Author Topic: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....  (Read 14409 times)

LadyStache in Baja

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{Crossposted from my journal to get more advice. If you don't know my situation it is this: I work from 4 am - 7 am online, I run a small organic farm that I need to check-in with twice a day (1-2 hours), and I have 4 kids 5 yo and under. Occasionally I have to answer guest requests or turn-over and do check-in for our vacation rental. Because of all this on my plate, I've hired a housekeeper/nanny full-time.}


Ok what follows is pretty crazy to complain about, considering I have full-time house help!

But I'm annoyed by my house help. She works from 8:30-1 watching kids, then from 1-4:30 cleaning (laundry, mopping sweeping, general cleaning). Little things are adding up. I feel like every time I walk into a room there's another "detail" i have to clue her in on.

I'm not sure if I should just accept the way she does things, or if I should be training her to do it my way.

Example: She doesn't fold my underwear (even though I told her to her first day) I always fold my underwear. It's just nice to pull it out of the drawer all wrinkle-free.

She pairs the socks weird and sloppily. I do the thing where you match them up and then fold the cuff over both. She stuffs one in the other. When you open the drawer, it's hard to even tell which are pairs and which are singles, and it's just sloppy.

She always forgets to put a bag in the trashcan when she empties it.

She hangs laundry up sloppily. I always shake the wrinkles out and hang it up flat. She just kinda throws it up there! (!! :0  !!) Am I insanely OCD or is that stupid?

Kids toys: There are certain special indoor toys that I like to keep together. Puzzles for example. If you lose the pieces it's not fun. I also don't like food to get on the puzzles. She gets most of the pieces picked up, but I'll find a few lying around. The other day I came in the kitchen and the puzzle was right next to a bowl of cereal. I don't know if I can train her how to teach kids to pick up toys. It's exhausting enough teaching my own kids to pick up toys, now I have to tell her?!

We've had this cute little wooden bee set. Colored bee hives with matching colored bees. We've had them for about 2 years, maybe three. She's been here two weeks and I don't know where any of them are. Do I really have to tell you to keep track of these things?! Is this not obvious?!

Bottom line: I'm less than thrilled with her. And now I'm debating whether or not it's worth it. I mean, yes, it's nice to have the always on duty childcare if I need to go somewhere. And it's really nice to have a clean house, even if the details are off.

Options:
1. Split childcare with dh. He's building my grandma's house on our property, so he's home a lot, even though he's working. I could potentially schedule outings/work sessions so that he can cover the kids. Not as easy as just running out whenever I feel like it.
1a. Hire someone to just do the cleaning.
1b. Make a schedule and split the cleaning between me and dh.

2. Try someone else and hope for the best.

3. Just keep training. Write critiques down and track progress over time.

What do you think? Anyone out there have full-time house help that can relate?

bestname

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You don't say whether you have spoken to her about any of these details. She does not have ESP so if you haven't told her that you have certain expectations, she doesn't know that. I would start there.

Zamboni

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I've had various child care and housework help over the years. My two cents:

First, she is not you and she will never be you. She will do things her way. It is good for kids to experience different ways of doing things. Stop trying to control everything she does for your own sanity. If you are nit-picky enough, she will either just completely start ignoring everything you say or she will up and quit out of the blue one day, leaving you in a lurch.

How the kids are doing is #1 priority. If the kids love a caretaker and she wrecks your nicest pan by running it through the dishwasher, just toss the pan in the bin. Maybe mention it, but only to say it's no big deal. Thank her profusely for how great she is with the kids.

No one will do it exactly your way. No one. They will do it their way.

This being said, if someone is doing a crappy enough job, you need to change service providers. The new provider won't do it exactly your way, either, but maybe you can find a closer match.

Again, it's all about how she is with the kids. If you have doubts about what she is teaching your kids, then that is why you move on. Not because she doesn't fold your underwear. Not because a puzzle piece is missing. No one will do the housework exactly the way you like. The care and teaching of the kids is more important, so think about how well that matches (sounds like not great, but do the kids love her?)

LadyStache in Baja

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Great points.

I tell her some things (trash bags, and showed her exactly how to fold underwear).

I hear you on her doing it her way. I stopped rearranging the dishes and just went with how she's doing it. But when I get dressed I want my underwear not wrinkled! I know it's super minor, but I'm paying her to do my job, and my job involves folding my underwear.

She's not fantastic with the kids. I get it, sometimes puzzle pieces get lost. But it feels like things are getting lost at a much faster rate! And part of working with kids is teaching them to take care of their things! I want her to guide them in clearing the table (yes I told her that), and in putting the toys away when they're done (did not tell her this. I will). She's also not great at coming up with games. She did take them for a walk yesterday, so maybe she's learning. Or maybe she'll never get it. It's hard to know. My kids are a tough bunch because of their ages, but she's just less than enthusiastic.

Maybe I should just focus on the childcare. I think if she were great at that, I wouldn't care so much about the wrinkly underwear.


Bicycle_B

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If you live in a small community, word will get around how you treat her. Or her version of it will. 

I suggest looking for another person but being very gentle about how you let her go. 

Perhaps a new person would be clean enough that she could still help with the kids sometimes.  Or not.  But be gentle if you are in a small community. (I'm saying these things based on a vague memory of your journal.  Please ignore if this is not your situation.)

ysette9

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I wonder if you are expecting too much from the same person? How about dividing up the childcare and the housekeeping duties? That way you can have someone who is great with kids focus on them, and have someone who is good at housekeeping do that.

For example, my daycare provider is fantastic with my kid. Yes, she does a few things that I don't and would prefer she would not, but the overall package is fantastic so I roll with it. My housecleaners who come every 2 weeks do an excellent job of what they do. I would hire the housecleaners to care for my kid nor my daycare provider to do my laundry. I can be at home with my kid during the day and keep the house clean, but I am not very good at coming up with stimulating new activities for her. My husband is much better at that creative side, but the house is often a disaster after a day with the two of them home alone. You might have more success if you play to strengths rather than looking for a jack-of-all-trades.

lizzzi

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Make your expectations crystal-clear, consistent, and in writing, on a document that you call your "Household Tasks" worksheet (or some similar name), and keep on the refrigerator with magnets.  Keep some emergency phone numbers there, too. Perhaps if your preferred methods need some explanation, you could expand your instructions by making up a three-ring binder with more details, and keep that where your worker can put her hands on it easily. If you have substitute help, or turnover in your permanent help, this will make it much easier to orient them, and will give them something to refer to in terms of how the tasks should be done. And it gives a neutral, professional tone to the job description--you won't need to be hectoring and criticizing about things--just ask the worker to refer to the tasks list and/or binder. You can even add a list of rules for your worker/s: addressing things like cell phone use, smoking, bringing their friends, pets, children to work with them,  etc. You can indicate your expectations regarding calling in sick, etc. (For instance: "Please call me by 7am if you cannot come to work that day.")

Dicey

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Sorry, Zamboni, I disagree. She gets to do it her way at her house, but at your house it's your rules. When you go to work and your employer wants things done a certain way, that's just what you do.

LadyStache, I have house cleaners, too. (Sorry, no facepunces. MIL has Alz and lives with us in the clown house we bought so she could.) Initially, it was difficult to tell them exactly what I wanted. Over time, I figured out what bugs me and we have adjusted.

You need to tell/show her how you prefer to live and what you expect. If she chooses not to comply, cut her loose. I doubt that it will come to that. My guess is that she's just doing what she was taught. Teach her something better. Since your preferences are specific, it shouldn't take much time, but she does deserve the chance to learn and improve.


mcampbell

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{Crossposted from my journal to get more advice. If you don't know my situation it is this: I work from 4 am - 7 am online, I run a small organic farm that I need to check-in with twice a day (1-2 hours), and I have 4 kids 5 yo and under. Occasionally I have to answer guest requests or turn-over and do check-in for our vacation rental. Because of all this on my plate, I've hired a housekeeper/nanny full-time.}


Ok what follows is pretty crazy to complain about, considering I have full-time house help!

But I'm annoyed by my house help. She works from 8:30-1 watching kids, then from 1-4:30 cleaning (laundry, mopping sweeping, general cleaning). Little things are adding up. I feel like every time I walk into a room there's another "detail" i have to clue her in on.

I'm not sure if I should just accept the way she does things, or if I should be training her to do it my way.

Example: She doesn't fold my underwear (even though I told her to her first day) I always fold my underwear. It's just nice to pull it out of the drawer all wrinkle-free.

She pairs the socks weird and sloppily. I do the thing where you match them up and then fold the cuff over both. She stuffs one in the other. When you open the drawer, it's hard to even tell which are pairs and which are singles, and it's just sloppy.

She always forgets to put a bag in the trashcan when she empties it.

She hangs laundry up sloppily. I always shake the wrinkles out and hang it up flat. She just kinda throws it up there! (!! :0  !!) Am I insanely OCD or is that stupid?

Kids toys: There are certain special indoor toys that I like to keep together. Puzzles for example. If you lose the pieces it's not fun. I also don't like food to get on the puzzles. She gets most of the pieces picked up, but I'll find a few lying around. The other day I came in the kitchen and the puzzle was right next to a bowl of cereal. I don't know if I can train her how to teach kids to pick up toys. It's exhausting enough teaching my own kids to pick up toys, now I have to tell her?!

We've had this cute little wooden bee set. Colored bee hives with matching colored bees. We've had them for about 2 years, maybe three. She's been here two weeks and I don't know where any of them are. Do I really have to tell you to keep track of these things?! Is this not obvious?!

Bottom line: I'm less than thrilled with her. And now I'm debating whether or not it's worth it. I mean, yes, it's nice to have the always on duty childcare if I need to go somewhere. And it's really nice to have a clean house, even if the details are off.

Options:
1. Split childcare with dh. He's building my grandma's house on our property, so he's home a lot, even though he's working. I could potentially schedule outings/work sessions so that he can cover the kids. Not as easy as just running out whenever I feel like it.
1a. Hire someone to just do the cleaning.
1b. Make a schedule and split the cleaning between me and dh.

2. Try someone else and hope for the best.

3. Just keep training. Write critiques down and track progress over time.

What do you think? Anyone out there have full-time house help that can relate?

Oddly enough this sounds like what housewives in Bangkok talk about. Saw a lady fire her maid cause she put her husbands pink shirt in her drawer one to many times. You have to be somewhat of a laid back person to have a maid, I've had one for three years now and sometimes stuff gets misplaced for weeks. I don't sweat it, cause I look at how much I pay her. How much are you paying this women, if it's not much then you are probably not going to get very high quality work. People resent you and don't do a great job. I would either deal with it, or pay more and be more specific. I've seen my friends go through 3-4 nannies, if they aren't stealing stuff, and are good with your baby that should be enough

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Do the kids like her?

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2017, 09:52:56 AM »
It's hard to answer because I haven't seeing her play with them.  She's been here a month and they played wolves twice, painted twice, and went for a walk twice. They aren't happy to see her and don't react when she leaves.

Zamboni

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2017, 09:53:19 AM »
Quote
She's not fantastic with the kids . . . she's just less than enthusiastic.

Maybe I should just focus on the childcare. I think if she were great at that, I wouldn't care so much about the wrinkly underwear.

I think you have your answer. People are either great at this or they are not.

Once we ended up in a short period of "temporary help" through a service due to our primary caregiver having medical trouble. During this time, about half of the ladies who took care of our kids were great with them; the other half not very good. Kids were alive at the end of the day but not particularly happy. Thankfully this led to a longer term situation with one of the ladies who was great. She did some things differently than me . . . like she loaded the dishwasher differently, folded the kids clothes differently, etc. I never even brought those things up because she was soooo great with the kids.

Find someone who is great with them. Forget about how she does housework if that is a sticking point and hire that out separately, if necessary. Unfortunately lot of people on the market for domestic care work don't really like the work, they just want something they perceive as relatively easy that requires no education. Good care of small kids is not easy unless you have a certain personality towards it, so this work is just not a good fit for many ladies who seek it. If you luck out and find someone who is great with the kids and pretty okay at the housework, treat her every day like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow even if you underwear is wrinkly.

Also, the "put it in writing" advice by lizzzi is excellent, but be sure to really think this through and take off the items that are less important to you. Focus on what is important to you, but consider the number of items on the list and keep it reasonable.

Qualified employees don't grow on trees. It's good to communicate how you would like things done, but if you get to crazy picky about teeny things, you might find that you lose a very good person over being a control freak or being too negative. Any hint of "my house, my rules!" attitude is not going to fly with someone who knows she can get a new job fairlyl easily. Positive reinforcement. Make sure most days you just thank her profusely. Suggest a change no more than one time per week, and be very diplomatic in how you suggest it.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2017, 10:50:09 AM »
Yes, I'm thinking I'll look for a great nanny and a separate house-cleaner. That sounds like it'll be easier to find.

TartanTallulah

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2017, 11:09:03 AM »
Yes, I'm thinking I'll look for a great nanny and a separate house-cleaner. That sounds like it'll be easier to find.

I think that's a wise decision. From personal experience, I suspect that if you were delighted with your employee's approach to looking after your children, you'd be less irritated by wrinkly underwear and washing lobbed on the dryer any old way.


TVRodriguez

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2017, 11:37:27 AM »
Yes, I'm thinking I'll look for a great nanny and a separate house-cleaner. That sounds like it'll be easier to find.

I have that.  I have a summertime nanny and a once-a-week housekeeper.  It's working well for me.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2017, 11:48:31 AM »
Yes, some people rock at professional-level housekeeping; some rock at caring for children; a much smaller number rock at both; some suck at both.

If you found a great child-caregiver (the more important piece) who happened to also be a pro at housekeeping, that'd be an awesome miracle. Otherwise, get a great child-caregiver and a different person for housekeeping or do your Option 1 for that part.

If I were paying for housekeeping, I'd want to see things "just so." I think some people are able to see and create another's "just so", and others are not. Not out of disinterest or judgement or malice, but rather a different "seeing." Only some of us see things like unevenness. Some people can develop that seeing, but many can't.

But a garbage bag? Any housekeeper should be able to "see" the empty can in need.

Cpa Cat

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2017, 11:51:04 AM »
We have a maid service and we love the ladies and the work they do. But I can't find an F-ing thing in my house. Seriously - we clean up before they get here, because if we leave anything out for them to put away, I swear to god they hide it.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2017, 12:29:34 PM »
Yes, some people rock at professional-level housekeeping; some rock at caring for children; a much smaller number rock at both; some suck at both.

If you found a great child-caregiver (the more important piece) who happened to also be a pro at housekeeping, that'd be an awesome miracle. Otherwise, get a great child-caregiver and a different person for housekeeping or do your Option 1 for that part.

If I were paying for housekeeping, I'd want to see things "just so." I think some people are able to see and create another's "just so", and others are not. Not out of disinterest or judgement or malice, but rather a different "seeing." Only some of us see things like unevenness. Some people can develop that seeing, but many can't.

But a garbage bag? Any housekeeper should be able to "see" the empty can in need.

THANK YOU!!! Case in point: There is a rug inside the door to my bedroom. Daily she sweeps, mops, and moves the rug to the OTHER door in my bedroom. Daily I move it back. (Yes I should have said something, but honestly I'm busy and probably had something else to critique her on. Also I thought that she'd just notice where I put it).

Daily she moves it back to the wrong door, daily I move it to the correct door. This happened more times than it should have.

It should have taken a conscientious person once maybe TWICE to realize, oh, my employer clearly prefers the rug at that door. I will place the rug there. Why wouldn't you just put it back where you found it?!

We have a maid service and we love the ladies and the work they do. But I can't find an F-ing thing in my house. Seriously - we clean up before they get here, because if we leave anything out for them to put away, I swear to god they hide it.

lol! ok, noted.

Meowmalade

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2017, 12:37:48 PM »
Daily she moves it back to the wrong door, daily I move it to the correct door. This happened more times than it should have.

It should have taken a conscientious person once maybe TWICE to realize, oh, my employer clearly prefers the rug at that door. I will place the rug there. Why wouldn't you just put it back where you found it?!

I wonder if there's a logical explanation, like she mops the other side of the room first, and then moves the rug over there when she does the other side of the room, and just leaves it there because the floors are drying?

SwordGuy

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2017, 04:17:05 PM »
Sorry if this offends, but if you care that much about this stuff, you may have some control issues or ocd issues that need to be worked on.   If you don't agree, that's fine.   

Don't sweat the small stuff.


LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2017, 04:25:44 PM »
Sorry if this offends, but if you care that much about this stuff, you may have some control issues or ocd issues that need to be worked on.   If you don't agree, that's fine.   

Don't sweat the small stuff.

If it were my husband, I wouldn't mind. It its my mom or my grandma, I don't mind.

But, if I'm paying you, you should do the job well. Better than I can!

That being said, I do agree with you :)

I think I'm realizing through this conversation that if she were great with the kids I wouldn't mind. I think the annoyance at the cleaning stuff is simply my subconscious being upset with her sub-par kid stuff.

However I'm usually working when she's with the kids, so maybe she's fine and I just don't see it. So when she comes tomorrow I'm going to try and observe and see what I really think of how she plays with the kids.

Letj

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2017, 05:51:48 PM »
I think the OP might be forgetting that often the people that do domestic and child care work are often poor, immigrant, illiterate or semi-literate and desperate. Often they leave the care of their own underage children to family and friends and go to care for someone else's. Their domestic standards may not be up to your standards because usually, they are not used to the stuff in your home that you take for granted, particularly if they were raised in a rural area. Many of them may not know how to properly fold socks because they may have owned just one pair if any; may not know how to operate household appliances like a dishwasher which they wouldn't know how to stack. Of course you can show them how to do it but it's difficult to change habits that they've been following their whole life. BTW, what's your fascination with folding your panties? I stack mine flat on top the other by color. They look beautify and stay wrinkle free; much easier than folding. Based on your name, I am wondering if you're living in Mexico. If that's the case, don't expect that they will know how to keep a house to your standards when their own home is simple with little material possessions. I am not suggesting that all domestic help would fit that profile but in my experience, with the ones I have, they've lived in abject poverty back in their home countries and a lot of things were new to them. If one is willing to pay a lot for domestic help, you can get better workers but at a much higher price.

ambimammular

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2017, 06:49:18 PM »
4 kids, 5 years old and younger, are a lot to entertain and keep track of. As paid help, she may not feel like she should be parenting the kidlets in the ways of cleaning up their own dishes, putting away their own toys etc. She may think that cleaning up for them is what she's being paid to do.

I nannied 5 years for a family, and was careful never to cross a line of acting as if I were the parent. I really didn't know what sort of authority I had to "make" them do anything. Fortunately, I got to spend my time with a lovely, eager-to-please, little girl. I certainly didn't think her parents were outsourcing her life skills education to me. But she was 9 when I started working for them.

I can empathize with the job your nanny has watching 4 kids of very demanding ages.

On the other hand, she sure seems to be half-assing it. Even if I were doing something for free, I am still the sort of person who would want to do a quality job. Indifference about losing puzzle pieces, sloppily tossing laundry together (after being spoken to about it more than once) say to me that she doesn't care about this job except as a paycheck, and she's willing to do the minimum to earn it.

This is all to say that you should keep looking. This gig is a difficult job (4 under age 5). Offer above the going wage (because the nanny will deserve it) and you will be able to find someone who will work hard to keep the position. Find applicants that enjoy children. Your littles deserve someone who wants to spend time with them.

(Check with the schools. I volunteered at one. That's how the family found me.)

Tuskalusa

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2017, 06:59:33 PM »
I totally understand your frustration. I had a similar situation. I had a mother's helper who really wasn't much of a help. She started out great, and then she just kept cutting corner after corner. My frustration mounted as she kept forgetting things that were important to me.

I agree that it's important to be sensitive to others' situations. However, I believe in paying well and expecting a baseline (not perfection...but a baseline). I hit the final straw when she prepared a meal for dinner at 10am and then left it on the counter for the entire day. I found a baked chicken on the counter at 6pm. She had done this before, and I started writing "refrigerate after cooking" on my instructions. When I asked her about it, she said she forgot. So I had to throw out a chicken, make another meal at the last minute, and I paid her for a wasted day.

Totally agree that flexibility is a must when hiring home help. However, there are baselines, just like we are held to in our own jobs. I agree that it's time to gently cut her loose and find someone else.  It's just not a fit.

The other thing I learned was to really make sure I needed all the help I was hiring. I started using Dream Dinners for meals (they will assemble for you for a nominal fee). I started swapping more childcare with friends. And I cut back my cleaning service to fewer visits. Having fewer people in my house has reduced our stress, and things stay where I put them longer!

Good luck!

MsPeacock

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2017, 07:56:24 PM »
Yes, I'm thinking I'll look for a great nanny and a separate house-cleaner. That sounds like it'll be easier to find.

This is what I was going to suggest. The person who is great with the kids may not be great at cleaning, and vice versa.

For cleaning ladies - ask around and get a recommendation from someone who has similar standards of cleanliness to you. I'm super fussy and my neighbors know how spotless I like my house. When I asked about their cleaners they said "you've seen my house - it's not that clean. I don't think you'd be happy with her". When you find someone good just be clear about what you want them to do. I usually leave notes on the thing that needs specific attention. E.g. On the bedroom wall "please dust fan today" or "please unload dishwasher" on the dishwasher. Seems to work well. And somethings you just have to let go (current lady manages to use 4x more trash bags than I can understand - but it works for her and I just can't sweat it).

stashgrower

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2017, 11:03:19 PM »
I think it's fair to have standards if you are employing someone. Those should be communicated clearly. Focus on the most important areas. +1 childcare.

Attention to detail looks important for you, your housekeeper is not a natural at it. So she is the wrong person for that part of the job, or you could train her, or you could modify your expectations.

MDM

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2017, 12:07:59 AM »
If you aren't happy with your first employee, the problem might be with the employee.

If you aren't happy with the next ~ten employees, the problem might be with you.

Nothing wrong with setting expectations, reinforcing them a few times if needed, but terminating the employment if performance doesn't meet those expectations - then interviewing a few more people and hiring one (or two, if you prefer split roles).  You may find someone who does much better.  Or you may find that your expectations are unreasonable.  No way to know for sure until you try....

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2017, 01:44:22 AM »
There are two types of people in the world: the people who do their best regardless of the task, and the people who are happy with good enough. I think you might have a 'good enough' type working for you. You can go two ways here. You can get someone else in that will do the best task possible...... or you can learn that good enough is actually good enough. Ok, it might be nice to see folded knickers but is that REALLY important in your life???

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2017, 04:19:20 AM »
Damn I love this forum.  A lot of clarity coming in.

Regarding the bag in trash can, sometimes I forget myself. I should just put the bag in when I see it empty, just like I would if it were myself that had left it bag-less.

Letj is totally right. I think a lot of this stuff that seems obvious is yet another weird thing to remember because I know she doesn't have the same kind of house we do. She probably doesn't own socks. I can be more compassionate and train those things in a sweet way (if she stays, or while I look for someone with more professional experience).

Just want to respond really quickly to the folded knickers thing. lol. If they were laid flat, that'd be fine. If they were kind of balled, that'd be fine. What about if they're crunchy because she doesn't hang-dry them flat, so they come off the line in a stiff wrinkled way, and then get thrown in a drawer. It's just kind of a reminder that she doesn't hang the laundry flat AND has disregarded my two reminders to fold the underwear. (c'mon, surely you guys like not wrinkled clothes! I'm actually a slob and not that ocd). Also they are folded because my husband and I share one drawer and they fit better that way. We share because despite what you might think from this thread, we are humble frugal people and only have one dresser!

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2017, 05:35:46 AM »
Just want to respond really quickly to the folded knickers thing. lol. If they were laid flat, that'd be fine. If they were kind of balled, that'd be fine. What about if they're crunchy because she doesn't hang-dry them flat, so they come off the line in a stiff wrinkled way, and then get thrown in a drawer. It's just kind of a reminder that she doesn't hang the laundry flat AND has disregarded my two reminders to fold the underwear. (c'mon, surely you guys like not wrinkled clothes! I'm actually a slob and not that ocd). Also they are folded because my husband and I share one drawer and they fit better that way. We share because despite what you might think from this thread, we are humble frugal people and only have one dresser!

You're funny.  At least you acknowledge at the onset of this how un-mustachian all of this is.  I'd think that *most* of us here (certainly not all, pretty diverse group in many ways and I think that's good) wouldn't remotely consider hiring someone to fold our socks and underwear.  I quickly stack my socks and while I do fold my underwear, I couldn't care less if my socks or underwear are wrinkled. This amounts to very little time each week and I would never dream of micromanaging someone to do this. And then somehow stressing because they were doing it a different way.

YoungInvestor

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2017, 05:53:16 AM »
So, what is this doing on a forum relating to frugality?

I get why you want a housekeeper, but frankly, the only good way around this is to do things yourself or pay more for someone better.

Or to tell her that you're thinking of switching because of these things and see if she'll improve, which she probably will.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2017, 07:38:45 AM »
Just want to respond really quickly to the folded knickers thing. lol. If they were laid flat, that'd be fine. If they were kind of balled, that'd be fine. What about if they're crunchy because she doesn't hang-dry them flat, so they come off the line in a stiff wrinkled way, and then get thrown in a drawer. It's just kind of a reminder that she doesn't hang the laundry flat AND has disregarded my two reminders to fold the underwear. (c'mon, surely you guys like not wrinkled clothes! I'm actually a slob and not that ocd). Also they are folded because my husband and I share one drawer and they fit better that way. We share because despite what you might think from this thread, we are humble frugal people and only have one dresser!

You're funny.  At least you acknowledge at the onset of this how un-mustachian all of this is.  I'd think that *most* of us here (certainly not all, pretty diverse group in many ways and I think that's good) wouldn't remotely consider hiring someone to fold our socks and underwear.  I quickly stack my socks and while I do fold my underwear, I couldn't care less if my socks or underwear are wrinkled. This amounts to very little time each week and I would never dream of micromanaging someone to do this. And then somehow stressing because they were doing it a different way.

I know it's ridiculous. But if I'm paying you to do the laundry, and you're already removing the laundry from the basket and putting it in the drawer, you can put it in there nicely. I don't care what kind of nicely you do it. But when I open it, it should be orderly. As you've just mentioned it doesn't take any extra time.

I have many small children. I'm sick of spending my time working on business work, and then finishing that and facing the house. Also, I want to homeschool my kids!

If I can outsource the housework, then I get to play with my kids! It's not frugal, but it is mustachian, because it's about optimizing my life to best fit my needs. It's about thinking about how I really want to spend my time.

If I can work making $400 pesos/HOUR online, and the going rate for GOOD help is $400/DAY then it's mustachian to optimize that difference. If I'm too tired from playing with my kids and doing housework after they go to bed so that I can't get up at 3:30 am for my online job, then that's not mustachian. It works both ways: decrease expenses AND increase income.

I'm realizing that my problem here is that my expectations do not match with what i'm paying. I'm paying minimum wage (not legal minimum wage, that's only $70 pesos/day, yeah, 3.50 usd/day.) I'm paying a little above the going minimum wage, what cashiers at local stores get paid ($240/day). And if I want a quality nanny I need to be paying $400/day at least.

So I'm going to do that. I'll probably have this awesome nanny (cross your fingers) work 4 days instead of 6 to make it a little more frugal.

Honestly, deciding to hire help came at the same time I started working my online job (in addition to my other less lucrative jobs, mind you). I consider it a cost of doing business. It's what enables me to play with my kids and still get up before dawn and NOT live in a pigsty. It's an expense that has allowed me to increase my income by a significant amount.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 07:50:15 AM by LadyStache in Baja »

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2017, 09:10:50 AM »
Yeah, I can totally empathize. I used to have a cleaner, but got so annoyed at the corner cutting..... I can do a much better job in 1.5 hours a week than she could in 3 hours... Once my work hours went back down to 35 a week, and working from home became an option again, I insourced the cleaning again.....and it's been worth it.

I came to the realization that people become self employed cleaners not because they love cleaning, but because they are out of other options and struggle to keep a traditional job.

I agree  with your approach to pay more, you'll be able to get a better quality of service - I'd be very clear about this when you hire, you are paying over market, for a superior service.

Good luck.


joonifloofeefloo

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2017, 09:27:23 AM »
Quote
I came to the realization that people become self employed cleaners not because they love cleaning, but because they are out of other options and struggle to keep a traditional job.

Except for the ones that become SE cleaners because they love it :)
Lots of those, and they excel at cleaning because they love and value a great go of it.

LadyStache in Baja, you're right, of course, that this is not a frugality forum and that your approach is in line with the Mustachian approach of optimizing. I love your clarity!

Dicey

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2017, 10:02:15 AM »
The problem with posting outside your journal is that you get replies from people who don't know your story. Please ignore the "This isn't frugal" set. Those of us who have been following your journey know how much you accomplish and what amazing progress you've made in your financial life.

Consider that many with young children on this site spend more on daycare than your family's entire monthly budget, yet they call themselves frugal, because daycare is a "necessity". Ha!

I agree with jooni, you stood your ground admirably. I also agree that separating the tasks might be the winning formula. Either way, I'm eager to see how you solve this riddle. Based on what I know of your journey, I know you will come up with a creative solution. I'm honored to be part of the sounding board that helps you figure things out.

ambimammular

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2017, 10:17:58 AM »
Don't apologize for having a cleaner or nanny! You are maximizing your quality hours. You are serving your own intellectual needs, and those of customers of whatever your business is. You are also supporting a personal employee.

What's the other option? To spend your time picking up your kids' toys and cleaning toilets while your net worth goes down?

As long as the littles are spending their time with someone who cares about them, then I think that's what matters.

When I nannied, I sometimes felt like I was enabling the parents because they were spending time away from their kids. But, if you examined it, much of the time I was with them we would run to after school activities, or to the grocery store, or finish homework. They might chat with me as I cooked dinner or did laundry. That meant that when mom or dad came through the door, all the work was done, and all of their attention was on the kids. What you're buying is quality time. What you're outsourcing are the mindless tasks.

Also, I don't know why everyone's so hung up on your underwear. We all have things that we like just so.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2017, 11:15:39 AM »

Plenty of people find time to fold their own clothes and still play with their kids.

I know! I can't figure out if I'm just lazy, or have more on my plate, or just have a lower tolerance for stress, or am too perfectionist for the amount of time I have to complete the tasks!

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2017, 11:34:04 AM »
:)

Also plenty of people DON'T find time to fold their own clothes, run two or more businesses, homeschool, plan and care for their children, cook from scratch, AND play with their kids. It's okay if you're one of the many who don't manage to do ALL of those things at once! It's okay to outsource the 1-2 items that are least critical for you to be doing. Not being able to pull ALL of that off doesn't mean you're lazy, have a clinical neurological disability, "too" anything, etc.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #38 on: June 30, 2017, 12:37:22 PM »
:)

Also plenty of people DON'T find time to fold their own clothes, run two or more businesses, homeschool, plan and care for their children, cook from scratch, AND play with their kids. It's okay if you're one of the many who don't manage to do ALL of those things at once! It's okay to outsource the 1-2 items that are least critical for you to be doing. Not being able to pull ALL of that off doesn't mean you're lazy, have a clinical neurological disability, "too" anything, etc.

:* :* Thank you! :)

So I just had a chat with my nanny. I asked her if she liked the job, because sometimes it seems like she doesn't really. And I said, I could understand that because we aren't paying you what a good nanny is worth. So I told her if she wants the job, I can raise her to $350/day (up from $240), and that I have certain expectations. I said with housecleaning, mostly just the underwear and the sock issue, super minor! :) lol. I know you guys are all dying with the underwear thing.

And with the kids, I told her I want to get her set-up with activities. Show her what the rules are for playing with puzzles and paints etc (I know it sounds ocd, but if you have no rules with my kids in one day you will have no more toys or paints, really.)

It's on me to get the activity cabinet fully stocked and set up. And then I'll take a day or two to be with her doing the kid activities so she can get an idea how to handle four munchkins. How to take one out at a time, and then put it back before you get out another, etc. As someone mentioned, if she didn't grow up with these things, she probably doesn't know how to show the kids how to be responsible with these things.

And we chatted a bit about discipline issues. How we'll need to hear daily what discipline issues arose so we the parents and her can all be on the same page and she can be empowered to enforce consequences and know what those consequences might be.

And I told her what I love, that she's on top of the laundry and it's great, that the cleaning is going really well, and that I love that she takes the kids for walks. She mentioned that they call it their "dia de campo" and that she brought cookies on her own and they had a picnic. <3 So glad we talked, because I wouldn't have known, and that's just the sort of thing I love.

I also told her that I'm going to be making a list of things that irk me and dh so we can go over them with her once a week. And I said that I don't want it to bother her, or feel like we're criticizing her. And she said she likes it if we tell her so she knows what we want. Maybe I'll just write it on the whiteboard in the kitchen when dh and I are talking. I'll make a "nanny" section.

So, it's going to be a little more costly. If she steps up, I'll raise it up to $400. But I'm feeling good about the communication. We'll see!

TVRodriguez

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #39 on: June 30, 2017, 12:39:43 PM »

Plenty of people find time to fold their own clothes and still play with their kids.

I know! I can't figure out if I'm just lazy, or have more on my plate, or just have a lower tolerance for stress, or am too perfectionist for the amount of time I have to complete the tasks!

I don't know you, but I would say you're not lazy, based on your description of your standard day.  And everyone is different.  I personally love love love my cleaning lady.  I do not love cars or clothing.  I am happy to pay her weekly to clean my house, while at the same time drive a 10 year old car and wear an 8 year old dress to work (that I originally bought at goodwill for $5).  Others would make other choices.  You make yours, and please do not apologize for them.

Zamboni

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #40 on: June 30, 2017, 12:45:16 PM »
It sounds like you handled this very well. People who get paid more do value their jobs more, and they are more likely to try and do a really good job. I hope it goes more smoothly and you are happy with what is going on moving forward.

Also, please no apologizing or explaining about having child care and cleaning outsourced . . . do men ever feel the need to give explanations for this?

ambimammular

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #41 on: June 30, 2017, 02:39:08 PM »
Also, please no apologizing or explaining about having child care and cleaning outsourced . . . do men ever feel the need to give explanations for this?

I was thinking this same thing.

Meowmalade

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #42 on: June 30, 2017, 07:22:44 PM »
I love hearing how you handled this.  I really hope the great communication (and raise!) will yield the results you want!  Also, it's important for people to feel valued, and when they do they're more likely to do their best work for you.

Tuskalusa

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #43 on: July 01, 2017, 06:48:46 PM »
Seriously well done. Please share how things go moving forward!

Goldielocks

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2017, 12:54:47 AM »
Read your most recent post -- great progress.

I wouldn't use the white board, though, in person is the way to deliver criticism, not leaving it one the board all week.

Also, I recommend that you do your own personal laundry.  One adult woman's laundry does not take up a whole lot of time, and you can get it exactly as you like...  maybe you can put your laundry that is ok for her to do mixed with your husbands, and keep a personal bag separate.   I know that for me, one ruined favorite garment is enough to spoil my attitude for weeks with the person who did it.

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2017, 05:17:26 AM »
Not to be all negative, but I would like to point out what MMM has had to say about hiring house cleaners:

"I was stumbling through my living room the other day, catching my feet on various building blocks, puzzle pieces, and a tangle of fishing line that had previously been used to suspend our homemade space station from the second floor balcony, when the thought occurred to me, “Damn, I sure wish this house wasn’t such an enormous mess!”

Mrs. Money Mustache must have read my mind, because right then she joked, “It looks like we really need to hire a house cleaner!”

All of us know this was said in jest, because come on, Mr. Money Mustache would not be seen outsourcing his floor sweeping even if he had wealth one hundred times greater than Warren Buffett’s bridge playing group. But just for a second the idea seemed comforting."
  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/09/you-cant-cure-obesity-with-bigger-pants/

My understanding of MMM's writing is that it is about maximizing happiness and reducing the rich's impact on the environment, not maximizing economic efficiency.  This seems to be pretty clear to me based on all his writing.  I don't disagree about what to do about hiring an employee doing/not doing their job, but lets not say that this is all "Mustachian."  Hiring someone to fold your underwear and socks is clearly not being "badass."

Zamboni

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2017, 06:46:33 AM »
But does MMM fold his own underwear and match his own socks, or does MrsMMM do it for him? Not picking on MMM, as I completely understand separation of household tasks, but it's always hard for me to swallow a man basically saying "I would never outsource women's work!", especially if they are currently living with a woman who does the vast majority of it in his house.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2017, 07:01:14 AM »
Yes I feel you, hence the title of this post. Hence the guilt over hiring a housecleaner at all. Not sure whether or not it's ultimately mustachian (now we mustachian police, in addition to retirement police ;) )

Everyone's situation is unique. My husband has two physical jobs (contractor and farmer). His help with the housework is very low, yet his standards for cleanliness are very high (he's a great cook though!) I assist with our three businesses (farm, construction, and vacation rental), as well as work online.  I think MMM was retired when he wrote that? I'll read it again :)

ANNND the biggest one of all is that I have 4 kids, ages 5 and under (compared to MMM's either 0 when he wrote that, or 1). Those are tough ages because while I do encourage them to help with chores, their abilities are still behind the messes they make.

I'm considering this a phase. Probably won't last long. But in the meantime, I notice considerably less stress. When I'm with my kids, I'm not thinking "just five minutes" then I have to clean the kitchen and start dinner. So less stress = greater happiness = mustachian!

And it's just exhausting!!! I know I should clean the house rather than work out, but there's something about the on your feet all day that just hurts to the bone.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #48 on: July 02, 2017, 07:11:24 AM »
Don't apologize for having a cleaner or nanny! You are maximizing your quality hours. You are serving your own intellectual needs, and those of customers of whatever your business is. You are also supporting a personal employee.

What's the other option? To spend your time picking up your kids' toys and cleaning toilets while your net worth goes down?

As long as the littles are spending their time with someone who cares about them, then I think that's what matters.

When I nannied, I sometimes felt like I was enabling the parents because they were spending time away from their kids. But, if you examined it, much of the time I was with them we would run to after school activities, or to the grocery store, or finish homework. They might chat with me as I cooked dinner or did laundry. That meant that when mom or dad came through the door, all the work was done, and all of their attention was on the kids. What you're buying is quality time. What you're outsourcing are the mindless tasks.

Also, I don't know why everyone's so hung up on your underwear. We all have things that we like just so.

I missed this response earlier, and I love hearing your perspective as a former nanny. This is just exactly it. Even so, I'd been hesitant to do it because I always wanted my quality time with my kids to be us working together. But they're just so young still. Even if my 4 year old is helping with the dishes, and can mostly do it correctly, there's still a shit-ton of other tasks I'll have to do. They don't sweep well enough. They can't hang up the laundry, though we have a plan to make a clothesline at their level and make them start doing their own laundry. Having a nanny will actually help with that because while I'm helping one with his daily chores, she can keep an eye on the others. With 4 it's just really hard to get any one-on-one time, especially teaching time where we're doing something difficult together without 3 others running through grabbing stuff!

So yeah, maybe in 6 months everyone will be trained and we can just do the chores together! Or maybe in 12! We'll see. I'm happy.

And Dicey, I missed your comment! Thank you! Thanks for being my sounding board.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: incredibly un-mustachian dilemma, almost embarrassed to post this....
« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2017, 09:00:50 AM »
Quote
lets not say that this is all "Mustachian."  Hiring someone to fold your underwear and socks is clearly not being "badass."

I will still say it ;)

Like LadyStache in Baja, I'm not into policing how the words can be applied. But more than that, I genuinely see things as relative, contextual, etc.

Mr MM lives a very distinctive life. He doesn't DIY everything. His circumstances are unique, rare, and bizarre (good bizarre, but bizarre). Even the condition, setting, and size of a house will result in it needing cleaning more or less often. When I lived in a very old, small one surrounded by cement and dust, it needed a lot more cleaning than my current one (bigger, brand new, set in a moist, green area). So, Mr MM's specifics aren't transferable to every life.

I see it as Mustachian to optimize, and badass to pull off what LS in B is pulling off, which seems to be like a heck of a lot MORE than Mr MM has ever needed or aspired to. I think both are great AND badass people. Mr MM has quite a simple life. (Me too!) Folks with a way more complex one can have a supportive, available spouse like Mrs MM spend like Mr MM spends, just on help (if they want) vs on hybrids and houses. It's badass to pull stuff off, and Mustachian to optimize for a great life with great savings and (relatively) great respect for the environment.