9/29/2006

Being a Merry Maid

I have cleaned many houses in my past (I used to be a Merry Maid as well as a non merry maid cleaning some people's houses) and you find the weirdest things there. One of my favorite houses to explain to people is when I cleaned a house in downtown Boise and this lady lived in it with her two kids. Her husband and she were separated and she was a literal mess. I mean, you walk through the door and you can't walk. There is so much stuff (mail, bills, clothes, food, feathers, coins, papers, you get me) that you have to WADE through it. Our main objective in going there was to PICK UP. We couldn't even deep clean. The basement was the worst because she let the kids just run hog wild. I can not tell you how many black hamburger type things (another reference to Susie's blog!) full of mold and bugs and nastiness that I encountered. Spoons would be permenantly stuck to plates and bowls--flies floated in cups of juice and milk was so curdled that you were pretty sure they just drank cottage cheese with different colors and whatnots speckled in. Sick. Remember the mess from hurricane Katrina? That's kind of what it looked like minus the building falling down.

One time we had to go in her room to clean and she was passed out on the bed. It was the last room so we quietly told her we had to vacuum and stuff and she said in a lazy stupour, "Just clean around me," and her head fell back and she burrowed herself back in the blankets.

Whenever I am feeling lazy Dear Sir says to me, "You're so lazy, Rach. 'Just clean around me!'"

It is crazy to see the way people live. Sometimes I had no idea why some people had their house cleaned. The worst ones were almost the ones where you had nothing to do. It pretty much stinks when you have to "dust" furniture that has already been dusted probably an hour before you stepped in, or vacuum carpet that clearly already has lines in it from the vacuum going over it perhaps the night before.

Offices have always been a "class" sort of struggle. I mean, if you are cleaning while the office workers are there, they treat you like crap. I remember cleaning some pharmaceutical office and they had a lot of tile floors. This lady refused to move and stood there on the phone glaring at us while we were on our hands and knees moping around her. Yes, she would lift this foot and that foot and we would cover the whole space. Ridiculous. The most ridiculous thing is that the time they gave us to come in and clean was the time we were there.

One house in particular annoyed me because the guy (who was a haughty Professor not from this country) would leave notes on the counter stating our "priorities". Apparently one morning when we got in there someone had broken a ton of glass in the kitchen and never bothered to clean it up themselves. You guessed it, the priority on the list was "broken glass in kitchen."

I could always tell when someone just realized that the maid would be in that morning. You walk in the place and you see everything just strewn around like they don't care for the day---"hey, the maid'll be here and she'll take care of it!" The kitchen was alway a nightmare. Opened up coffee cans just knocked over (like they are in a hurry) and things spilled all over. The maid will get it.

I can go on forever. How about the "man stink house"? When I worked with Merry Maids, we had to be with a team member at all times and never clean a house by ourselves. This team member always knew what house was what and she kept me prepared for any surprises. "This is the man stink house," she would say. Immediately upon entering the house she would have her Febreeze cocked and loaded to shoot anything in her way. You walk in and it just reeks. She is wading through it like we are warding off mustard gas, it is so bad. We first decided to go into the "holy of holies" (aka--the master bedroom) to take the main stink head on. With one hand plugging her nose, and the other squirting Febreeze in all directions, she coached me through the room. I did not get a spray bottle of Febreeze, so I was not so equipped, but I just did what she said to get out of that sickness sooner.

I am sorry, men, but I had never encountered "man stink" before. I never really knew it existed. Dear Sir is a perfect gentleman and smells amazing every day, I don't get it. He sweats perfume, I swear.

Speaking of stinking---I better go stink it up on my treadmill. Today's the day.

3 comments:

Funky-Redhead said...

mmm...now I feel bad. During different times of chaos in my life, I have had someone in to clean. I'm a Pre-Cleaner. But, I really thought that I was doing the lady a favor, by taking care of all the obvious stuff, so that she could clean...really interesting to see it from the other side of the broom!

Badoozie said...

yes, tips for homeowners,,,,don't "pre clean' but feel free to pre straighten up? all you need to do is remove the clutter, so we can clean the surfaces for you. i hated that too, i had a house where the old lady had it spic and span.

see, i'm a perfectionist when it comes to OTHER peoples houses. so if someone nitpics me? i'm done with them. period. she made me come over, and i was on my hands and knees, peering at her vinyl floor, desperately trying to see the "spot" i had apparently left?

come to find out, it was a tiny area that the mop had missed, and was of a different "sheen" than the rest of the floor. and you could only see it when the light shone in the house just so.... i told her i couldn't clean for her anymore, i was too busy.

then there's the "too messy" people that are there making messes as you clean, and they never want you there for enough time to get it done.

won't do those either.

i tried cleaning for some really good friends of ours, and they had 4 perfectly capable children who were going after me, leaving candy wrappers etc. their house was the worst i've ever seen. ferret poop in corners, horrible, horrible mess. just swept the counters and table with the broom. never even made a dent.

so, here are my criteria. if i can't go in that house, and leave it spotless when i'm done? i won't do it at all.

and i can afford to be picky on who i work for, because hard working, honest and meticulous people are very hard to find...very. when i quit they will be very upset. i've spoiled them all horribly.

Funky-Redhead said...

I wish I had a susiebadoozie!