’s like having a once-a-month Mom.

Before her arrival, I go into overdrive, scurrying around for a couple hours “preparing the house” to be cleaned. Which means, of course, that I’m pretty much cleaning it myself. I “save” a few things she expects to get paid to do, but truthfully, before she sets foot in my house it’s as clean as it’s been since she left the time before.

So, you ask, if I’m doing most of the cleaning myself anyway, why not fire her? Because, after nearly 25 years, she’s the very best kind of “family.” She only visits when invited, cleans up after herself, doesn’t offer me unsolicited advice, and doesn’t overstay her welcome.

And that alone makes her well worth the money!