Many of you know that C & C have some vices.
Things we do that we are embarassed to talk about in polite company.
(Not wanting to follow Adam’s example here, but this one is completely C’s fault.)
Lately, we’ve been have a little trouble with one of our vices.

We’ve been having some serious issues with our cleaning lady.

(Yes, having a cleaning lady is a vice. At least the people I work with react to it that way. Might as well admit to clubbing baby seals… but I digress.)

Anyway, now that both C & C are gainfully employed– we can afford this vice once more. So, after an exhaustive search, we hired a woman to clean our house every couple of weeks. Things went reasonably well. For a while.
And then…

We started noticing places she had missed in her cleaning.
We’d mention it to her and the next time, she’d get that spot.
And miss another one.
(When I notice you haven’t cleaned something– then you REALLY didn’t clean something.)

Finally, I asked her to pay special attention to our guest bathroom because we were having guests the next night. I come home from work– and she has missed some truly dirty things in the guest bath.
Nothing left to do at that point (except clean it yourself, of course.)
I fired her.
(I took the cowards way out and left her a message. Sad, I know. Very not like me. I’m sorry.)

So, we started looking for another cleaning lady.
One of C’s coworkers knows someone she can reccomend.
I ask, “Is she good? Will she miss spots?)
C says, “She is supposed to be fantastic. She works for nuns.”
–eyebrows raise–
“She works for nuns?”
“Yup.”
“Hmmm. Well, that’s a hard thing to beat.”
“Yeah, I thought so too.”

[Now, I feel I should note here that this is a conversation that took place and at the time seemed completely logical and normal. Looking back at it, typing it, I’m a little baffled about the whole thing. How did we know know that cleaning for nuns would be a good ideal for a cleaning lady to have? Why didn’t we delve into this a little further? Why don’t we both break out in giggles when we say things like this? Doesn’t it sound a lot like a sit-com?]

So, I meet with the new cleaning lady to interview her.
Her name is M. She is a polish immigrant. She is about 4 feet tall.
Her son drives her to our house to check it out and give us a quote.
She looks at our house. She looks at my office/library/junk room.
She looks at our bedroom. She looks at our guest room/work out room/junk room. She looks at the cookbook shelves/storage shelves.

She asks, “Why you no pick up your office?” “Too busy,” I say.
She asks, “Why you no pick up your bedroom?” “Excuse me?” I say.
She says, “I like to clean the whole house. You pick up house, I clean it.”

…..
….

What the hell is going on here?
Is this woman my mother? Is she working for my mother?
Am I on candid camera? When, exactly, did I lose control of this job interview?

“Ahem. M, we only want you to clean the parts of the house we have picked up. Some things we don’t pick up often. While I appreciate your desire to clean OUR whole house, I’m only interested in hiring you to clean SOME of our house.”

There. That should put an end to that.

“You should clean whole house. No time. Quick, quick. Not so hard. You able bodied. You pick it up, I clean it good.”

I do not believe I’m having this conversation.

“M?”
“Yes?”
“If you don’t want to work for us, just say so. I’m not going to pay you to nag me.”

Yes, dear friends, I said that.
Her son’s eyes grew wide.
He looked at his mom and said, “Ma, he’s got a very good point.”

M looked at me and said, “Ya, I clean your house.”

She quoted a price, the same amount the last cleaning lady did, and we set up a schedule. As she left, she said, “You pick up more, though.”

I closed the door and shook my head.
I’ve just hired a polish nagging cleaning midget who works for nuns.

Fast forward two weeks.
M cleans our house.
I come home from work.
I am blinded by our house. The place is clean.
UBER CLEAN.
You don’t understand how clean.
My mother, when we moved in to this place, helped clean it up–
and it looks ten times cleaner than that.
I look around…

and I realize it looks too clean.
Where are Opal’s toys?
Where are C’s diet cola cans?
What the hell is that picture doing on my dresser?

M has unplugged every cord in the living room and piled them up on the furniture.
Opals toys are all in the office, where we try to discourage her from playing.
C’s diet cola cans are in the fridge. (How the hell did she find room in our fridge? Simple, she cleaned it and rearranged it so the cans would fit.) And my dresser is rearranged with a picture of Cheryl’s family prominently displayed in the center.

C comes home. She looks around. She raises her eyebrow.
“Creepy.” “Uh huh.”

M calls us and wants to talk to us.
We assume she is going to fire us. (She can’t fire us, we employ her. She is going to quit. But we feel like we are being fired. Our cleaning lady is going to quit because we’re too slobby.) Turns out, she doesn’t want to quit. She wants more money. Makes sense. We do the only sensible thing. We give her more money– on two conditions.
1) She stop doing all the things that creep us out. Leave the cords plugged in. Don’t throw Opal’s toys in the office. Stop rearranging our dressers and pictures and such– and don’t rearrange our fridge. (The fridge thing really creeps us out.)
2) No nagging. She nags, we deduct off of her payment.
(Yes, I really said that. And I meant it.)

She agrees. We’re all happy.
Two weeks later.
M comes to clean.

She asks if I would like her to clean the laundry hallway.
“Sure,” I say. No harm there. If she wants to sweep the hallway and mop the floor, let her.

A couple of hours later, M comes to me and says, “I’m sorry.”
She has not cleaned the hallway. She has NUN CLEANED the hallway.
She has wiped down the hotwater heater. Polished the brass pipes.
Cleaned the inside and the outside of the washer and dryer.
She has pulled the dryer away from the wall and cleaned behind it and under it.
And in so doing, she has ripped the dryer hose from the wall socket.
Our 4 foot polish cleaning lady has super strenth.
(Note to self– don’t get uppity with the maid.)

M leaves. I can’t fix the dryer.
C comes home.
I show her the hallway. The dryer. The broken hose and socket.
She looks at it all.
“Creepy.” “Uh huh.”

Can you fire a cleaning lady for doing her job too well?

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