Saturday, June 11, 2016

Clean-Up Committee

I've been house-cleaning for my sister's business for the past 3 weeks. Her clients are well-to-do types living tucked away in the hills above us flat-landers. For the most part, the clients leave us to our work, so there's little instrusion. We get on with it, time passes, and, at the end, there's a sparkly-clean house as a result of our efforts.

There are, however, clients (or employees of clients) who feel the need to micro-manage, repeatedly check in, and inspect our tasks as we're working. That's fair enough, but sometimes the behavior borders on the inane. The opposite end of this are clients who are a little too comfortable with our presence. One hopes, really, that the clients aren't home when we arrive to do our work. What I've found out is that those who no longer need work to for a living seem to spend an inordinate amount of time at home. Funny that.


Having been told by Minnie, the 'house manager', to start in the master bedroom, I set up my cleaning kit there, and got down to business. Not two minutes later, Minnie comes back into the room to remind me to clean the adjacent office. Standing next to and pointing into the office she says: 'you know there's a room right here, too?' What I wanted to say: 'um, yeah, I'm not blind'. What I said: 'yes, I'll clean that room right after this one'.

'How you doing?'
'You want some water?'
'How's it going?'

'Fine, no, fine, thank you.'

Who offers an employee water right after they've started working? -felt weird and like an excuse for her to come and check that I wasn't stealing the family silver. She finally stopped with pretenses and just came to check on me in silence. -still weird, but less intrusive.

Two days ago

After I'd cleaned a small set of windows in the guest room, a room replete with photos of the man of the house hob-nobbing with powerful politians like Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, and former NYC mayor, Rudy Guliani, he sought out my boss to tell him that the windows were still dirty. My boss went with the client to inspect the work, and wound up having to explain that the 'dirt' he saw was actually condensation that had built up between the double-paned glass as a result of a cracked seal. The only way that that 'dirt' could be removed would be to replace the windows entirely.

When we were driving away from the job my co-worker told me that she'd seen the client take a towel to the 'dirty' windows in the hopes of removing the schmutz, I presume. -guess he knew better than my boss, a woman who's been in the cleaning biz for 27 years.

Last Friday

The lady of the house greets us in an over-sized blouse and nothing else. This was a woman over 65 with incredible legs. At 45, my legs don't look half as good, so more power to her, but, really? You're going to greet the cleaning crew in what is ostensibly a nightie? To be fair, her adult son was sitting at the dining room table sans shirt, so it would seem it is simply their perogative to be 'lightly' dressed while at home. However, I'd think that when strangers are in the house, they'd want to cover up.

We'll see what next week brings. Maybe I'll find more framed photos of clients with Putin, or former NYC mayor Guliani? Maybe I'll have someone following me from room to room asking if I'm thirsty? One can only hope!


  1. Weird. But people are that. I have been a cleaner in other lives and MUCH preferred to clean in the owner's absence. I was a good cleaner too. Much better than I am at home.

    1. I much prefer an empty house as well. You can just tune out & get to the task at hand.

  2. Bea, your rendition is hysterical. I have a housekeeper that is the nosiest person on earth. She even told me once she knew where my stash was. She had to have lifted my desk calendar and looked in a card and envelope to find it. Money stash I should say.

    1. Oh, my, your housekeeper! I notice things like pictures of Putin, red wine in hand, but I've not been inclined to snoop. Plus, it's all about mise en place, and there's nothing good to come of putting something that shouldn't have been messed with in the first place back in the WRONG place.


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