The Cleaning Lady

Everyone at the Bubbles Cleaning Company was shocked when they read the notice on the staff bulletin board. At the end of the month their co-worker, Anita Toms, would be retiring after more than three decades of service.

“I didn’t know you were sixty-five,” Paulette, one of her fellow cleaning ladies said to her as they were loading the cleaning supplies they would need for the day into a company car.

“Neither did I,” chimed in Joanie, another cleaning lady. “Can I get the name of the moisturizer you use because I swear, you don’t look a day over sixty.”

Actually, I’m three months and four days over sixty,” Anita said.

Paulette and Joanie couldn’t believe what they had just heard. As cleaning ladies themselves, they knew how little Anita made in a year so how could she be retiring at sixty? Maybe she had won the lottery and just didn’t tell anybody.

“Was it the Powerball?” Paulette asked. “Or one of those scratch tickets?”

“You know I don’t play the lottery,” Anita reminded her.

“Then what gives?” Joanie asked. “I’ll be lucky if I’m able to retire at sixty-five, and even then I’ll likely have to live on dog food. How are you able to retire so early?”

Being the kind-hearted person that she is, Anita didn’t hesitate to share her secret.

“Remember all of those times you and the other girls called me a stick in the mud for not going out with you after work?”

Paulette and Joanie nodded, indicating that they did indeed remember all of the times Anita turned down their invitations.

“And all of the times you called me cheap for bringing my own coffee and lunch to work instead of doing drive-thru?” Anita continued. “Plus telling me how boring I was for never taking any big trips like you ladies have, or how I needed to live it up and splurge every once in awhile?”

The two ladies nodded once again.

“Well, while you were all ‘living it up’, I was quietly investing my money. Thanks to an average rate of return of eight percent over the years, I’ve managed to save up enough money to pack it in early. Come this time next month, while you’re all scrubbing someone else’s shitty toilet, I’ll have my feet up and enjoying a glass of wine – which I bottled myself. It’s cheaper that way, you should really look into it.”

Paulette and Joanie weren’t sure if they should be impressed by or jealous of Anita’s accomplishment. They were sure of one thing, though. Unlike Anita, they would still be scrubbing someone else’s shitty toilet in one month’s time and for many more years to come.

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