Sunday, July 23, 2017

Small world

View from our first gig of the day down the peninsula. 

Yesterday's second client, a charming elderly woman, was located a short drive from San Carlos. We met her in the master bedroom where it would appear she spends a majority of her time contentedly watching TV, taking phone calls, and doing the crossword. I noticed that she moved around her bedroom with only minimal fuss. However, it did not look like she had anything much to do with the rest of her house. The tidy living room was charmingly decorated & looked like it was last sat in about 30 years ago. The dining room, however, was covered in a pile of old boxes---online ordering gone mad?---no where to sit or stand. The kitchen had a bit of life in it, but I suspect that that has more to do with the woman who looked to be the client's granddaughter living in the two rooms that were off-limits to us.

My colleague arrived first on scene & was met at the door by the younger woman who told him which rooms we would not be entering. Those two rooms had their doors closed. That was enough to signal 'do not enter' to me, to be honest. Just in case, a post-it note reading 'no windows' was affixed to each of the doors. Got it. 

Given the sounds emanating from the back of the house, I had assumed that the client and her probable granddaughter were spending time together watching TV. My cleaning buddy and I passed the time as we normally would when no one was within ear shot by talking about his rocky personal life. At some point during our chat, the younger woman popped out of one of the 'no windows' rooms and said, 'Uh, yeah, I don't wanna hear that. I'm on the phone.' I apologized for speaking too loudly & she disappeared back into her lair. I wondered if the other room was being used as some sort of storage unit for all the items that came from the discarded boxes piled up in the dining room. 

In a hushed tone, my colleague continued talking while I alternated between whispering replies and talking in a very low voice. That wasn't going to do either as whatshername came back out & told my buddy (I actually neither saw nor heard her this time) she, again, didn't want to hear it & that she had 'her own problems'. Oopsie. 

When cleaning windows, the order of operations is this: upstairs to downstairs, inside to outside. As this was a ranch-style home, we worked from one end of the house to the other. Just prior to my cleaning the windows of the master bedroom, granddaughter left her room to speak with the client for a few minutes. The one-sided convo went as follows: something about betting at the horse track, something about Las Vegas, something about the Kardashians, something about social media. I heard a few affirmative responses from the client, but not much else. 

As I approached the master bedroom, I heard the younger woman sign off with something like: Well, that's it from me! 

Not wanting to bump into the charmless younger woman in the hallway, I waited until she'd gone back into her room before I made my way back to the client's room. I introduced myself & asked her if I could get started. We chatted while I worked & I found out that she had grown up in San Francisco. 'I'm from San Francisco when it was still a small city'. 

I asked her what high school she'd attended. I hadn't heard of it. 'It's a convalescent hospital now'. 

I then asked where in the city she had grown up. Her parents had purchased a then new house on the block where I now live. I told her my house number and asked her half-jokingly if I lived in her house. It turns out I don't, but I can see her childhood home from my front window. 

Here it is--

She told me that she loved that her house had a separate bathroom & WC. I told her that our place still has that same configuration & that I really like it, too. She also mentioned that she loved the size of the bathtub. Apparently, she used to take baths while talking on the phone. Our house still has the original built-in phone stand along the wall just across from the bathroom, so I could totally see having a soak with the phone dragged in from the hallway.

She reminisced about some of the businesses along the adjacent main road. Most seem to have gone the way of the dodo, but I did recognize the name of one of the bars. It permanently closed just a few years back.

Roofers' hangout back in the 40s & 50s.

She asked if I remembered the old Fox Theatre on Market Street. She drew out the 'a' in a 'long a' sound like my mom does. I don't know the phonetic alphabet, but I'd write what I heard like this: thee-A-ter. I told her I did, but in name only. 'It was a shame when they tore it down'. Having heard what a gem of a cinema the place was, I could only agree. 

Opened in '29. Closed in '63. 


  1. Your client and her granddaughter sound like very different people.
    Most houses here have separate bathroom and WC facilies (except in the ensuite) and I prefer it. Much.
    We really do live in a small world don't we? I love that your current home is within sight of her old home.

    1. The idea of elder abuse went through my mind when I was at that house yesterday. I hope that the client is being treated well.

      Only in older homes, if they haven't all been reconfigured, does one find the separate WC & bathrooms. Much, much preferred!

      If the client were on email, I'd send her a picture of the house!

  2. The DHS could always pay a home visit to check on her. What a little bitch the girl was. Sounds a little like Grey Gardens scenario. I wish I wasn't getting old. I don't want to lose control of my life. Great descriptions of her house.

    1. I wondered about what sort of protections there could be for the client. I'll have to look up the DHS.

      I neglected, no pun intended, to mention the specifics of the failing backyard. It was clear that no one goes out there ever.

  3. You could have been neighbors if time wasn't so frustratingly linear ;)

    1. Yeah! Time jump! I have never seen who lives in her old house since moving in a year ago. If I did (and they didn't look unapproachable), I'd share with them who I had met. :)


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