Twice a week we have a cleaning crew that blows through our house in an hour leaving things in much better shape than when they arrived. Why twice a week, you may ask? My husband would be the answer. He would have them every day if we could afford it. I am not as fussy. So we have tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling through our living room. That’s why we have a vacuum cleaner and a Roomba.
I swear the Roomba hates me. I went to get the mail from the mailbox right outside the front door one day a few weeks ago and left the door slightly ajar. I could have unlocked it and closed it behind me, but that involved too much effort. As I reached for the mail, and I swear I am not making this up, the Roomba whacked itself full throttle into the front door and locked me out. It wanted me gone and didn’t seem to care if it took itself with me.
I thought for a moment about how I would get back inside. I also thought for a minute about what I would say to my husband who would have to come home from work to let me back in the house if I couldn’t find a way back in. Luckily he only works five minutes from home, and even more luckily I remembered that the door from the garage into the house was unlocked. By using the keypad entry into the garage I could get back in. Ha! Take that, you homicidal, robotic maniac!
But, back to the cleaning crew. I used to have a cleaning lady who would come for seven hours and clean the house from top to bottom once a week. The only problem was that I followed her around with a pot of coffee and croissants because I couldn’t stand having someone work for me. My husband said I should learn to get over that. But that’s not me. That’s not who I am. I don’t have people work for me. I could never have, say, a butler, but that’s probably something my husband would want for his birthday.
A friend told me about this crew of three people that cleans your house so quickly she referred to them as “the lightening”. As soon as we moved into our new house I hired them. I felt bad letting the seven hour cleaning lady go, but it would take her much longer to get to the new house by bus, so I felt I was doing her a favor. If we hadn’t moved I’d have kept her forever because I would never be able to ask her not to come back. That is also totally not who I am.
The crew is fast, thorough and extremely nice. I don’t care what they do. I never ask them to do anything because, let’s face it; I don’t even know what needs to be done. As long as the place looks shiny and clean they have done their jobs. Besides, we don’t even speak the same language.
I smile at them and thank them for doing such a great job, hoping they understand what I’m saying. They smile back warmly saying things I don’t understand, but despite the language barrier I feel like we have a great connection. In reality though, I also feel that while they’re smiling at me, they’re probably talking about me in Polish to each other.
“What a pig,” one might say to the other who might respond, “Who has three dogs? Look at all this hair rolling across the floor like a tumbleweed”. I guess I have a little cleaning paranoia if I think the cleaning crew and the Roomba are out to get me.
I offer the crew drinks from the fridge, but I only have to do that for an hour, so this arrangement works out much better for me time-wise. I can actually write, do laundry, pay bills, and do other important things instead of the seven hours I used to spend making sure fresh coffee and warm croissants were always available, as well as the occasional torte, or soufflé.
So, one day I walked into my bathroom and began to unzip my pants to tinkle when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move behind the glass of the shower door. One of the ladies from the cleaning crew was crouching behind the textured glass shower door, diligently scouring the mildew off the walls with a scrub brush. She obviously was so engrossed by her work that she hadn’t noticed I had walked in and unzipped. I thought she had finished the bathroom and had moved on to clean another room, so I thought the coast was clear. I quickly zipped up my pants and said, “Oh! I’m so sorry I didn’t know you were in here!” She said something like, “Iz fine. No prrroblem.”
“No prrroblem?” Wait, did that mean she knew I was there? Had she planned to just continue cleaning the shower while I tinkled? That’s just a little too weird, even for me. Was she going to make herself known or was she going to take care of her business while I took care of mine?
Now, whenever the cleaning crew is here, I actually open the shower door and check to be sure no one is lurking in the stall, quietly de-scumming the walls. I take no chances now because even though I can sort of see through the door, I want to be sure I am alone because it’s possible “The Official Cleaning Crew Manual” says, “If client comes into the bathroom and doesn’t see you, go on with your job as if he/she is not in the room. It is better to hear the flush than make her blush.”
The only benefit to having one cleaning woman, even if it was for seven hours, was that I always knew where she was. With three people quietly scurrying around the house, it’s easy for me to lose track of one or two of them. So, I try to leave the house, or hang outside with the dogs while they’re here. That way I absolutely know there is no chance that I would accidentally flash “the lightening”.