1. Quitting grad school.
2. Marrying MHH.
3. Setting aside my pride, rewriting our household budget, and handing in my membership in the proletariat to hire someone to come clean our house on Wednesday afternoons.
The difference is unbelievable. It wasn't filthy before, but it was... not really clean. I kept feeling that, geez, I work part-time--I SHOULD be able to keep the house clean. But it never really happened. Even though I get home at two, I'm chasing Barak until a little after seven. MHH doesn't get home until after six, so once Barak's asleep, I start dinner. Then we eat. Then I wash up and fold some laundry. Then I probably have something to do for work. Then I probably want to check my email, or the phone rings, and I still have to make lunches for the next day. Then it's 10:30 pm, and I am not in any mood to start scrubbing bathtubs. So, after a few months of this, there was starting to be a thin but definite layer of grime in too many parts of the apartment. And meanwhile...
I made a couple of Romanian/Hungarian friends on the bus. This was months ago already. One was an older lady who hit it off with Barak, back when he took the bus with me. She didn't speak English, and I only heard her speak Romanian to her friend, so I didn't try Hungarian with her. But she heard me speak Hungarian to Barak, and it turned out that her mother was Hungarian (there is a sizeable Hungarian-speaking minority in Romania, stranded there when they moved the borders after WWI) and she still spoke some Hungarian. Her seatmate on the bus also spoke Hungarian, quite a lot better since both her parents were Hungarian. Both of them were doing the Romanian thing of coming to America on a tourist visa, working as much as humanly possible, sending home as much money as humanly possible, and then going back. Both were... cleaning houses.
So, a few months ago, the older lady went back to Romania, and the younger lady started sitting with me on the bus. And two weeks ago, she asked me if I knew anyone who wanted their house cleaned on Wednesday afternoons. I consulted with MHH. And last week, Barak got to hear two adults speaking Hungarian at length for the first time since he was six months old. I speak it to him sometimes, but he only uses two words of Hungarian spontaneously, and one of them is "pickle." But after only two hours of listening to the two of us, he stopped registering objections with his customary "no!" and started instead saying, "nem!" Oh, and both our bathrooms and our kitchen were shiny and clean, and all the wool floors had been--get this--waxed. I've never waxed a floor in my life.
I guess I'm officially bourgeois now. But at least my bathrooms smell good.