Posts Tagged ‘ clean ’

Hellish Household Help–Part 2

Monday, August 1st, 2011

I’ll call her Dorothy. She was the new cleaning lady I was trying out who came highly recommended from my friend. This, after I let my other cleaners go (read why). I greeted her at the door. She immediately seemed a bit cold to me. I took it as shy. I welcomed her in, offered her coffee and showed her our place. As we moved from room to room, I could feel her getting tense. We have several levels of steps, including a spiral staircase, so I thought maybe she was nervous with heights. We walked down to the kitchen, and she exploded. Phil (and Wayne) were at the table feeding Fia breakfast and all of our mouths—even the cat’s—dropped open.

“I DO NOT do stainless steel,” she began, wildly gesturing to our appliances.  “M (my friend) didn’t tell me you had this or I would have never agreed to do this job.”

“Um, oo—kaaay,” I said, looking at Phil whose mouth remained on the floor.

She continued. “It is impossible to clean. I hate that stuff. It always smears,” she said stomping her foot.

For some reason, the codependent side of my personality made a surprise visit that day.

“Okay, then don’t do it. I’m alright with that,” I said, trying to calm her down.

Truth be told, my mom has just passed away, our house was a disaster, I had a packed day with Fia and I just wanted my house cleaned. I didn’t want her to leave.

She looked right at me, her eyes getting narrow. “I am not sure I even want to do this job. This is a big place. And it’s hot outside.”

A few things: our house is not an outdoor hut. It is inside and we have a HUGE air-conditioning unit. I offered to crank it up even more.

Also, our apartment, large by NYC standards, is about 1200 square feet. I don’t think that is insurmountable. And I’m a clean freak—so when I say it was a disaster—it was–by my standards. Any stranger walking in would not have thought so. Was I missing something here?

She stood there with her hand on her hip and continued.

“For me to do this job, it will take 6 hours and cost x.” I think Phil actually spit out his coffee. It was three times what we’ve ever paid. Before I could respond, she said, “But I’m here, I may as well stay. I’m going to change into my cleaning clothes,” and huffed off.

Phil looked at me and with a clenched jaw whispered, “Remind me what was wrong with our other ladies?” I started to cry.

I knew he was frustrated, but this wasn’t my fault.

“Okay, calm down. Just have her stay today. Then we’ll find someone else. Alright?” I nodded, wiping my face.

“I have to get to work,” he said. He sometimes works from his office at home, but he wasn’t about to hang out in crazy land.

“Do you want her to clean your office?” I asked.

“F-ck yeah. For that money, she sure as sh-t better clean it.”

I pulled myself together and approached Dorothy. She was at our closet going through my cleaning supplies. “This won’t work,” she said, tossing disinfectant wipes out of the bucket.

“Um, okay, use whatever you think is best. I’m taking the baby and going to the park. My husband won’t be home so go ahead and clean his office.”

She glared again. “I’m not sure I’ll get to it,” was all she said. Tersely.

By now, I was a wreck. What happened to my pit-bull personality? I knew I needed to go scour the neighborhood for it.  This woman was a b-tch and a bully and had no right to be so self-righteous.

Fia and I left. Came home 2 hours later. Dorothy was still there and the parts she had cleaned (including surviving the stainless steel, gasp) were sparkling.

I put Fia down for her nap, and sat at my dining room table to eat.

“Um, I’m about to dust that,” she said with bitterly.

I clearly hadn’t found my independent side yet. So I stood up, willing to accommodate, and said, “I’ll just go upstairs. I will put your payment by the front door.”

You ready for this? Here’s what she said:

(more…)

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Hellish Household Help–Part 1

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Disclaimer: yes, I have cleaning ladies. Yes it’s an indulgence of mine. I started it after Fia was born when I felt overwhelmed. I know this is a good problem to have, and I’m not overlooking the fact that I’m lucky. But tell me if this is whacked:

bucket of cleaning supplies

The two of them would show up 90 minutes on either side of the scheduled time. Consistently. Then they’d fry up food in my kitchen and have a leisurely meal before beginning the job. Now I don’t mind people eating in my house, but when you show up late to start with, then take another 30 minutes for your meal, we’re talking a 2-hour delay. If I showed up 90 minutes late to work and went in the kitchen and made pancakes and bacon, I think my boss would be a little annoyed–with good reason.

I’d plead with them to please come on time. They would just shrug and say they’d try. I’d explain that I plan my day around their schedule. We live in an apartment so Fia and I have to leave when they’re here.  They also know Fia sleeps in the bathroom.  And it’s hard to clean a bathroom with a sleeping baby.

So after a year of their services, I told them I couldn’t handle their lack of punctuality. I told them if they could be on time, I’d keep them on (didn’t even mention the food thing). They said they couldn’t. Shocking, but okay. At least they’re honest.

My sensible and meticulous friend recommended her cleaning lady to me. Said she was always on time and did a great job. And didn’t fry up a buffet before cleaning.

I had her come over.  And that’s where my story gets even more absurd.

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