Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Southernmama's Giveaway Contest

Our contest winner, Amy Estes, kicking her feet up after we cleaned her home

The Year of a Maid, A Meal, And a Merlot has come to an end with the lucky Amy Estes as our winner! Over the months there were many wonderful entries from Southernmama's readers and they were all touching. These ladies lives are filled with taking care of family and community. I was really impressed. I have a 10 month old and how Amy does it with an older 5 year old and brand new twins, I have no idea. God doesn't give us more than we can bear but He must think Amy is one tough lady!  We are so happy to give Amy a once a month year of maid service, a bottle of merlot, and a meal out. I hope she and her husband will be able to steal some quiet time for each other and go to the North Beach Grill on Tybee Island which was the first meal we are providing for her. She missed out on the holidays last year but hopefully she will have a wonderful holiday season this year! As far as constantly having to breast feed, I can relate. It was so daunting with my baby who for 3 straight months nursed constantly, I cannot even imagine having to breastfeed two! Mine is 10 months and still breastfeeding but it's only in the morning and at night but I remember those first couple of months and I was really worried as to what I had gotten myself into.
The contest came to an end  just in time as Amy was glad to have the maid service for a party she had coming up, a party to celebrate her 5 year old turning 6! She was able to enjoy friends and family in her home without being frazzled. As Amy put it, "I felt like I had won the lottery." Hubbard's Maid Service looks forward to servicing Amy through out the upcoming year and providing her with great meals from local restaurants around town AND at the end of the day, she can unscrew that bottle and savor a nice glass of merlot after the kids are put to bed.  We want to thank Amy and all the Southernmama's for being such great moms and we want to thank Southernmama's for partnering with us to put together this great giveaway. We love Southernmama's and all it's readers, you are terrific!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cleaning Wood Floors In Savannah, GA

My husband is a handyman. In fact he own's a handy man business called Hubbard's Handyman in Savannah, GA. All husbands are wonderful but mine is especially because he can "do" things! Like replace the gasket on the dishwasher and install new plumbing fixtures. He can also install hard wood floors which he recently did in our bedroom which has also installed a healthy dose of serenity and oxytocins back into my life.

I refuse to give you a before picture of what my bedroom looked like but please forgive me, I do own a maid service here in Savannah, and it would just be bad for business if you saw it. I had white carpet that looked every inch of it's seven years of life. The bedroom was a cluttered disaster. Our bedroom has been for a very long time also an office for both of our businesses with employees coming and going & also now a nursery. The madness had to end! Not only that but we had the air quality tested in our bedroom and it was at very bad breathing levels. The cluttered mess of paper work, electronic cords, old carpet, and random furniture certainly did not help matters. Let's not even talk about how our bedroom was affecting our marriage!

My husband and I agreed that replacing the old carpet would reduce the bad air quality and would jump start a revolution to reclaim our bedroom, as, a bedroom. It was quite an expense but my 4 month old was already having a rattling in his throat from time to time and I did not want to encourage the development of allergies any more than I had unintentionally done so we made the plunge, or the investment, into our home to carry the wood floors from the main living area into our bedroom.

Wood floors being installed in our bedroom by Hubbard's Handyman in Savannah, GA
If you are interested in installing wood floors in your home here are a few bullet points from Hubbard's Handyman:
  • If using manufactured hardwood, make sure the floor undeneath is completely clean and smooth before putting glue down.

  • To avoid gaps take a piece of the wood floor, lay it up against the door jamb. Use that wood as a guide and angle a saw to cut the bottom of the door jam out so the wood will slide underneath the jam, trim, and 3 inches of base moulding.

  • Make sure all the rest of the wood floors are against the baseboards within 1/2 inch or less to avoid gaps and allow the quarter round trim to cover.

Needless to say I am so pleased with my new wood floors! The carpet was so depressing and imaging what was lurking underneath all that padding over the years was internally disturbing in my mind. Since having the hard wood installed I can also say the house cleaning time has been cut in half. The reason is there is less dust to contend with. Carpet really collects dust like nobodies business. So that means the baseboards, sills, and blinds are less dusty and easier to maintain. Besides that it just "feels" clean. I never realized how down in the dumps I was about that carpet until it was removed and I had that hardwood floor underneath my bare feet. It was such a blessing to be able to remove ALL the dust bunnies under my bed with a wet mop in a matter of minutes. It was wonderful to look at the baseboards and not see dead bug carcasses trapped in the crevices where the carpet meets the wall. Keeping wood floors well maintained does not require alot of work as the less you mop them the better off they are. This may not work for those who have pets or a lot people living in the home but the less water that hits the floor the better. If you do mop them I would recommend a mop designed for flat surfaces that has a wide flat head that is covered with removable fabric you can take on and off and throw in the washer as needed. These are the types of mops our cleaners use at Hubbard's Maid Service. Cedar-O mops from Walmart work wonderfully for wood floors and they cover a lot of ground so you can mop quickly.
Besides plain water, there are many wood floor cleaning chemicals out there but for the most economical and eco-friendly cleaning solutions I recommend dish soap added to water. Just a drop or two is fine in a bucket, just make sure the mop head has been squeezed of most of it's moisture so you don't apply too much wetness to the floors. If you can resist mopping your floors except for once a month you will keep them from getting dull. If that is not sanitarily possible then mop only as needed. If you want to restore a little shine, you can use Murphy's Oil soap but use sparingly! a little goes a long, long, way!

We haven't completely removed our businesses from our bedroom, and our son still sleeps with us in there. We still have to navigate baby gear but the hardwood floors have been such a motivator we have been focusing on reducing the clutter with great success. My husband, Ashley Hubbard, of Hubbard's Handyman, has installed sanity to our bedroom and our lives.

The bedroom is still used as an office and a nursery but it is so much nicer! Love my new wood floors!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How Much Is Your Time Worth?
                                                                     Jedidiah & Myself

Wow! Since giving birth to my son, my time is much, much more precious to me. I get things done in the seconds, minutes, and occasionally the few heavenly hours that arrive in my life like diamond treasures. The things I used to do on my own time, time that I took for granted, I will never possibly be able to do again, at least for a long, long time. I have to analyze every decision I make as to how to get a task done, "how" being operative. Even as I sit here and write I am carefully measuring my words as I don't know how long before my son is going to wake from his slumber.
Money is tight for everyone these days but I fantasize about getting my hair professionally blown out once a week, heck I fantasize about taking a shower once a week! I love to garden and water my flowers and am now considering hiring a lawn service because I don't know when I would be able to water them in this soon to arrive hot summer. Things I would have done myself and enjoy doing now need to be delegated to others. If I can afford to pay someone else to do it, as a mother, it really makes sense to do so because time is precious!
A good example of that was April 15th when my son, Jedidiah, was dedicated to the Lord at the Sanctuary Church, in Savannah, GA. We had a wonderful reception that followed. It was wonderful because I had hired Joes' Homemade Catering, in Savannah to do all the work. We had seventeen guests over and let me tell you, to come in after church and host a party where I did not have to prepare one meal, serve one drink, and worry about plates, napkins, & silverware, etc nor do dirty dishes was worth every penny! Joe's Homemade did a wonderful job and made me look like the Hostess with the Mostess. I would never have been able to pull that off on my own. It made my son's reception party extra special.
It brought home the simple fact that paying someone to do a job that frees up your time is worth the money. Whether it be hiring a catering service, lawn service, dog walking service, or like my business, a maid service - being able to free up one's time is priceless.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Cleaning Industry in Savannah, Georgia

So we just had a great movie out called "The Help" which is a story about maids in the South during the Civil Rights movement. Boy, how times have changed! Maid service is a much different profession now. Our Savannah cleaning service is a wonderful opportunity for women, especially women with families as we have professional hours and we pay our house cleaners on the upper end of the national average.
When we hire someone for our Savannah cleaning service we do an initial interview and take an inventory of the potential candidates work history. If we decide to proceed with hiring they immediately have to submit to a drug screen and background check. This is followed by an intensive five day training program with our training manager. The candidate learns to clean in a specific way that minimizes errors and time spent in a clients home. They also learn company procedures and ettiquette. We have a Pass/Fail system that also includes a written quiz. This assists in producing a knowledgable, informed maid.

Hubbard's Maid Service employees at a training session

By the way, the paying customers for the most part in "The Help" are not anything like our clients of today! We love our clients and we think their Awesome! Cleaning in Savannah is different today than cleaning in the south of yester years. Maid service is no longer looked upon as a less than favorable endeavor but a luxury item most people dream of having in our fast paced society. We treat our cleaning technicians with respect & so do our clients.

What is the special ingredient in this pie?
Cleaning is not an easy job. The cleaners work very hard to make sure their clientele is happy, especially in this down economy. Sometimes it is difficult to please everyone as cleaning can be very subjective and emotional. After all most of the work being done is in a person's home which can be nerve wrecking for both cleaner and client. It takes a great deal of skill, showmanship, and intelligence to be a successful cleaner in Savannah but it can also be very profitable for women looking for employment that won't conflict with spending time with their families.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wisdom from an Older New Mom

“You are at an advanced maternal age.”
This is what I was told by my doctor when I found out I was pregnant. I own a maid service in Savannah, Georgia. I recently had my first child, Jedidiah, at age 39. I had a very difficult labor (30 hours) and had planned for a natural birth but ended up having NuBain & an epidural by the time it was all said and done & my poor little guy came out with eyes wide open looking completely freaked out. Things were harder from there as I was determined to breastfeed and did not know what I was doing. This meant he went from 8 lbs to 6 lbs and we both were horrified. But with the wonderful help of lactation consultant, Pam Holland, and the staff at Dr. Ramos office in Savannah we rebounded to a healthy weight but oh, the trauma! It was not how I had envisioned it to be.
Luckily, the lactation consultant turned my little guy into a breastfeeding machine because he would latch on and not come off the nipple for 4 hours at a time! In between these marathon feedings I MIGHT get 20 minutes to do number 2 or wash my arm pits, but never both! My son is what is called a “high needs” baby. He needs me ALL the time! He’s not quite colicky, but pretty darn close, and you know what, I’m okay with that. Whatever he wants is what he needs right now and if I am his liquid love and human pacifier so be it. I have accepted that I am just not going to get things done right now which is very hard (deep, deep breath).
I like things a certain kind of way and I have totally had to give that up. In my bathroom I look down at the floor in the water closet and see hair and dust and I can’t clean it. I look at the empty toilet paper tube and see it hasn’t been thrown away by dear Husband and I can’t put it in the trash because the trash can is full. There are now 3 piles of laundry in chairs in the bedroom and I don’t even want to look in the closet. This would never have been allowed in my life prior to giving birth. Once I begin a task I have always completed it, however small. Now my home is littered with incomplete tasks that mock me minute by minute and it drives me crazy! What is also disconcerting is since I am breastfeeding I always find myself in the most uncomfortable positions when holding my son and or nursing him because once he is settled as fussy as he can be I don’t want to move!
As a business owner and a person who is used to being in charge having to give up running things and focus only on my baby has been a well needed life changing experience. It has made me observe what has been taught to me culturally about how a woman is supposed to take care of her baby in modern day society. I have had to be rebellious and do everything different than what I have learned. I can’t do everything and raise my baby the way I think he should be raised. I have had to give up running my business entirely. I cannot even go to the grocery store right now. I breast feed ALL the time! But these choices have forced me to slow down and smell the roses, let my body heal and succumb to the natural rhythm of babies and motherhood, I know my son needs it right now in his life. So while I languish as the holy cow with the holy udders I do a few things to keep me from going insane.
1.      Have a large bedside table and keep everything within reach. Get little baskets to store everything so you don’t have to search and get out of bed. Have everything you need within an arms reach of bed. Medicine, sanitary pads, adult diapers, bottled water, snacks, baby wipes, etc.
2.      Don’t look too closely at the mess, it’s not worth it.
3.      If you do get blood on the plastic toilet seat cover when you first get home from the hospital wipe it away as quickly as possible, otherwise the stains are not coming out.
4.      If your newborn is sleeping with you in your room have a diaper changing caddy filled with supplies right next to your bed. I change my son on my bed and use a towel underneath him. We also have a plastic mattress protector over the mattress.
5.      If you must clean only do the things that absolutely drive you nuts, you know what they are! Don’t worry about the rest. It doesn’t matter and in the great scheme of things no one is going to judge except yourself – you just had a baby! If you feel guilty, go see the video of you giving labor, you’ll be kinder to yourself.